Buglife survey shows 28% drop in Scotland’s flying insects

CONSERVATION charity Buglife today reports a 28% plunge in the number of flying insects spotted in Scotland over the past 18 years.

The group’s 2021 Bugs Matter survey involved members of the public recording how many insects they found squashed on their car’s number plates.

Scotland saw the smallest decline, compared with England’s 65% fall and Wales’ 55% decrease.

Yet Buglife warned that “there was no positive news for insects in any of our nations”.

This year’s survey begins on 1 June and runs until 31 August.

Participants can take part by visiting Buglife’s website.


Natalie Stevenson, the charity’s Scotland and Northern Ireland manager, said: “This vital study suggests that the number of flying insects is declining by an average of 34% per decade – this is terrifying.

“We cannot put off action any longer; for the health and wellbeing of future generations, this demands a political and a societal response.

“It is essential that we halt biodiversity decline – now.”

Paul Hadaway, director of conservation at Kent Wildlife Trust, which worked with Buglife on the survey, added: “The results from the Bugs Matter study should shock and concern us all.

“We are seeing declines in insects [that] reflect the enormous threats and loss of wildlife more broadly across the country.

“These declines are happening at an alarming rate and without concerted action to address them we face a stark future.

“Insects and pollinators are fundamental to the health of our environment and rural economies.

“We need action for all our wildlife now by creating more and bigger areas of habitats, providing corridors through the landscape for wildlife and allowing nature space to recover.”

Read more stories about Scotland’s bugs on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.