Anthisan Bite & Sting Cream recently invited us to take part in the ‘Big Blogger Bug Hunt’, a fun and educational campaign that is encouraging the nation’s parents to get out in their garden with their children and see what creepy crawlies they can find. The aim is to try and help raise awareness of what’s breeding in Britain’s back gardens whilst also having a bit of fun. They provided us with lots of information about "what's bugging Britain" - their research has shown that more than a third of Brits have noticed an increase in unusual bugs not usually found in the UK and more than a third (possibly the same people !) are afraid of being bitten or stung in the summer months. According to the survey, the top five most feared creepy-crawlies are wasps, hornets, spiders, mosquitoes and ticks, all of which are extremely common in the UK.
We were sent a brilliant bug-hunting kit and without further ado, we headed off outside to see what we could find. We haven't got a garden, only a big patio, so I thought we wouldn't find much, but we were soon spotting ants, spiders, greenfly, wasps and cabbage white butterflies.
We even managed to find a bright red centipede (or is it a millipede?) - sorry about the blurry photo, it wouldn't stay still ! That was all that our meagre outdoor space had to offer though, so I suggested we pack up our kit and move across to the park opposite our house.
Within minutes, the kids had managed to find a ladybird and we were pleased to see that it was a native seven-spot ladybird rather than a harlequin one, as they seem to be getting lots of bad press, as they feast on the traditional British ladybird species.
Getting off the beaten path, we came across this intriguing red beetle in a clover patch, which was really hard to get a photo of because it kept moving. I have no idea what breed of insect it is - from looking online, it could possibly be a cardinal beetle or a stink bug, but we're not at all sure.
After seeing lots of cabbage white butterflies, we also managed to spot a red admiral, which happily posed for a photo before fluttering away.
After hearing so much in the news about the decline of the nation's bee population, I was reassured to see lots and lots of bees buzzing around the wild flower patch.
But it was rather disconcerting to keep coming across dead ones on the floor too.
Our final find of the day had us all very excited but you can hardly see it in this photo - a bright neon blue dragonfly. I always thought they hovered around near water but we were nowhere near water in this park.
This wasn't the first time that we'd seen them and I managed to get a very cool photo of one last time that really shows its colours off. We also saw green ones and even red ones on that occasion which surprised me, because I didn't know they existed in so many colours. (On further investigation, they are probably more likely to be damselflies.)
We had a great time bug-hunting but when we got home, we still had one more insect to discover - Pierre's creation on the Anthisan Build Your Own Bug website. He named it all by himself and came up with One Flyrection !
Unfortunately, later that evening, I was involved in bug-hunting of a different kind, when I was trying to get a very annoying mosquito that was buzzing in my ears every time I tried to go to sleep. It was much too hot to wrap myself up in layers of protective quilt and in the morning, I had huge, red lumps on my leg where I'd been bitten. Luckily I had a tube of Anthisan in the cupboard which offered some welcome relief from the itching. Definitely some bug-hunting that I could have done without though !
Have you been out hunting creepy-crawlies with the kids lately? If so, did you find anything exciting? Or do you have any top tips for keeping the mosquitoes at bay?
Disclosure : We received a bug hunting kit from Anthisan.