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Splatometers at the ready…

Get the kids involved in this citizen science project to measure insect populations
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
The Bug Matters Splatometer on a number plate

The much-anticipated Bugs Matter 2022 is well underway: so far citizen scientists have recorded over 3,000 journeys across the UK.

There’s still time to get involved with the annual national insect survey, led by Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife – and it’s a great activity for kids before the holidays end.

Become a citizen scientist

The data collected provide vital information about the health of our insect populations, and our environment as a whole.

Participation across the four countries of the UK in this vital citizen science project varies 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 31 August, fresh calls are being made to those making car journeys around the UK to become citizen scientists and put their ‘splatometers’ to action.

‘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, so keep going everyone!’

Kent Wildlife Trust

How to get involved

Smartphone users can take part by downloading the free Bugs Matter app from their app stores.

Participants will receive a ‘Splatometer’ through the post but if they want to get started straight away they can download a print-at-home version from Bugs Matter – Buglife.

The concept is simple: before making a journey in a vehicle, clean the number plate and tap ‘Begin Journey’ in the app.

On reaching the destination, count the bugs squashed on a section of the number plate by holding the ‘Splatometer’ grid against the number plate. Take a photo and submit the information via the app.

Bug splats on summer breaks

The summer holidays offer the ideal opportunity to take part in Bugs Matter, with increased travel for short breaks or visits to family.

All journeys provide useful data – long or short, day or night – and no bug splats is just as important as many bug splats!

‘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.  Let’s make every journey count this summer!’


The data collected from these ongoing surveys inform a growing requirement for conservation research, policy and practice targeted at insects in the UK.

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