Royal Mail stamps: Brilliant bugs

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01 October 2020
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Royal Mail issue six stamps to celebrate the enormous diversity, intrigue and importance of pollinating insects in the UK.

Insects on British stamps is nothing new, but the return of bugs for this set feels justified, highlighting their importance to our environment. So which tiny winged creatures are buzzing onto this simple set of six?

The stamps feature six important insect pollinators found in the UK and explores the range that not only includes bees and butterflies, but other often overlooked important pollinators including moths, beetles, hoverflies and wasps.


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The two 1st class values feature illustrations of the Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum), a relatively widespread bumblebee which feeds on flowers such as large blue pea; and the Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui); thistles are a common source of nectar for these migratory butterflies in Britain.

On two £1.45 stamps we see the Longhorn Beetle (Rutpela maculata) and the Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor). The wasp-mimicking beetle is a common visitor of hawthorn flowers in summer, whilst the Hawk-moth can often be seen near Honeysuckle, its favoured source of nectar.

Finally we have two £1.70 stamps. The Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) can often seen in gardens and is also an important pollinator of crops like oilseed rape. The Ruby-tailed Wasp (Chrysis ignita agg) feeds on nectar from flowers such as angelica.

The presentation pack features information about pollination, pollinating insects and the decline in pollinating insects and how we can conserve them, and also goes into detail around the insects pictured on the stamps.

Other souvenirs include:

  • First Day CoverS
  • Stamp cards
  • A framed version of the stamps, signed by stamp artist Richard Lewington, is limited to just 100 copies.
Brilliant Bugs - Stamp Technical Specification

Issue date: 1 October 2020
Design: Royal Mail Group Ltd
Illustrations: Richard Lewington
Stamp size: 36.5mm (w) x 34.7mm (h)
Printer: International Security Printers, lithography
Perforations: 14 x 14.5 Phosphor    
Bars: as appropriate
Gum: PVA

  • 1st Class- Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum)
  • 1st Class - Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)    
  • £1.45 - Longhorn Beetle (Rutpela maculata)    
  • £1.45 - Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor)
  • £1.70 - Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)
  • £1.70 - Ruby-tailed Wasp (Chrysis ignita agg)       

Brilliant Bugs stamps - Product List