Why does cow poo make plants grow?

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Cow poo, cow pats, cow pies or cow dung – whatever you want to call the sloppy stuff that comes out of a cow’s bottom – has been used for hundreds of years to help plants grow. The farmer who lives near us puts it on his crops each year and you know exactly when he’s done it because there’s a stink in the air for days!

But exactly what is it that’s so special about cow poo that makes it good for plants?

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Why do bees like pollen?

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Bees visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen which they use to make honey as a food. As bees fly around from plant to plant they pick up and drop off pollen between the flowers. This is a really important job in nature because moving pollen between flowers helps plants to reproduce (make new plants) through a process called pollination. If bees didn’t do this, then certain types of plants wouldn’t be able to make seeds.

So let’s find out more about how the lifecycles of bees and flowers work together…

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Should we squish harlequin ladybirds?

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Ladybirds (or ladybugs) are a kind of beetle that can often be found in fields, hedges and gardens during the warmer months of the year. Ladybirds can be red, orange or yellow and they have small black spots on their wing covers. There are lots of different species of ladybirds but the most common type found in Britain is the seven-spotted ladybird, which has red wing covers with seven black spots.

Many gardeners are pleased to see ladybirds because they eat aphids (tiny green insects that munch on plants). But you might have heard about the arrival of a new species – the harlequin ladybird – which is causing a spot of bother. So, let’s find out more about why the harlequins are seen as trouble-makers…

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Is it a bee?

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It’s summer time here in the UK and the weather has been getting warmer and sunnier. There are lots of insects buzzing around the garden and some of them have even flown into the house. My 2-year-old thinks they are all bees but most of them are actually flies. But there are lots of different species of yellow and black stripy buzzing things around at this time of year, so how can you tell them apart?

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