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Insects and other "creepy crawlies"

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Large beetles (such as dung beetles, which are found in cow pats). Cows compulsively avoid eating any type of dung (their own or that of any other animal), so much so that around the edge of a cowpat, a ring of lush green grass will soon appear - as the cows will not even eat up to the edge of the cowpat. This gives a chance for various insects (like large dung beetles to earn a living doing whatever it is they need to do with cow pats). These dung beetles provide common snack items for badgers. Careful study of the area around cowpats can sometimes provide evidence for badgers being active in the local area!

LeatherjacketsThe leatherjacket grubs, larvae (grubs) of crane flies, certain moths, and beetles - these feed on the roots of grasses and are dug up by the badger. Whilst gardeners may "complain" about a hole that needs filling in, they may be happier if they knew that the hole was created by a badger as it dug out and ate a group of grubs which can become serious garden insect pests. Leatherjackets can be very damaging in lawns and sometimes kill small plants in flower beds and vegetable plots by eating roots and stem bases. They are often more numerous after a wet autumn, as damp conditions favour survival of eggs and young larvae. Lawn symptoms of leatherjackets include yellowish brown dead patches; seedlings collapsed having been eaten at soil level; and presence of leatherjackets in the soil. Reducing the number of leatherjackets within a lawn often reduces the damage caused by badgers.

Wasp larvae (badgers often dig out wasp nests so that they can eat the larvae). Rather curiously, badgers have been seen to almost ignore a wasps nest over a period of several weeks, and on one particular night decide to go and open up the nest and eat the grubs inside. It is thought that the badger picks a particular night to try a maximise the number and size of wasp grubs inside. The badger digs through the top of the wasps nests, tearing the layers off to get to the grubs. In doing this is avoids the worst of the attacks from the guard wasps at the entrance

Honey and larvae from bumblebee nests; although these nests are often much smaller than wasp nests. There is some evidence that badgers will attack beehives to get to the honey. When badgers break into bee nests they typically eat the larvae, pupae, honey and the honeycomb. Whilst some such attacks undoubtedly do happen, we suspect the issue is slightly over-reported; and the main problem regarding bees is to do with diseases caused by mites and "neonic" pesticides which can decimate bee populations; rather than damage by badgers.

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