The daffodil bud from my last bulletin has only opened now, but crocuses have risen above ground, and I have also found the fleshy leaves of tulips! However, these flowers all appeared last year around this time, or even a little later, and we still got some very heavy snow and cold conditions later in the year, in March.
Before things got too interesting this spring I wanted to do something about False Widow spiders. According to this January’s issue of the BBC Wildlife Magazine there is a wave of terror in England, particularly around London, caused by the presence of these venomous spiders. And, more worryingly, pesticides are being used in an ad hoc way to placate public fear, and pesticides are far more dangerous than any False Widows. Two species of False Widow spider are venomous and can bite people, but they are not aggressive, and to prove this I have made a video in which I handle a good size Noble False Widow spider, with no ill-effects. Here is that video:
It’s that time of the year again, and to help you identify those arachnids which are showing up in your gardens and around your homes here is a little video I made to help with identification. Arachnophobes might find some of the images a little frightening, but they’re over and done with quite quickly, so don’t be too frightened. Remember, I’m on the other side of the camera, between you and the spiders. You’re completely safe. And they don’t want to hurt you anyway.
Sadly our summer was not up to much this year, with only a couple of warm weeks in early August. However, I did find one beautiful creature which I have never seen before, or since – a tiny species of Soldier Beetle, Malthinus flaveolus.
We have now entered the time of year when wasp numbers are at their highest and spiders are on the move, alarming many people. Bee populations seem to have crashed in the last few weeks, with the temperatures struggling against a chilly north wind, but there have been wasp stings and some spider encounters, including one bite received from a False Widow which was reported to me yesterday, so I made a little video describing how best to treat stings and bites, and I hope it will be found useful:
I’m working on a little video about spiders which I hope will be also useful and am going to have that up on the blog as soon as possible. Please feel free to comment as feedback and ideas are always welcome. If you feel there are shortcomings in what I deal with don’t be afraid to point them out and I’ll try and deal with them or cover them at a later time.