You Clean Fewer Dead Mosquitoes Off Your Windshield Every Year, And That’s Bad News

An app that collects the number of insects that get squashed on cars. It may sound like a joke, but it is the way science has, in the absence of data, of monitor and demonstrate that the decline in insect numbers is of concern.

Bugs Matter‘ encourages British users to record the number of insects that end their last days in their cars and in the process make visible the need to stop this decline, which has been alarming since 2014.

A citizen science survey in the UK found that the number of flying insects squashed on vehicles dropped 58.5% between 2004 and 2021, after drivers counted how many were squashed on their license plates.

“It’s dramatic and alarming,” says Matt Shardlow of Buglife, the charity that has led the work.



To carry out the study -carried out in 2004 and 2021- the participants were asked to clean their license plates and put a grid on them that would serve as the basis for the count.

Later, that data would be dumped into the ‘Bugs Matter’ app, where the number of crushed insects along with the route and the characteristics of the vehicle. By dividing the number of insects by the distance traveled, the researchers arrived at a unit of “splashes per mile.”

Apple Store

App Bugs Matter.

This led to that almost 60% decrease in the number of invertebrates in the last 17 years, a species whose disappearance is critical for the ecosystem, as they explain in the study:

“They pollinate most of the world’s crops, provide natural pest control services, break down organic matter and recycle nutrients in the soil. Without them we couldn’t grow onions, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, most tomatoes, coffee , cocoa, most fruits, sunflowers and rapeseed, and the demand for synthetic fibers would increase because bees pollinate cotton and flax Invertebrates are the base of food chains and provide food for larger animals, including birds, bats, reptiles, amphibians, fish and land mammals”.

According to data collected by New Scientistthe rate of decline is similar to that reported by a 2017 studywhich found a 76% drop in biomass of flying insects in Germany over 27 years.

This decline, especially of beeshas led chains such as Walmart to present a patent of pollinating drones, equipped with tiny cameras to help spot and spot the locations of crops that need to be pollinated.

European Comission

Graphic: European Commission.

And it is that according to data According to the European Commission, four out of five crops and flowers in the EU depend on insects for pollination, a percentage that amounts to 8% of global crop production.

A sad solution to a problem that we have been seeing coming for a long time.

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I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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