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Next week is National Insect Week 2012 [25 June - 1 July], organised by the Royal Entomological Society to give an insight to the fascinating and diverse world of insects and to raise awareness of the important role they play in our environment.
The biennial initiative is designed to show why insects are one of the most varied and important groups of animals, with hundreds of species often being found in an ordinary back garden.
National Insect Week is supported by the RSPB and more than 50 other national partner organisations, all concerned about natural history and biodiversity.
Of the 13,400 species recorded on RSPB Reserves, more than half are insects. All the native British species of dragonflies, damselflies, cockroaches and earwigs can be found on RSPB reserves, as well as 77% of grasshopper and cricket species, 58% of beetles and 66% of butterflies and moths.
Samantha Stokes, from the RSPB in the South East said: "Insects are vitally important to the balance of our ecosystem.
"From eating pests that damage crops, to being a food source themselves for other animals, or pollinating flowers and making honey, some even help breakdown organic waste - insects carry out a variety of roles.
"There are those we love such as butterflies and dragonflies, and there are some we might be less keen on like wasps or mosquitoes - but none the less, they all have a role to play."
In West Sussex, the RSPB's popular Pulborough Brooks nature reserve in the scenic Arun Valley has a huge variety of species to see.
Emperor dragonflies patrol the pond edges, while broad bodied and four-spotted chaser dragonflies perch on twigs. Butterflies to look out for include red admirals, speckled woods, common and holly blues, meadow browns, gatekeepers and ringlets.
Other interesting insects include the ferocious green tiger beetles, the chirruping field crickets, which were translocated to the reserve two years ago, and magnificent hawk moths which are attracted to the light traps.
To join in the celebrations, the reserve will be holding an 'Ugly Bug Ball' event over the weekend of 30 June and 1 July. It is a drop in event suitable for families and adults alike. With a colour and camouflage theme, you can get up close to moths, play mini-beast top trumps, make a bug-themed craft or go on a guided walk looking for butterflies and dragonflies.
For further information on RSPB Pulborough Brooks and its events, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/pulboroughbrooks or contact the visitor centre on 01798 875851
For further information about National Insect Week, please visit www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk
Pictured above: Mottled grasshopper, Myrmeleotettix maculatus, taken by Jodie Randall (rspb-images.com) (top image), and Broad-bodied chaser, male, dragonfly taken by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com) (bottom image).