Citizen science - The Bugs Matter survey
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 this summer, 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 if you live in Somerset, your splatometer will be posted to you.
- 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 that will be posted to you when you sign up.
- 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.