Is it okay to touch a frog, or will we burn its skin? Readers’ nature queries
Eye on Nature: Ethna Viney on caterpillars, carder bees, voles, moths and great mullein
How to handle a frog: don’t use soap beforehand. Just rinse your hands and leave them slightly moist. Photograph: iStock/Getty
My children were discussing whether you should touch a frog, as it was said that your hands burn its skin.
Barnatra, Co Mayo
Frogs absorb practically everything through their skin. Salts, oils, soil and lotions from our hands can irritate the frog’s skin badly. Don’t use soap before handling a frog. Just rinse your hands and leave them slightly moist.
I found the strange material in my photograph, which is like wet cotton candy, on my window. The dark spots inside are what appear to be eggs.
New Ross, Co Wexford
It seems to be a caterpillar that has been parasitised by an ichneumon fly, a parasitic wasp. It lays its eggs in the caterpillar; they hatch, feed on it and then become pupae, which are in the white stuff.
I allowed my grass to grow over a year, and when it was cut recently I found a bumblebee nest on the ground.
Elizabeth Brookes, Annascaul, Co Kerry
It looks like the nest of the common carder bee, a bumblebee that nests on the ground and flies until autumn.
I’ve been feeding bank voles this summer, and I’ve noticed a robin that doesn’t fancy sharing with them. The robin attacks them, but the voles don’t seem perturbed.
Derrynane, Co Kerry
I came across the beautiful moth in my photograph at Strandhill, Co Sligo. There were more than 20 of them.
They were the six-spot burnet moth.
I saw the plant in my photograph on the Waterford Greenway, outside the city, and wondered what it was.
It is great mullein, a native species that grows on gravelly banks and waste ground.
Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a postal address