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Bugs Matter

Monitoring insect declines

Kent Wildlife Trust, Buglife

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Anecdotal evidence suggests insects populations are vanishing.  20 years ago windscreens would be covered with dead insects after a drive in the summer months.  Now, hardly a single splat.  BugsMatter is a crucial project set up to scientifically evaluate the loss of insects using an app and citizen science.

Citizen science - The Bugs Matter survey

We need lots of people to use the Bugs Matter app over the summer months, and share their findings from their journeys to help us understand more about our insect populations.

Why count squashed insects?

The methodology is based on the windscreen phenomenon, a term given to the observation that people tend to find far fewer insects squashed on the windscreens of their cars compared to several decades ago.

Kent Wildlife Trust, Buglife and partners want to repeat this survey every year to build up a better understanding of insect populations.  The survey uses an innovative insect sampling method conducted by members of the public to assess the difference in insect abundance over a number of years.

Insects are also a good indicator for measuring the success of our conservation work at landscape-scale.

Bug splat image

If you have a Smartphone you can take part following these easy steps:

  • Download the app which is available free for both IOS and Android (see links above).
  • Create an account to sign up, and if you live in Kent Essex, Gwent or Somerset, your splatometer will be posted to you, otherwise, you will receive a downloadable grid to print.
  • Start surveying on any journey you make in a vehicle between 1st June to 31st August.
  • The more essential journeys you conduct the survey on the better – and counts of zero bugs are just as important to submit!

The concept is simple:

  • Clean the number plate before making an essential journey in a vehicle.
  • When you reach your destination, count the bugs squashed on the number plate using a ‘splatometer’ grid that you will receive when you sign up.
  • A photo and details must then be submitted via the app.
  • You don’t even need to be the driver of the vehicle you are travelling in – but you do need their permission.
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