By: Liam McGowan
Spiders and insects have been reported in their multitudes in homes and gardens all over the UK this Autumn.
As forecast by entomologists earlier in the year, wildlife enthusiasts and arachnophobes alike have remarked on the notable increase of home-invading arachnids and arthropods. One arachnophobe who has observed the creepy-crawly phenomenon commented, ” it has been absolutely horrific. Every day there are about half-a-dozen spiders on the walls and ceilings.I have also seen abnormally high numbers of other insects in my home- I can’t relax because of it”.
Spider experts are however urging the public not to kill these eight-legged home invaders: despite their ghastly reputation, it has been stressed that spiders are a friend as opposed to a foe. Of Britain’s many species, none are harmful and virtually all of them are helpful in preventing insect numbers from spiralling out of control.
Experts have confirmed conjectures by the public that these events can be largely attributed to the UK’s ever-changing climate- we have experienced unusually temperate conditions since winter ended, with temperatures fluctuating very little and rainfall uncharacteristically scarce.
Wildlife conservationists are expected to respond positively to this dramatic surge in certain species’ populations, as insect numbers are integral to Britain’s biodiversity.
There is, unfortunately, a negative flipside for the species that do not fare well in warm, dry conditions- climate change has proved devastating to some species which were once considered common in the UK. The ladybird and the bumble bee, which were once considered as symbols of the British outdoors, have now all but disappeared across many parts of the country, much to the dismay of nostalgic ramblers and enthusiasts- some claim that the character of the British countryside is dying- literally- along with these amicable insects.
Depleted bumble bee numbers is also a cause of concern for botanists, who are alarmed that its diminishing presence is likely to be exceedingly detrimental to the plants that it has pollinated for thousands of years. The survival of plants and insects, they claim, is inextricably linked.
Wildlife experts in Scotland have in recent years have reported changes in Highland Scotland’s holarctic winter climate, with warmer temperatures threatening to jeopardise the future of many of the country’s arctic species. The mountain hare, which dons a white coat in winter in order to take refuge from predators in the snow, is an easy target if the snow melts or fails to come. Alpine moths and butterflies are also diminishing as mountain temperatures rise and snowcaps melt.
In addition to the damage being done by climate change within our shores, migrating wildlife from overseas threatens to tamper further with the balance of plants and animals in the British ecosystem. Hornets from the far-east threaten to cause havoc in the UK as they have in europe, wiping out and destroying many species.
In addition to the detriment of climate change to our wildlife, arachnophobes, and entomophobes also have cause for concern. And before long we might be seeing a mosquito invasion… and we had the cheek to complain about our weather!