A study has shown that the population of flying insects has decreased by 60% since 2004

According to a survey that counted splashes on car number plates, the number of flying insects in the UK has fallen by around 60% since 2004. The reduction was “terrifying”, according to the researchers, as the insects are essential to life on Earth.

(Photo: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The results of tens of thousands of public rides in the summer of 2021 were compared with those of 2004. The fall was greatest in England, with a 65% reduction, followed by Wales with a 55% reduction and Scotland with a 28% reduction.

Major surveys

With only two major surveys so far, the researchers noted that it was likely that these years were particularly good or terrible for the insects, potentially skewing the results, and that it was essential to repeat the analysis every year. to establish a long-term model. However, the new findings are in line with previous studies of insect reduction, such as an annual survey of vehicle windshields in rural Denmark that reported an 80% decrease in abundance from 1997 to 2017.

Also Read: No Mow May: Gardeners Encouraged Not to Mow Lawns for Local Plants and Insects

Bugs Matter app

Brood X Cicadas emerge after 17 years underground

(Photo: Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In the UK study, participants downloaded the Bugs Matter app, which allowed them to track their journeys and the number of squashed bugs on their license plates. From June to August, the next survey will take place.

“This crucial study reveals that the number of flying insects is declining by an average of 34% every decade – it’s scary,” said Matt Shardlow of Buglife, who conducted the survey in conjunction with Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT). “We can no longer delay action; for the health and well-being of future generations, a political and societal response is needed.” Stopping the loss of biodiversity today is essential.”

“The results should shock and alarm us all,” noted KWT’s Paul Hadaway. Decreases in insects are observed, representing the significant challenges and biodiversity losses across the country. We must act immediately to protect all of our species by developing larger and larger areas of habitat, providing wildlife corridors across the land, and allowing nature to heal.”

Why are insects important?

Insects play an important role in environmental health through the recycling of organic matter, pollination and pest control. However, the experts behind a recent collection of research have found that the world is experiencing a “terrifying” global decline that is “ripping at the fabric of life”. In 2019, a global scientific assessment warned that widespread declines constituted a “catastrophic collapse of natural ecosystems”.

The new study looked at more than 5,000 rides in 2021 and calculated their “splatter rate”, or the number of bugs seen per mile. Rainy days were omitted as some splattered insects could have washed off the plates.

According to a 2004 survey by the RSPB, only 8% of rides failed to splash any insects. However, in 2021, only 40% of rides had a single crashed bug. Statistics have ruled out that new automobiles are more aerodynamic and therefore impact fewer insects.

The data acquired by the poll could not explain why the reduction in Scotland was so much lower. However, Shardlow said issues known to affect insects, such as habitat fragmentation, climate change, pesticides and light pollution, were less severe in Scotland.

what we can do

Buglife added that individuals could help insects by avoiding pesticides, allowing grass to grow longer, spreading wildflowers in gardens and demanding action from government and municipalities. According to the organization, if every garden included a small plot for insects, it would be the largest area of ​​animal habitat in the world.

Related article: Earth Day 2022: Celebrating the planet amid various environmental crises

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