Since June, thousands of dedicated citizen scientists have contributed their time and effort to Bugs Matter – a national citizen science survey from Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife which uses insect splats on number plates as an indicator of insect abundance to better understand how our invertebrate populations are faring.
With the summer holidays in full swing and this year’s survey concluding on 31 August, Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife are encouraging as many people as possible to make the last few weeks of the Bugs Matter survey count. The Bugs Matter team are announcing the ‘Great British Bug Off’ – they are calling on everyone, existing and new citizen scientists, to log as many journeys on the free Bugs Matter app as they can throughout August.
The three citizen scientists who log the most journeys during this month will receive fantastic prizes, including bug-tastic bug houses, mugs, tote bags and more. If you haven’t already, just download the free app and start splatting today!
The survey began on 1 June, and since then 4,325 journeys have been logged, covering an impressive distance of over 143,000 miles, showcasing the collective effort of citizen scientists across the country to collect valuable scientific data. Each journey recorded represents a vital contribution to our understanding of insect abundance and the data will help to inform better conservation policy and practice to save our bugs. Notably, participants in the South East have emerged as the front runners, having logged an impressive 1,035 journeys over the survey period so far. East Anglia and the South West are not far behind with 737 and 467 journeys, respectively, but there is still time for these regions and others to overtake in this final month! As participants continue to collect valuable data on insect numbers, the number of ‘splats’ recorded has reached 25,539.
It’s incredibly easy to take part. Simply download the free Bugs Matter app on your smartphone. Before making a journey in a vehicle, clean the number plate and tap ‘Begin journey’ in the app. Upon reaching the destination, count the bugs squashed on the number plate and submit a photo and your count via the app.
During the fun and excitement of summer, it might be easy to forget to take part in the survey. Top splatters from this year’s survey have shared some tips that help them stay on track:
- Recruit friends and family: Encourage loved ones to join in the survey. Together, you can remind each other to take part!
- Stay prepared: Keep a reusable cloth on your passenger seat so you are reminded to wipe your number plate clean before you embark on a journey.
- Use printable resources: The Bugs Matter team have provided free printable resources as a reminder to participate in the survey.
Download your printable poster here and your dashboard stand-up here. Stick them on your fridge, front door, car dashboard or any visible spot to remind yourself and others to log all your bug-splatting journeys and contribute to this hugely valuable dataset.
It’s not too late to become a citizen scientist! Download the app today and be part of a nationwide effort to understand insect population trends. Your efforts will contribute crucial scientific data to help understand and protect the incredible invertebrates that underpin our natural world.