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Love your garden critters

Speckled Bush Cricket in close-up (female)

Up close and personal with a Speckled Bush Cricket

A lot of gardeners are a bit nervous of the creepy crawlies lurking in their garden, but we should all take some time out occasionally to have a good look and appreciate them for what they are and what they do.

I’m not expecting you to go hug a spider any time soon (their eight legs will always freak me out slightly), but just take the time for a good hard look and when you’re feeling brave enough see if you can get a bit closer. Trust me, they’ll probably be more freaked out about this than you are!

Speckled Bush Cricket displaying long antennae (female)

Look at the size of those antennae!

While writing this post I’ve already seen a ladybird, a jumping zebra spider (way cool!) and a grasshopper alternating between flying around the patio and sitting in the sun chirruping (that would be the grasshopper doing the flying and chirruping, not me – in case you were wondering).

However, one of my favourite insects of the summer has to be the Speckled Bush Cricket. A common visitor to our garden, it’s most vibrant and brilliantly green. These creatures are just awesome and their long waving antennae amazing.

A well camouflaged Speckled Bush Cricket (female)

Where's Wally?

Even though they are stunningly green, Speckled Bush Crickets are usually very difficult to see. They are well camouflaged, merging in with the vegetation of woodland margins, gardens and hedgerows where they normally prowl.

Holding a Speckled Bush Cricket (female)

Red and green should never be seen...

However, one of them jumped into our kitchen yesterday, landing on our incredibly red step-stool. This made it stand out instantly and so I grasped the opportunity to take some photos so that we can all sneak a peek at this beautiful mini-beast up close and personal.

WARNING! SCIENCE! The cricket in the pictures is a female, who is easily identifiable by her very large and laterally flattened sabre-shaped ovipositor (the bit that sticks out the back and helps her lay her eggs). Bush Crickets, also sometimes called Long-Horned Grasshoppers, are characterised by their extremely long hind legs which make them very good at jumping, while the male of each species make their chirruping ‘song’ by rubbing their front wings together. They eat the leaves and flowers of a variety of plants.

Close-up of a Speckled Bush Cricket (female)

Is she staring at me?

I hope to be able to find a few more of my favourite mini-beasties to share with you soon, but in the meantime, let me know about your favourites and if you’ve got any photos of them, why not send me a few?

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