Home > News > News > Wild Bunch – Slugs, bugs and creepy crawlies

Wild Bunch – Slugs, bugs and creepy crawlies

Hi, this is Jane from the Wild Bunch, with our latest column. When thinking about supporting wildlife in our gardens and open spaces, it is easy to focus on the cute creatures around us – from fluffy bumblebees and eye-catching butterflies to endearing hedgehogs and stunning songbirds. But what about the slugs, bugs and creepy-crawlies? They are less visually attractive and for most of us lacking in appeal. Yet insects and invertebrates are an essential part of a healthy ecosystem, playing a vital role in the environment. The recent ‘State of Nature’ report (2023) notes that since 1970 UK invertebrates such as insects, spiders and millipedes have been found, on average, in 13% fewer places. 

So, these creepy-crawlies are worth fostering. Together they feed on amazingly high numbers of insects which are often pests of food crops. In their turn they themselves become a source of food for other wildlife. How can we help halt their decline? We can begin by reminding ourselves of the important role that the less likeable wildlife in our garden may play. For example, slugs and snails are often a headache for gardeners, yet we should remember they clear decaying plants and rotting fruit. They are also vital food for hungry birds, frogs and hedgehogs, as are spiders – which in turn eat large numbers of insects, mainly small flies. Similarly bugs such as woodlice, whilst eating rotting plants and fungi, are a food source for centipedes, toads, shrews and spiders. As loss of habitat is an important factor in the decline of creepy-crawlies, leaving a wild, undisturbed corner in a garden, with some long grass and a pile of rotting wood will help improve their numbers. Finally, should control become necessary, then we can all avoid pesticides and return to low-impact methods such as “slug pubs”, or midnight snail hunts with a torch! 

If you would like to join the Wild Bunch, to share ways to encourage wildlife in gardens and local open spaces, receive the newsletter or suggest topics for the monthly gatherings in 2024, then please email fromewildbunch@gmail.com We look forward to hearing from you. 

29 November 2023
Last Updated
4 December 2023
Published in