Sudley Mini Beast Safari

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Picture of a harlequin ladybird on a leaf A harlequin ladybird Here's a post from Simon who is Visitor Host at Sudley House: "Several local primary schools recently had the chance to go on a "Mini Beast Safari" around the grounds of Sudley House. The leader of the expedition was Paul Finnegan from the Education Team at the Bug House at the World Museum. Paul delighted both the pupils and teachers alike with information about the many species that can be found throughout the beautiful estate that surrounds Sudley House. Amongst other methods, pupils learnt how to “beat a tree” and how to “sweep” long grass to help them collect a wide variety of creatures. One of the most interesting, and certainly for the teachers, eye-opening facts was that woodlice are edible.  However I wouldn’t recommend trying this without a responsible adult! The woodlouse is a crustacean and a relative of sea-creatures such as the prawn, shrimp and crab; although Paul said that the woodlouse is much, much cleaner than a prawn!! Apparently woodlice have been used to make a simple sauce by the French! Some interesting invertebrate species found during the Sudley bug hunts were: Harlequin ladybird (the most common ladybird species at this site) 7 spot ladybird 2 spot ladybird 10 spot ladybird 22 spot ladybird Orange ladybird. Paul found the first record of this species in Liverpool around 7 years ago and has found it every year since. Platyarthrus hoffmannseggi (a 3mm long small white Woodlouse found in black garden ants nests) Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum). Incredibly, Paul found 2 adult bees feeding on Rhododendron flowers and then found a complete nest. This was the highlight of the week. Tree Bumblebees turned up in the UK in 2001 on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border. They had flown over from parts of Continental Europe. By 2007 it had spread extensively. Last year he found 1 adult male bee during the Bug Hunts. My personal favourite insect found, was the click beetle. A brownish creature about a couple of centimetres long, the click beetle provided the pupils with great entertainment. When placed on it’s back, the insect “clicks” its body and flings itself high in the air! Reminded me of the little “Mexican jumping beans” you used to be able to buy."