2011 2010, 2009 1, 2
Gallery 2009 Friend or Foe Links

We've had lots of visitors to our allotment, some more welcome than others! I have managed to snap a few of them and this is where I'll put the photos that turn out well. Our plot is at the end of the centre aisle and is backed by a hedge between the allotments and the canal towpath.

Each year we seem to be defending against different things - other than the weather!

Rabbit/deer fencing was installed at the beginning of 2010 so that's a couple of threats removed, but there are plenty of other visitors which are less easy to deal with!

Thanks to Robin Longstaff (Oxford Garden Project) and Shaun Dowson for giving me information and helping to identify beasties. Any more information is always welcome - the links page includes some brilliant sites on insects and other wildlife.

Click here to see some more images of wildlife on the allotment

Beetles (and bugs)

7-spot ladybird Harlequin Ladybird Harlequin Ladybird
There are masses of ladybirds all over the plot. Mostly 7-spot, but also lots of different versions of harlequin ladybird which is apparently taking over the traditional UK ladybird, but some are very pretty and they all clear aphids so aren't all bad!
Harlequin Ladybird Harlequin Ladybird Harlequin Ladybird
A 14-spot ladybird - really tiny   This is a 22-spot yellow ladybird, also tiny
Ladybird Larvae Ladybird pupa
This is a ladybird larvae - these eat aphids too and then coccoon themselves to turn into adults This is the ladybird pupa stage - this will emerge as a ladybird in about a week Just emerged from it's pupa - still drying out its wings and spots are barely visible. 2 hours later it was a fully-coloured 7-spot
Another (or younger) chafer larvae Chafer Larvae Garden Chafer
These seem to be different stages of chafer larvae - not too sure whether they'd grow into the same bug... These tend to eat grass roots so aren't a big problem to our plots. And heres the adult garden chafer which one or both of the grubs will turn into eventually - they stay in the ground for years.
Soldier beetle
This chap with a loveheart is a Cantharis Rustica - a type of soldier beetle I think this is a Silpha obscura larvae... And this is the I think this is a Silpha obscura beetle
Sloe Bug - a shield beetle Pied Shieldbug nymph Pied Shieldbug
This is a forest shieldbug, specifically a Sloe Bug - but he's sitting on our environmesh here This excellent little beetle nymph will eventually grow into a Pied Shieldbug ... And a few months later here's an adult pied shieldbug!
Eurydema oleracea Click beetle (Athous haemorrhoidalis) Vine Weevil
(Eurydema oleracea) - Brassica bug. Unfortunately we put him back on our sprout netting where we found him!! This is a click beetle (Athous haemorrhoidalis), on our enviromesh. I should have give it a poke then it would have clicked! This is a vine weevil which may be to blame for the nibbled edges of our legumes leaves.
Some sort of Tortoise Beetle Pollen beetle Gastrophysa viridula
This is a type of tortoise beetle, but there are loads of different varieties. This ones gold stripes were brilliant in the sunshine These common pollen beetles (Meligethes aeneus) cover flowers and pollinate This seems to be the Green Dock beetle (Gastrophysa viridula), though it was on our broad beans (not sure who his little buddy is!)

Caterpillars, Butterflies and moths

Knot Grass Moth caterpillar Caterpillar of Cinnabar Moth White Ermin Moth caterpillar
This Knot Grass Moth caterpillar had great camouflage in our marigolds This is a caterpillar of the cinnabar moth. They tend to feed on ragwort and not our veg
This seems to be the caterpillar of the White Ermine moth - he was crawling all round the plot.
Large White Butterfly eggs Small White Buttefly caterpillar Small White or Green veined butterfly
This is the eggs of the large white butterfly (small whites lay individual eggs) A caterpillar of the small white - sitting on a sprout leaf! This is either a small white or a green-veined white
Large White Caterpillars Small Tortoiseshell Callimorpha dominula
The large white butterfly caterpillars dessimated the leaves on our sprouts The small tortoiseshell tends to lay it's eggs on nettles so we have lots of these on site but they're not a problem This is the Scarlet Tiger, which has lovely red wings under the top layer
Ghost Swift caterpillar
This appears to be a Nettle-Tap moth larva This is the Ghost Swift caterpillar - we have found lots of these while digging. I originally thought they were beetle grubs This looks like a female Ghost moth - I think that's what the caterpillar on the left turns into..
Rosy Rustic moth
Common Footman moth Ruby Tiger moth Rosy Rustic moth
Angle Shades Moth Angle Shades Moth Angle Shades Moth
These are both seem to be larvae of the Angle Shades moth. We found the brown one in August and the green one in November And this is the Angle Shades adult
Vapourer Moth Caterpillar   Agonopterix arenella
This is our best looking caterpillar find. It's the Vapourer moth larva   Agonopterix arenella - we disturbed this little moth when we were moving our compost bins

Bees and Wasps

A Bumblebee Bumblebee A honeybee making a hole through the back of the nectary of the flower
I can't tell the difference between the different bees, but I'm sure these are bumblebees! This is a honeybee making a hole through the back of the nectary of the flower, getting to the nectar, but bypassing the pollen and not pollinating the flower
Another bumblebee A Black & White bee A wasp trying to get through environmesh
Another bee, but multi-petal marigolds aren't good for pollen gathering A little black and white bee - Andrena cineraria Here's a wasp getting to the coriander flowers through the carrot netting.
Bumble bee  
A bumblebee warming itself in November sunshine   I think this is a digger wasp in some parsnip tops

Hoverflies (which deserve their own collection as there are loads)

A helpful hoverfly
This seems to be the pupa and larva of a hoverfly - no idea which type though A Marmalade fly Scaeva pyrastri (a hoverfly)
  A hoverfly which we found in December  


Pheasants were a big problem before the fencing but we haven't seen so many since that was erected Pigeons are pretty much public enemy number 1! Brassicas and peas don't stand a chance with no additional netting Aah, little Robby :-) There are lots of robins living in the hedges and are happy to hop between our feet to pick out worms
We were feeding worms to this blackbird chick Aw, this was a sad little greenfinch. He wasn't very well and mostly just sat in our borage  

Other Wildlife...

A leatherjacket (crane fly larvae) Speckled Bush Cricket Cabbage white flies making a mess of our brassicas
A leatherjacket - larva of the crane fly This freaky thing is a Speckled Bush Cricket These are the cabbage white flies making a mess of our brassicas :-(
Grasshopper centipede Baby centipedes
I think this is a common field grasshopper. He was quite happy sitting on Jamie's leg for a while. This long centipede - Geophilus carpophagus - can eat baby earthworms :-( Spotted snake millipede - I thought these were baby ones but in fact they're probably adults - see link
I think this is a common green grasshopper Common garden snail (Helix aspersa) - these can be bred for eating, but not by us!! Quite a small black snake millipede - millipedes aren't normally a problem to vegetables
Mollusc eggs Mouse
We found these when we moved our black dustbin in the winter. They are probably slug eggs (or maybe snails) I think this is a little wood mouse - so cute, but I don't think he was very well :-( Wolf Spider, crawling up Jamie's t-shirt <shudder>
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