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September 2017

posted 30 Sep 2017, 02:36 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 30 Sep 2017, 02:37 ]
rose gall

Whilst walking on the Green the other day, I noticed a dog rose which had a number of impressive growths on it. These are known as Robin's pincushion or the Bedeguar Gall. It is formed by a small gall wasp laying its eggs on developing leaf buds in the summer. The eggs hatch into larvae and these in turn secrete chemicals, which cause the gall to form. The larvae live in the gall as grubs and then over-winter as pupae, ready to emerge as adult gall wasps in the spring. What amazes me is how the chemicals secreted by the larvae cause these rather impressive reddish "pincushions" to grow, instead of a normal leaf!

devils bit

A late summer flowering plant that can be found on the Green, is the Devil's-bit scabious. These gorgeous purple pin cushion flowers are an important nectar source for late flying insects and most certainly when I took this photo a lot of bees were feeding on them. (I did try to take some photos with bees feeding, but it is harder than you might think!). I am very pleased that the devil's bit scabious is spreading, which is very good news indeed. They grow on the wet bit of the Green, so wellies are advisable, if you want to venture over to see them.

ivy flower

Another important nectar source for insect this time of year is the ivy flower. The ivy bush next to the football field gate has been absolutely covered with butterfly, all types of bees and hoverfly and there is a really loud buzzing sound as you walk past. So don't underestimate the humble ivy - it is very important for invertebrates this time of year! I have looked for the ivy bee, which feeds exclusively on ivy flower and was first recorded in the UK only in 2001 - so far I have not been successful.