Bugs behind the scenes

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Man holding a case full of bees

Guy Knight shows us some bees

This week I got to look around the entomology lab at World Museum Liverpool, at one of the creepy crawly tours that are available to visitors during school holidays. Zoology curator, Guy Knight, took us around the lab so we could see some of the thousands of mounted specimens housed in the back of the museum.

He showed us a case full of crickets that were found in Liverpool after they hitch-hiked here on some bananas. Then there were questions from some of the eager smaller visitors on the tour – my favourite being; ‘What happens if they come back to life after you’ve killed them?’ Maybe they had been to the Ancient Egypt gallery beforehand and had learned about the afterlife! Bees were next on the agenda – we have around 10,000 bees in our collections apparently. We learned that there are 250 different kinds of bees, but wild bumblebees are getting rarer due to the countryside changing and there being less wild areas for bees to live in.

In other bug news, you can now come and see a new ‘living display’ in the bug house gallery featuring the Indian Ground Beetle (Anthia sexguttata). The beetles’ new home has been created using a special sand and cement mix, which will allow them to dig burrows to lay their eggs.  Indian Ground Beetles are a large predatory beetle, which actively hunt down their insect prey and this species has never been bred in captivity. They can also spray an acidic liquid accurately into the eyes of their enemies if they feel threatened. Unbee-lievable!