One of my earliest memories is of stamping on ants on the patio in my family garden. Then I noticed several ants scurrying for safety with tiny white bundles in their forelegs. My mum told me that the white bundles were eggs; that the ants must have decided to relocate their colony to a safer spot and move their babies out of harm’s way. I was overcome with guilt and remorse. Since that day I’ve tried hard not to harm any living creatures (fleas, mosquitos and headlice excepted).
While still not terribly fond of spiders, I’ve tried my best to nurture a fascination rather than a fear of bugs in my children. We enjoy going on a ‘garden safari’, hunting for snails and woodlice under plant pots and worms in the compost bin. I was alarmed when, at the start of lockdown in March, my oldest daughter Gwendolyn refused to go in the garden because she was frightened of bees. Thankfully, she mastered this fear and later became adept at spotting ‘poorly’ bees on paths and pavements, and transporting them to safety my means of a leaf ambulance.
Lots of us get the creeps from creepy-crawlies. Still more of us are simply unaware of the miniature life-or-death dramas playing out all around us, or of the important place invertebrates occupy in our ecosystems.
With any luck, the winning snaps from the Luminar Bug Photography Awards 2020 will help to change attitudes. Indeed, the contest’s overall winner, Saudi Arabian photographer, Mofeed Abu Shalwa, first began capturing bugs on camera as a way of overcoming his childhood phobia of insects!
The inaugural awards were launched to celebrate the diversity and complexity of the bug world and showcase the talent of those who photograph it. They also help to raise awareness of the worrying decline in the populations of many invertebrate species and to support the conservation efforts of charity Buglife.
I hope you enjoyed this small selection of my favourite photographs from the Luminar Bug Photography Awards 2020. You can find the full story and view all winning and shortlisted photographs here.