It’s been a harsh winter for our mini-friends – relentlessly cold, with long periods of unseasonally low temperatures and snow, ice and frost right into April. What a relief to know that spring has finally shown up.
We took full advantage of the sun and the (belated) warm weather this weekend, and gave our allotment shed a thorough spring-clean. We found lots of evidence of mini-beast activity. Mostly, we found loads of earwig moults – these are the discarded exoskeletons (Henry says: that means their shells or their skins) of the immature earwigs as they progress to full imago or adult. Here are a few caught in a spider’s web, but we don’t think they’ve been eaten – these are just the discarded outer layers which the earwig abandon as it outgrows them.
We also found signs of someone nesting – possibly last autumn, rather than over winter. It looks like a very small wasp nest, but to be honest we’re not sure. It’s pretty though – beautifully geometric and entirely natural. We found it hanging from the underside of the shed roof, and there are only 5 little cells for eggs, so perhaps it wasn’t even finished before winter set in…
Best of all, there are clear signs of new life and the promise of nature doing some definite burgeoning in the not too distant future. We counted no less than 3 chrysallises hidden around our shed. Better than an easter egg hunt any day! Henry and Catherine can’t wait to see what emerges – will it be a dusky, feathery moth? Or a bright and beautiful butterfly?