Drivers urged not to clean their license plates this summer

Conservation experts have told drivers not to wipe their license plates this summer for an important cause. The UK’s insect population is said to be dwindling at an alarming rate, falling by a worrying 64 percent over the course of the last 20 years. Drivers are encouraged to wipe their number plate before travelling, and then count and photograph the total number of bug splats following their trip.

This research draws from the ‘windscreen phenomenon’, the observation that modern drivers tend to find fewer squashed insects on their windscreens than they did several decades ago, reports the Mirror.

This is according to the experts from The Bugs Matter citizen science survey, who are aiming to get a better understanding of what’s happening in the natural world by measuring the number of bug splatters.

According to the website: “The Bugs Matter citizen science survey is an important initiative measuring insect splats on vehicle number plates as a marker of insect abundance.

“In previous survey years, with the valuable contributions of citizen scientists across the UK, we have made significant strides in understanding the challenges facing our insect populations.

“This year, we need your help, once again, to build on our knowledge and make our impact even greater. Sharing the findings from your journeys will help us understand more about our insect populations, as growing evidence highlights their declines on a global scale.

“Your participation in this nature survey is vital for us to monitor population trends, address causes of insect loss, halt and reverse them.”

The survey runs from June 1 right up until August 31, and, with the process having now gone digital, it’s easier than ever this year for citizen scientists to do their bit.

First of all, you’ll need to download the Bugs Matter App, which is available for free for both IOS and Android users, and create an account.

Once you’re up and running, you can use the app’s “Virtual Splatometer” within the Bugs Matter App to grab a pic, submitting the photo and details via the app. The more journeys you survey, the better.

Declining numbers of insects have been attributed to lost and damaged habitats, climate change, pesticide use, polluted rivers, and development

Researchers on the survey, which is led by conservation charities Buglife and Kent Wildlife Trust have described insects as being absolutely essential for the environment. Without bugs, human survival on Earth would be at risk.

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