The Salix catkins are out!

One of the most important nectaring plants for insects in the early spring is the willow (Salix spp). Male catkins and female catkins are on separate trees. Although only the males produce pollen, but types of catkins produce nectar which are eagerly sought by a range of insects, especially when the sun in shining! The catkins are just stating to open now in sheltered places.

Male willow catkins with nectaring Honey Bees, bank of River Severn, 13 March 2016 ©Rosemary Winnall

Aphid eggs in winter

In the spring and summer female aphids reproduce by giving birth to live young parthenogenically (without the need for fertilisation), but in the autumn they produce males and females which mate, and those females lay eggs which overwinter. Some of these eggs are black and shiny like these that we found on a Scots Pine sapling near Dowles Brook recently.

Aphid eggs on Scot's Pine, Dowles, 4 February 2015