ostlers garden

Now you see us...

...now you don't

Bugs, pests, creepy crawlies: insects are all around. You find them in your garden and in your house. When you have a picnic they end up in your lunch! They're just a nuisance ... or are they? Actually, you'd be in real trouble without them.

Insects pollinate your fruit, flowers, and vegetables. They eat all sorts of foods in the environment that you wouldn't want. Plants, fungi, dead animals, decaying organic stuff: they clean them all up. Lots of them feed on plants or on other insects that humans see as pests. Luckily for you (but not so lucky for them) lots of bigger creatures eat them too, so they help to keep the balance of nature and sustain the food web. The trouble is many of them are dying out and they may all soon be as extinct as the dinosaurs if we humans don't do something to help.

Michael Le Page writing in New Scientist on 11th February 2019 said: 'Over 40 per cent of insect species could go extinct in the next few decades, with butterflies, bees and dung beetles most affected... That's the alarming conclusion of a review of all long-term surveys of insects published in the past 40 years... "The repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least, as insects are at the base of many of the world's ecosystems," says the paper, by Francisco Sanchez-Bayo at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.

Of the ten most endangered species in the UK, five of them are insects. You can spot some of them in and around the beautiful old tree in the garden behind the Ostlers Restaurant but they're bigger than usual so you'll notice them. Some of the creatures in the tree have never existed; one of them looks a bit like a dinosaur and we all know what happened to them!

So please look at insects differently now that you know what they do for you. Think before you reach for the pesticide or swat. Don't squidge them, save them; you might just be helping to save your own habitat too.

All the creatures in the installation 'Now you see us...now you don't' were made by adult students from Patricia Douglas' Ceramics Workshop, children from Pottery Club at Horndon on the Hill Primary School or by Patricia Douglas.