Weird and wonderful insects in the East of England

Half of all species on Earth are in fact insects and they live in pretty much every habitat. Without them our lives would be very different, they pollinate our fruit and flowers, they are food for birds and mammals. From predators, herbivores, parasites and scavengers, so many benefit the natural world and help keep the balance of nature.

Elephant Hawk Moth

The rather beautiful elephant hawk moth 

The rather beautiful elephant hawk-moth is named after the caterpillar’s resemblance to an elephant’s trunk. The adults are nocturnal, so come dusk you’re more likely to see them flying around places like Orford Ness. During the day, they’ll be found resting among the plants they feed from such as honeysuckle.

An adult ant lion

The magic of the micro-world at Dunwich Heath

Rare insects like ant lions, may not be easily seen. So why tell you about them? Well they're Britain's rarest predator and they can be found in the sandy banks at Dunwich Heath. In a scene straight out of science fiction, their larva lays in wait, lurking ready to pierce unfortunate prey with large mandibles!

Lesser stag beetle

The beetles of Hatfield Forest 

Many nationally rare species of beetle have been discovered at Hatfield Forest in Essex. The veteran trees and fallen wood support large numbers of saproxylic beetles (deadwood beetles) including lesser stag, rhinoceros and longhorn beetles.

Green Tiger beetle

West Runton's speedy beetle 

The adult green tiger beetle is one of the fastest running insects in the world. It is an awesome predator that hunts just about any insect or spider and can be easily identified by it's size and striking metallic-green colour. They enjoy the hot sandy paths as they chase after their prey at West Runton in Norfolk.

Rhododendron leafhopper on a leaf

Rhododendron leafhoppers at Sheringham Park 

Rhododendron leafhoppers are not native to Britain, they were introduced from North America in the 1900s and it's one of very few insects that feed on the sap of rhododendrons. In years when they are common, disturbing a rhododendron branch can cause leafhoppers to take evasive action, you'll see and hear them as they jump away with an audible clicking sound.

Honey bee feeding on a dahlia flower

How we're helping honey bees 

Faced by loss of habitat, disease, pesticides and climate change, honey bees have a lot to contend with. So we've set about creating bee-friendly gardens and have introduced hives at Felbrigg Hall, Peckover House and Oxburgh Hall. At Wimpole Estate we've also got a special observation hive.