The Education Centre at Fiddlers Ferry Power Station was the ideal location for CAN’s latest event ‘The Hemiptera Workshop’. The session was led by Professor Clive Washington. Under his excellent tutelage members were taken through a detailed and structured introduction into bug morphology, separation of the major families, recording methods and the identification resources available including the very impressive ‘British Bugs Website’. After the aquatic bugs were covered by Dr Bill Bellamy, it was time to venture into the Fiddlers Ferry Nature Reserve characterised by rich meadows populated by a multitude of bee orchids and burnet moths. This provided the ideal habitat for a variety of shieldbugs, Miridae, and leafhoppers in addition to many other insect species. A large pond provided members an opportunity to pond dip and examine several species of water bugs up close and personal.

Clive tells the members how to identify shieldbugs

The afternoon session allowed members to test their expertise in sweep netting and hopefully not get bitten! Specimens were taken back to the Education Centre where the CAN microscopes were put to good use in conjunction with the online identification guide. Nearly 100 invertebrate species were recorded including many bug species. The find of the day was probably the Heather Shieldbug Rhacognathus punctatus. Fascinating as there is no heather actually on the site!

Members get to grips with field collecting

It was a great day and a big thank you to Clive, Gemma Davies (The Education Centre Manager), who provided CAN with a wonderful facility and unlimited tea and coffee all day. Furthermore, many thanks to Eamonn Ritchie of ELM Consultants for his expertise and dedication in showing us around a fantastic site.