Manchester's minibeasts

(c) Alice Singleton

From our infamous worker bee to the more unusual looking shield bugs with bodies resembling medieval armour, Manchester is crawling with insects.

Our first summer of My Wild City has seen people flock in their hundreds to explore local parks and discover the incredible abundance of weird and wonderful wildlife that calls Manchester home. Did you know that woodlice breathe through their knees? Or that caterpillars have 12 eyes? The miniature world of minibeasts is a place full of fascination with over 20,000 different species of insect living in Great Britain alone. 

Our monthly ‘Wild at The Whitworth’ events have gone down a storm this summer with over 350 of you getting involved and uncovering the wildlife Manchester has to offer. From beautiful light green emerald moths to ginormous slimy slugs and violet ground beetles which resemble shimmering jewels.  

It seems that when it comes to insects, Manchester has certainly caught the recording bug – taking part in this year’s Big Butterfly Count and competing this year for the first time in international wildlife recording competition, the City Nature Challenge which saw 138 Manchester residents recording 5,098 observations of 802 different species in just four days.  

Healthy insect populations are key to supporting an entire network of other wildlife, from bats to hedgehogs, house sparrows and kestrels, everything is connected and insects are integral to creating a city which allows both people and nature to thrive. 

What's that minibeast?

(c) Alice Singleton

If we notice and appreciate urban wildlife, we can all help to protect it. Why not have a rummage through your garden or park for insect life this weekend and see what you discover? Peek under stones, peer through cracks in tree bark, deadwood and walls, gently brush though the long grass – you’ll be amazed at what you find!

There are also plenty of ways you can encourage more insects into your garden. Set aside an area of lawn or a section of your border to grow wildflowers, create a nectar café by planting flowers like buddleia, lavender and verbena for pollinating insects to enjoy. Pile up logs to create a cosy shelter, you could even get creative and use wooden pallets, dead wood, stones and tiles to create a bug mansion. 

Have your say for wildlife in Manchester

Over 2,000 of you have now had your say for wildlife in Manchester. Our survey closes this month so it's your last chance to take part if you haven't already! Take part today.

My Wild City Survey