An insect spotter's guide to our Kitchen Garden

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

10 facts about creepy-crawlies

1. Did you know that Bumble Bees have favourite colours? If you want to catch a glimpse of a busy bee then look out for flowers that are blue, purple, violet, white or yellow. 

2. The best place to find ladybirds and aphids are in the tomato patch. People used to think tomatoes were poisonous as they are part of the deadly night shade family – lucky for us they’re not! Imagine our pizzas and spaghetti without tomato sauce. 

A close up of a bumblebee on a Verbena bonariensis flowerhead. The Verbena bonariensis flowerhead is a cluster of small pink tubular flowers on a long stem.

3. Did you know there’s a beetle that only eats asparagus? You might find the elusive, tiny asparagus beetle lurking under the leaves in our asparagus patch.  

4. Butterflies are our friends, but caterpillars are foes. Butterflies transfer pollen from plant to plant to help us grow cucumbers, squash, apples and clover. Whereas naughty caterpillars eat our crops

A butterfly lands on a white flower in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace. Showing an orange and brown butterfly on a delicate white flower, with other similar flowers blurred in the background

5. Snails, slugs and woodlice like to hide in our ceramic pots. The ceramic pots help the crops to grow quickly as they force the plant to stretch for sunlight. 

6. Earthworms are very important to any garden. They work hard at keeping our soil clean. They do this by pulling down organic material and recycling it into fresh nutrient filled soil, helping our crops to grow. 

Close up hands holding a worm

7. The Kitchen Garden at Hampton Court Palace is a 'no dig' garden. The soil is made up of layers including manure and green waste, which is added into the soil by mini-beasts rather than dug in. Be careful not tread on the beds, this squashes the air out, making it difficult for the worms to thrive and the roots to grow. Help protect our garden and watch where you step! 

8. Rhubarb is popular with green shield beetles. Find our rhubarb patch and you might just find one. Tip: Mini-beasts like to lurk in the shade so look for them hiding under big leaves, but be careful not to damage the plant.  

Children in a garden nursery

9. Did you know ants can carry 20 times their own body weight? That's like you lifting a car! See if you can spot them moving things around the garden. 

10. You’ll find plenty of spiders in our Kitchen Garden. Did you know they’re not insects? Instead, spiders are known as arachnids because they only have two body segments instead of three. Other arachnids are scorpions, mites, and ticks. 

The Kitchen Garden at Hampton Court Palace under a bright blue sky. Showing varieties of planting in the foreground and the Tudor palace in the background

Bonus Fact: Do you know why plants are green? It’s because they have chlorophyll, which helps them make their food. Everything that has chlorophyll in it is green.