Your Personalised Number Plates Can Help an Insect Survey with the New Bug Splatter App
Displaying personalised number plates on your car can attract admiring or envious glances. But you might find that insects also find your front plate attractive and end up splattered all over it. However, instead of worrying about keeping your plates clean, you can contribute to a study into the decline of the insect population using a new free app called Bugs Matter.
The app has been launched by the charity Buglife to enable drivers to collect important data. Before taking a drive, you clean your number plate and enter the details of your journey in the app, which will track the time and location of the trip. Afterwards, you use a special grid, dubbed the “splatometer”, to count the number of squashed bugs within the squares. Finally, you upload a photo of the plate to the app where counting software is used to confirm the total.
The older drivers among you will remember having to scrub off large numbers of splattered insects from the windscreen, grille and number plate. After dark, particularly in summer, you would see a myriad of bugs in your headlights, almost like a snowstorm. Now, there are far fewer insects than 20 or 30 years ago, and it’s a cause for concern.
A study conducted in Kent in 2019 that surveyed the bugs on car number plates found a 50% fall in numbers since 2004. A similar survey in Denmark found a drop of 80% between 1997 and 2017.
Andrew Whitehouse from Buglife says, “The falling abundance of flying insects should be a major concern to everybody, as these essential creatures are the small things that run the world. The Bugs Matter app gives everybody the opportunity to take part in essential monitoring that will help us to better understand the health of our insect populations, and our environment as a whole.”
A Bug’s Life
There are 17 times more insects than humans on the planet and they’re essential to our ecosystems. They pollinate plants, recycle natural waste and are an important part of the food chain. The fall in the abundance of insects is mostly attributed to habitat loss and the widespread use of chemicals in the countryside.
The more people that take part in the new study via the Bugs Matter app, the more data that will be available to determine trends in falling insect numbers. The survey runs from 1st June to 31st August and the app can be downloaded from Google Play and the Appstore. So, as well as adding style to your car, your personalised number plates can also be used to help the environment.
Buy Your Personalised Number Plates from CarReg
If you don’t yet have your personalised number plates, you can find your perfect registration in our vast database of available plates. How about showing your insect-friendly side with plates like ‘A4 BUG’, ‘BUG 1S’, ‘K21 BUG’, ‘BEE 600’, ‘F1 BEE’, ‘905 FLY’, ‘FLY 32S’ or MOS 5Y’.