Washout sends spiders indoors

Incy wincy
Incy wincy

A washout August dampened prospects for Britain’s bees and butterflies after a promising start to the summer, the National Trust said.

This year was on course to be “the best summer for wildlife in over a decade”, according to the conservation charity, before the country was plagued by wet and windy weather, sending some pretty big spiders heading for shelter indoors.

The breeding habits of many winged creatures and insects are disrupted by prolonged damp spells, which also bring an increased risk of viruses, pathogens and mould.

Matthew Oates, a nature and wildlife expert for the National Trust, said: “After a highly promising spring and early summer, the good weather was disrupted and the rains came down.

“This was especially damaging for warmth-loving insects, including many butterflies and bees.

“It means we haven’t had a genuinely good summer since 2006 - the wait goes on.”

Wildlife in the north and west of the country has had a “particularly rough time” while the South East has enjoyed “quite a good summer”, Mr Oates said.

The picture for fauna and flora has not been completely bleak, with some wildlife benefiting from the fine weather between April and mid-July.

The midsummer heatwave meant some insects appeared much earlier than usual, including one of Britain’s most elusive butterflies.

The rare purple emperor was spotted at Bookham Common in Leatherhead, Surrey, on June 11 - the earliest sighting since 1893.

Meanwhile, the early heat of the summer and later persistent rains are likely to lead to a good autumn for fungi and could also benefit spider populations, the National Trust said.

Prospects for autumn fruits, seeds, nuts and berries are also strong, after the fine spring weather.