Hawthorn Shieldbug

My first post on my new blog. This is a simple blog that I hope to use to record the wildlife of a medium sized urban garden in Caerffili, South Wales. There are three main sections to the garden comprising of a small east facing front garden, and west facing back garden split between a lawn and flower garden and the vegetable garden at the bottom. The back garden is surrounded by a fence, shrubs and 40m of privet, with 3 rowan trees and a hazel tree. There is also a small pond which is home to at least 7 palmate newts at the last count in July.

I have been inspired to record the wildlife by reading about bioblitzs' published by local wildlife organisations. Although this cannot be described in any way as a bioblotz, it is more like a plodding marathon. In no way can I be described as an expert in anything, let alone nature. However, I do have a questioning mind, and hope to learn through this project. If anyone does read this blog, and has any advice and guidance, it would be gratefully appreciated.

Which finally brings me to my first real post. As I was having a look at the plumb tree in hope of eating a few before the wife caught me I notice this Hawthorn shieldbug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale) wandering around the leaves and plums. There are a few hawthorns in the area around the garden, so it may have been visiting. It mainly feeds on Hawthorn berries, but has also been associated with oak, hazel and birch. All of which are in surrounding gardens. It is common across Britain and Ireland, but is scare in Scotland (1).

Eggs are laid in spring and, over the summer, the nymphs feed on ripening red berries, particularly Hawthorn, but also feed Rowan, Whitebeam and Cotoneaster (2). The adults appear from late August, and hibernate from late Autumn and breed in the Spring.

The Birch Shield Bug and Juniper Shield Bug are both similar in shape to the Hawthorn Shield Bug, but are much smaller and have a different red and green pattern.

I found the website britishbugs.org.uk a fantastic site to help me to identify bugs that I've found in the garden in past.

1: http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Acanthosomatidae/a_haemorrhoidale.html
2: http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/hawthorn-shield-bug