Bugs Matter

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Insects underpin our natural world and their numbers can help us to better understand what is happening in our environment.

We need lots of people to take part in Bugs Matter this summer (from 1 June to 31 August 2022); collecting data and sharing findings from their journeys to help us understand more about our insect populations!  

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

  • Download the app which is available free in both IOS and Android.
  • Create an account to sign up, and you will be sent a printable grid to cut out and use.  Want to get started now?  Download the print at home version and follow the instructions.
  • 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 (this will be posted to you when you sign up or download the print at home version and follow the instructions.)
  • 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.
  • The app also includes a tutorial and some safety advice.


Why count squashed insects?

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

We 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.


Results are in for 2021’s Bugs Matter survey period!

Thanks to all the citizen scientists who took part in 2021 we can now share the shocking results discovered thanks to Bugs Matter.

The 2021 Bugs Matter findings, which are published in a report released by Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife (Bugs Matter 2021 Full Technical Report), show that the number of insects sampled on vehicle number plates by citizen scientists across the UK reduced by a staggering 59% between 2004 and 2021. These findings are consistent with research which has widely reported declining trends in insect populations globally.

Read more in our latest media release: Bugs Matter survey finds that UK flying insects have declined by nearly 60% in less than 20 years

If you haven’t already please do remember to sign up for this years Bugs Matter survey, by downloading the Bugs Matter app following the above steps.

To help us raise vital funds, to run this citizen science initiative and help stop the extinction of invertebrate species, please donate today.  Donations will allow us to run the survey as well as upgrade the official digital Bugs Matter smartphone app to include a virtual ‘splatometer’ for people to scan their vehicle number plates; digitally recording the number of insect ‘splats’ per journey. 

Donate to Bugs Matter

Want to find out what other actions you can take to help stop the extinction of invertebrate species?  Why not sign up to No Insectinction; Buglife’s response to the current crisis – a prescription for healing our planet, by restoring our depleted and devastated insect populations.

No Insectinction sign-up

Bugs Matter is led by Buglife and Kent Wildlife Trust; supported by the RSPB. 

Help us to stop the extinction of invertebrate species

Become a member

From £36 per year, membership directly supports our vital conservation work. In return you receive member benefits and our bi-annual Buzz magazine.


Donate to support us

Our work would not be possible without your support. Bees and other invertebrates need help to reverse the catastrophic declines in their numbers. Please donate today and together we can restore vital habitats and rebuild strong populations of invertebrates in the UK.

Make a donation today

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