Big Butterfly Count 24th July – 1st August 2010

Sarah, one of the farmingfriend’s forum members has emailed through some info about the Big Butterfly Count taking place from 24th July to 1st August 2010.

Butterflies are disappearing and are in serious decline, they are both beautiful and vital to the health of our environment.

So be part of the big butterfly count from the 24th July to the 1st of August this year and help Butterfly Conservation gather information to save them.

Just find a place where you might see butterflies, such as a garden or park, and count the different butterflies you see in just 15 minutes. You can make counts in several places during the week.

Submit your sightings at and you’ll receive 10 per cent off plants when you shop online at M&S.

See the website for details.

National Insect Week – June 2010

Do you like insects? Do you like finding them, identifying them or photographing them? Well if you do you’ll be interested to hear about the National Insect Week.

National Insect Week consists of a series of Nationwide events to promote education and awareness of UK insect species and their conservation. The week will take place from 21st June until 27th June 2010.

For more information about the National Insect Week and to find events in your area visit

The website also contains a number of educational resources that can aid learning and awareness of insect species, so all you insect lovers out there go check it out.

So get insect hunting today!

Damselfly Identification

On a recent walk last week along the Beck which runs at the bottom of one of our fields, Stephen and I went for a walk. We took some photos of the wildflowers growing along the beck side as well as the butterflies that we could see and the beautiful beck glimmering in the sunlight. I will share these photos on another occasion.

I also managed to take my first ever photo of a damselfly.



Upon doing some research to identify the damselfly I have narrowed the identification down to either the Common Blue Damselfly or the Azure Damselfly, but I am not sure for certain which this one is so if anyone is good at identifying damselflies then I would love to hear from you.

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What Do Garden Snails Eat?

Garden snails are herbivores and eat plants.

They will eat the leaves of many plants and vegetables. It will also eat rotting fruit, lichen and algae as well as fruit, vegetables, herbs and arable crops.
Snails particularly like lettuce, cucumber and herb leaves which are freshly picked. They will feed on carrots and apples.
The key to their diet is to see what grows naturally around the area where you found your garden snail.

Can Snails Change Their Shells?

I received a comment that led me to research whether snails can change their shells. Van & Lilo commented,

“We found a garden snail and brought it home to keep it safe, even though the shell is broken, none of its body is at sight and hes still alive and well. My daughter named it Gary. I was wondering if we find him a new empty shell will it move in or thats just not possible?
van & lilo”

My research led me to believe that the snails body is attached to the shell so removal of the shell would damage the snail’s body and it would also dry out and die. Since the snail is attached to the shell, I don’t think that it will move into another shell.

So the answer to can snails change their shells is actually no snails cannot change their shells.

Thanks for the interesting question Van & Lilo.

If you have a question that you would like me to try to find the answer to then just leave a comment and I’ll try my best to find an answer.

Snails In The Kitchen Garden

Snails are often found in the kitchen garden.

Cynthia asked, “Should I get rid of the snails in my kitchen garden? Do they do damage?”

  • Unfortunately the garden snail is seen as a pest by many gardeners and vegetable growers since the snail predominantly eats leaf and plant materials.
  • So yes the snails will damage your kitchen garden crops.
  • You will probably never get rid of all the snails in your kitchen garden but you should try to control the numbers of snails to a reasonably low level.
  • You can use either natural or chemical pest control. There are lots of organic and chemical products on the market as well as other methods of pest control such as picking the snails off the plants by hand.

I hope that the garden snail does not eat all your kitchen garden plants and that you can get this garden pest under control. Click on the following links for information about snail control in the garden and methods of snail pest control.

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  1. Hi Sara, I remember one year carefully collecting all the snails I was finding in the garden, a lot from under large rockery stones, into a neat pile, to take up to the tip, as I can’t kill them. I then forget they are there and take one step back and crunch, you guessed it, all of them smashed to smitherines, I did feel sad, but nothing I could do with a pile of shell and gloopy mess. x

    Comment by Louise – February 19, 2008 @ 11:30 am

  2. My mom has successfully eradicated these garden pests by meticulous picking and trapping (with simple bowls of water). She said she once spent an hour and counted 100 snails! Now there are very few in her flower beds :-)

    Comment by nikkipolani – February 19, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

Snail Control In The Garden

The Garden Snail

The garden snail is seen as a pest by many gardeners and vegetable growers since the snail predominantly eats leaf and plant materials. Garden snails will damage both the garden plants and the fruit and vegetable crops.

It would be impossible for the gardener to eradicate the snail from the garden completely and some might say unethical, but controlling the numbers of snails to a reasonably low level is necessary for plants and vegetable crops to thrive and survive.

The Garden Snail

There are many methods of snail pest control for the gardener to choose from. There are lots of organic and chemical products on the market as well as other methods of pest control such as picking the snails off the plants by hand.

A gang of guinea fowl.Gang of guinea fowl.

I have found that since I have had my guinea fowl the numbers of snails has diminished and I don’t need to use alternative methods of snail control. 

Click on the image below to visit to find out more about this book or visit one of the Farming Friends Bookshops.

Dead Snails Leave No Trails: Natural Pest Control for Home and Garden




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Where Do Butterflies Go When It Rains?

Where Do Butterflies Go When it Rains?

When it rains butterflies roost;

  • In garden buildings.
  • On or in tree trunks.
  • On the underside of leaves.
  • Under dense leaves.
  • In crevices in walls.
  • In crevices in between rocks.
  • Under the overhang of houses.
  • Hanging on bushes and shrubs.
  • Under rocks.
  • In garages.

These are the same places that butterflies go at night.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Latin Name: Aglais urticae

Description:  The Small Tortoiseshell butterfly is bright orange with a black border and blue spots around the edge of the wings. The forewing has 3 rectangular black patches and the hindwings have black on them aswell. The underside of the wings are a black and brown colouring with a row of faint blue spots near the edge.

Size: The Small Tortoiseshell has a wingspan of approximately 45-60mm.

Habitat: This butterfly lives in gardens, parks, meadows, woodlands, grasslands, farms and country lanes.

Food: The Small Tortoiseshell butterfly feeds on nectar from flowering plants such as the buddleia, daisies, thistles, ragwort and dandelion. The caterpillar feeds on stinging nettles.

Distribution: The Small Tortoiseshell butterfly can be found throughout the UK.

Months Seen: This species of butterfly can be seen from March to October.

Did You Know?

  • The Small Tortoiseshell caterpillar is a black or brown colour with branching spines and yellow bands on eachside of it’s body.
  • The adult butterfly sleeps in sheds and houses during the Winter.
  • Eggs from the caterpillar are laid on the stinging nettle.