Entomology (the study of insects) can be incredibly rewarding, and each garden can illustrate the fundamentals of insect ecology. Your garden will have keystone species (species fundamental to the community, such as bumble bee), predators (e.g. hoverflies and ladybirds), herbivores (e.g. aphids and caterpillars), parasitoids (similar to a parasite but they kill their host, such as Diplazon laetatorius), parasites (e.g. the mite Varroa, which attacks honeybees) and detritivores (e.g. stag beetle larvae, helping break down dead wood). These species can interact in a way that benefits one at a cost to the other, such as predators and prey, hosts and parasitoids or plants and herbivores. In addition, there can be beneficial interactions such as mutualisms (an interaction where both species benefit, such as ants protecting aphids from predators in return for honeydew) or symbioses (interactions which are essential for both species, as found with aphids and the microorganism Buchnera). Gardeners influence this web of interactions in many ways, such as by choosing which plants to grow, or whether to use chemical means to control pests. So before you reach for the can of insecticide, consider that you will not only be killing pests, but also beneficial insects. Just as one person's weed is another's flower, each gardener decides which insect is a pest. Aphids are a case in point. They are the classic garden pest, yet leaving a few colonies to grow provides an excellent chance to watch their interactions with ladybirds, parasitoids and ants, as well as providing an important food resource for a wide range of insects and birds. Every gardener can play an active role in maintaining biodiversity, and the tips provided on this website will help. In addition, gardeners can contribute to entomological science by helping to track the distribution of insects. Each county has a network of insect recorders. This is essential if we are to protect our wild heritage, and to understand how environmental problems including climate change may influence the natural world. You don't have to be a professional entomologist to help.
The Royal Entomological Society can trace its history back to 1833 when it was founded as the Entomological Society of London. The Society was granted its royal charter by Queen Victoria in 1885, and King George V granted the right to add the world 'Royal' to the title in 1933. Many eminent scientists, including Charles Darwin, have been fellows.
The Royal Entomological Society supports insect science through its renowned scientific journals and other publications, scientific meetings and by providing a forum for disseminating research findings.