Some years ago I was walking along a remote country lane flanked by a tall hedge, watching a weasel sinuating along the hedge bottom, so intent  on finding a mouse or young rabbit that he did'nt notice me.

Suddenly I became aware of small tortoiseshell (pictured) and peacock butterflies flying over the hedge from the meadow beyond and collapsing onto the pathway, wings spreadeagled. Before long about thirty butterflies and some bees lay dead around me.

Clearly the farmer had been spraying the nettles thistles and wild flowers along the field margin where the insects were feeding and laying eggs.

It was heartbreaking to witness such mass slaughter of vital insects essential for pollinating our crops and flora. But this scenario is being repeated on a daily basis countrywide with invertebrates, especially flying insects being sprayed into oblivion.

 This of course has a knock-on effect throughout the ecosystem especially birds and bats facing food shortages with insects in steep decline. 

Around the first week in May, our swifts, already declining, will return and with fewer insects and spiderlings forming aerial plankton on which they feed, they too will suffer.

My garden has always been a haven for hoverflies and ladybirds but last summer I saw very few.We can all play a small part by refraining from using pesticides and chemical sprays in our gardens. Instead, we should allow hoverfly and ladybird larvae to control aphids and greenfly in a natural eco-friendly way.