The glut of greenhouse tomatoes found me making one of our absolutely favourite soups. I wandered down to the veg plot to get a handful of basil. It is growing in the ground next to some cabbages all covered up with horticultural mesh, supposedly to be keeping the cabbage white butterflies off. Pulling back the mesh I saw what I have been hoping for over the last few weeks, an adult Great Green Bush Cricket, as they reach maturity in August.
During the summer we have seen nymphs and medium sized ones, but this was a whopper. I can’t really describe how ridiculously excited it makes me to have this in my field! You can find them in pockets all around the south of England apparently, but this is about as far north as the species occurs.
Female Great Green Bush Cricket – I dropped a nasturtium in for scale.
The mature crickets now mate and the female uses the long ovipositor to lay eggs underground which is where they overwinter, before hatching next spring. (These pictures, by the way, are just taken with my Samsung Galaxy phone, which is about as photographical as I can get, but seems to do a brilliant job. )
The long antennae seem to have rotating sockets so they change direction
Although we cut our hay we have left large areas of long grass and the edges of the field are becoming overgrown with brambles and self sown trees – Great Green Bush Crickets lurk in the thick vegetation of hedgerows, nettle beds and thickets, so I am trying to make sure that they have the right habitat here. (Although they obviously like lurking in savoy cabbages too!)
The long grass areas now.
And the soup finally gets underway!