Green Nettle Weevil
Nettles are one of the best places to look for insects because all sorts of creatures can be found on them. Nettles may sting us but insects are immune from the effects. If you look closely at the leaves of the nettle plant you will sometimes see small whitish specks, which close up, prove to be the shiny Green Nettle Weevil. They are between 5mm and 8mm in size and the Green Nettle Weevil is often abundant on the nettle plant, hence its common name. The iridescent sheen of the adult Green Nettle Weevil comes from a coating of green scales, which covers its black body. Over time and with age, these scales easily rub off leaving a black ‘shell’ underneath resulting in a rather ‘worn’, patchy appearance, hence the variation between the green and blue colours. They can be found from April to late June. Re the nettle plant itself, our first childhood sting is a lesson learned about the darker side of nature but the treacherous weed can be tamed and put to good use – here are some examples. Butterflies can’t get enough of it. Nettles are butterfly food for at least two common British species – the Red Admiral and the Painted Lady. They’re medicinal. Nutritional therapists claim that nettles can be used to ease the symptoms of gout, among other ailments. The plants are packed with magnesium, iron and calcium – all essential minerals for healthy humans. They are survivors. The sting on the underside of the nettle leaf is designed to protect it. The fibre inside the plant can be spun into string and used to make fabric for clothing and even paper. A mature nettle is incredibly fibrous, like flaxen. The German army used nettle fabric to make army uniforms during World War One. They tend to come with their own first aid kit. Dock leaves are commonly believed to soothe the symptoms of a nettle sting, and they often grow close by. They are tasty too – nettle soup is slightly tangy and outrageously healthy. The ingredients for this soup are nettles potatoes, onions and seasoning. The sting disappears when the leaves are boiled so they can also be consumed in the form of tea. And finally, they can raise your spirits… literally. Nettle wine is a traditional country wine that’s enjoying a bit of a revival at the moment. It is a very dry, crisp wine that retains a bit of a prickle.