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eu bees pesticides ban

EU Loves Bees

EU ♥ Bees An arcane rule of EU bureaucracy may have come to the rescue of the common European honeybee apis mellifera.  The 27 member states of the European Union have been unable to agree whether neonicotinoid pesticides should be banned.  After 2 inconclusive votes, the decision now passes (under EU administrative rules) to the […]

christmas beetles not The Beetles

Happy Christmas Beetles

If you’re a Sydneysider of a certain age, the very idea of Christmas beetles will be enough to induce in you a nostalgia of such misty-eyed-ness that you might even forget to mention the cricket score for a while (Catherine says: does that include Pops? He’s quite old. And he really like Beetles.  Henry says: […]

cuddly snail stocking filler

Insect House’s Top 10 Stocking Fillers

Henry and Catherine would just love to get any one of these from the jolly fellow in red. 1. Barbie Mariposa Doll “Mariposa” is, of course, Spanish for butterfly.  It’s also Portuguese for moth, which is probably less glamorous in some people’s eyes, but not ours! This incarnation (imago?) of Barbie sees her in a […]


Exotic immigrants

Many more moths! The Guardian reports that the UK’s recent spell of mild autumnal weather has resulted in a host of exotic migrant moth species wafting north on gentle breezes to feed and breed. You can read the article here: – it’s a riot of beautiful photographs and picturesque names. Catherine’s favourite is the […]

v mandarinia

Attack of the killer hornets!

Yellow Peril Asian Giant Hornets or “AGHs” Vespa mandarinia have recently been blamed for a series of deaths in rural Shaanxi in northwest China.  41 people are reported to have died from hornet stings in the last 3 months alone. This insect’s huge size and powerful sting have earned it a fearsome reputation: in Korea it’s known […]

musca domestica

Time flies – unless you’re a fly

What do flies and the Matrix have in common?  Recent research (and catching up on some 90s DVDs) suggests it’s the ability to avoid fast-moving objects by watching them in slow motion.  Whether it’s Neo dodging bullets in bullet time, or a Musca domestica dodging a newspaper at lunchtime, both can observe speeding objects moving as though through treacle. […]

White Plume Moth

Not all Little Brown Jobs…

…but not all glamour queens either If you ever thought that all British moths were drab and boring, think again.  Well, OK, we have our fair share of drab and boring, but that’s not the whole picture. Just like birdwatchers have their “LBJs” (“Little Brown Jobs” which are hard to identify and frankly not worth […]


Poetry please

A tranquil interlude We came across this peaceful moment today at an exhibition of the works of Ian Hamilton Finlay at the Arnolfini.  (We’re not sure of the intellectual property ramifications of reproducing it here, but we do at least know that we can claim copyright in the photo!)  In the meantime, enjoy the poetry of the […]

scaptia beyonceae

Rear of the Year

It’s a survivor Not much happens in the Atherton Tablelands, a remote agricultural corner of Queensland mainly populated by dairy cows and horseflies. But life in the Atherton has just got a whole lot more bootylicious with the official arrival of Scaptia beyonceae.  That’s right, a species of the Scaptia genus of horsefly named after none other than Mrs Carter […]

Black Oil Beetle

As pretty as an oil painting

One of the Famous Five Our friend Di took this lovely shot of a Black Oil Beetle Meloe proscarabaeus in her garden.  Not only is she lucky enough to have such a distinguished visitor, her photo also won third prize in the village summer show!  She correctly identified it as an Oil Beetle (family Meloidae, also known as Blister […]