Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

City Streets Are Simply Buzzing

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

City Streets Are Simply Buzzing

Article excerpt

EARLIER this year I decided to pursue a master's degree in urban pollinators.

Being an area of seemingly very little research, my supervisor seemed more than keen to send me out sampling the streets of Manchester with a very ridiculous (but very practical) yellow, popout net. It's fair to say I got a few odd looks.

At first, the tiny patch of wildflowers with buses and cyclists zooming by seemed to me like the worst place to look for wildlife in the world. On closer inspection however, my eyes were opened to the complex micro-city I saw before me.

When I show the nature their noses, grow Ellie Bumble bees, honey bees, hoverflies and butterflies were enjoying the sunny afternoon, seemingly unaware of the blaring traffic and noisy streets. Before my studies I hadn't given hoverflies much of a second thought but now I was beginning to realise how fascinating and complex they are.

Brightly-coloured and fast, it was a pleasure to watch them hover and zoom around the flowers. It was easy to forget where I was, stood on Manchester's Oxford Road.

Looking at them then, I knew that I would find this research fascinating. I also realised that I would find identifying these speedy creatures very, very hard. The very first species of hoverfly that I was able to identify was the marmalade fly - these are a very common species that are particularly easy to spot. They have an orange body with thick and thin black bands across it. The thin bands look like little moustache shapes along their abdomen. Hoverflies are brightly-coloured insects that generally mimic bees and wasps. There are about 250 different hoverfly species in Britain, they are generally spotted on flowers throughout spring, summer and autumn. Adults drink nectar and eat pollen and honeydew, some species feed on dead insects. The larvae are very varied and all have different feeding habits. …

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