Wednesday, August 10, 2022
NewsAnimal NewsBug population splatter survey proves successful so far

Bug population splatter survey proves successful so far

A BUG survey has proven to be successful so far, with data providing vital information as to the health of the UK’s insect populations.

Last month saw the launch of Bugs Matter 2022, the annual national insect survey led by Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife. 

So far in 2022, citizen scientists have recorded over 3,000 journeys across the UK.

The data collected provides vital information on the health of insect populations, and the environment as a whole.

A numberplate with the Splatometer attached to the front.
The Splatometers are attached to the front of car number plates, allowing drivers to measure how many bugs have been squashed per section. (Image supplied with release by Buglife)

Participation across the four countries of the UK in the citizen science project has varied greatly. 

So far, 2,627 journeys have been recorded across England, 400 across Wales, 220 across Scotland and 47 across Northern Ireland. 

With the Bugs Matter 2022 survey period running until 31st August, fresh calls are being made to those making car journeys around the UK to become citizen-scientists and 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.

“The response so far has been fantastic.  

“There are locations where we are keen to see more journeys recorded; in particular the north of Scotland, central Wales and across Northern Ireland but there’s still plenty of time to get involved.”

Dr Lawrence Ball from Kent Wildlife Trust said: “It’s great to see so many citizen scientists getting involved in the survey in its second year.

“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. 

The concept is simple; before making a journey in a vehicle, users clean the number plate, and tap “Begin Journey” in the app.

Upon reaching the destination, users then count the bugs squashed on a section of the number plate by holding the “splatometer” grid against the number plate. 

Users must then take a photo and submit the information via the app.

Heather Knapp from Evolve Counselling, who is taking part in Bugs Matter shared:  “I’m encouraging everyone who drives to join in. 

“All you have to do is clean your number plate before a journey, take a picture of it after your journey, count the bugs and upload the information to the app. 

“What a worthwhile thing to do – very little effort for the benefit of knowing you’re helping to monitor how insects are being affected by our modern way of living. 

“Hopefully we’ll all be incentivised to make a few changes and promote a more hospitable environment for our creepy crawly friends!”

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