Bug Lives Matter
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It is common to see insects splattered on a car windshield and license plates but in the United Kingdom, it’s a rare occurrence these days.
For their survey, participants downloaded the app, “Bugs Matter,” to record their journeys and also the number of bugs squashed on their license plates. The survey authors also measured the “splat rate” – the number of insects recorded per mile – for roughly 5,000 journeys in 2021.
The results were then compared to a 2004 survey conducted by the charity Royal Society for the Protection of Birds: While the older findings showed that only eight percent of all journeys failed to kill any insects, the new survey showed that this number had increased to 40 percent.
“This vital study suggests that the number of flying insects is declining by an average of 34 percent per decade – this is terrifying,” said Matt Shardlow at Buglife.
Shardlow and other authors warned that this drop marks a worrying trend, adding that more intensive and more frequent studies need to be conducted to establish a pattern.
Insects are key to maintaining a healthy environment as they recycle organic matter, pollinate plants and control pests.
“It is essential that we halt biodiversity decline now,” Shardlow noted.