More than 100,000 people, many devoted gardeners, are anticipated to attend the BBC Gardeners’ World Live Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham over the five days of the show (Wednesday 12 June to Sunday 16 June).  So it was with eager anticipation and excitement that we assembled our Biological Records Centre (part of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) exhibit.

This year we have chosen to build on our theme of “every biological record counts” by inviting visitors to contribute their observations of five common insects often seen in gardens: marmalade hoverfly, 7-spot ladybird, tree bumblebee, oak bush cricket and small tortoiseshell butterfly. 

The response has been incredible. We have met so many interesting people who are eager to contribute their wildlife sightings and excited by the opportunities of using iRecord to do so.

It is wonderful to hear wildlife stories from across the country including solitary bees in central Birmingham, 7-spot ladybirds in the wilderness surrounding Stirling, orange-tip butterflies in Wales ...stories from allotments, gardens, window boxes, parks, schools and many other places.

Visitors also explore our beautiful wildlife gardens and delight at the amazing entomological models on display.

A hoverfly larva under the microscope is proving hugely popular – with visitors entranced as it voraciously devours sycamore aphids.

But there is one thing in common across all our conversations – enthusiasm. The enthusiasm from both the visitors and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology exhibitors is incredible. The exhibit is simply buzzing!

Update 17 Jun 2013: We were delighted to receive a Highly Commended certificate from the show as displayed by our Tree Bumblebee on the photo to the right!

View lots more photos of the stand on our special Flickr set.

View videos of insects under the microscope on our YouTube channel

Blog post written by Dr Helen Roy, an ecological entomologist at the Biological Records Centre within CEH.