Drivers asked to support annual bug survey

An appeal has gone out to drivers across the UK to support an annual survey to establish the health of the country's insect population.

By
Mark Dowie
Sunday, 31st July 2022, 7:00am
Drivers asked to support annual bug survey

June saw the launch of this year’s Bugs Matter, the annual national insect survey led by Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife. So far, contributors have recorded more than 3000 journeys across the UK. The data collected provides vital information on the health of insect populations, and the environment as a whole.

The survey continues until the end of August – so there is still time to download the Bugs Matter app and get involved.

Participation across the four countries of the UK and there have been only 220 recorded journeys in Scotland, compared to 2627 in England, 400 in Wales and just 47 across Northern Ireland.

With the survey period running until August 31, fresh calls have been made to those making car journeys to put their ‘splatometers’ in action.

Andrew Whitehouse, from Buglife, said: “We are really pleased that so many people have signed-up for the Bugs Matter survey this year, helping us to measure the health of insect populations across the UK.

"There are locations where we are keen to see more journeys recorded, but there’s still plenty of time to get involved. Let’s make every journey count this summer.”

Dr Lawrence Ball from Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “We’ve just overtaken the number of journeys we recorded at this time last year, which is brilliant because a larger dataset means we can get a clearer picture of how insect numbers are changing over time. The data we’re collecting is so important.”

Smartphone users can take part by downloading the free Bugs Matter app from their app stores and, before making a journey in a vehicle, clean the number plate and tap “Begin Journey” in the app. On reaching the destination, count the bugs squashed on a section of the number plate by holding the ‘splatometer’ grid against the number plate. Take a photo and submit the information via the app.

Participants will receive a ‘splatometer’ by post but if they want to get started straight away they can download a print-at-home version from Bugs Matter - Buglife. The data collected inform a growing requirement for conservation research, policy and practice targeted at insects.

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