It’s that time of year when we chase flies around the house in a vain attempt to swat them or hasten their exit through a window or door. With the warmer weather, flying insects find it much easier to enter our homes.
But this year, people are being asked not to kill them, as their numbers are dwindling. A new study revealed that the UK’s flying insect population has fallen by 60% in the past 20 years, YorkshireLive reports.
With this in mind, people are encouraged to show flies, wasps, bees and the like the doorway rather than the underside of a rolled up newspaper. Charities Buglife and the Kent Wildlife Trust discovered the decline after asking people to count the number of bugs splattered on the front of their cars.
According to the Natural History Museum, the data was compared to a similar study from 2004. In England, counts fell by 65%, while in Scotland it was a drop of 28%.
Paul Hadaway, director of conservation at the Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “The results of the Bugs Matter study should shock and worry us all. We are seeing a decline in insects, which reflects the huge threats and loss of animals wildlife more widely across the country.
“These declines are occurring at an alarming rate and without concerted action to address them, we face a bleak future. Insects and pollinators are essential to the health of our environment and rural economies.
“We need action for all of our wildlife now by creating larger and larger areas of habitat, providing corridors through the landscape for wildlife and allowing natural space to recover.”
In the past, netizens have shared their techniques for killing flying insects at home, including traps, electric bats, and sticky tape, or throwing up their cats on them. But faced with such startling numbers, it might be best to chase the flies and wasps outside rather than kill them.
The Natural History Museum goes on to paint a pretty bleak picture of the severity of the effects on our world if we continue to see declining insect numbers: “Insect decline affects all major groups. Over the next few decades, as many as 40% of the world’s species could disappear, including bees, ants and butterflies.
“These insects represent some of the most important pollinators of plants. While plants are pollinated in different ways, insect-pollinated crops such as apples, pears, cucumbers, watermelons and almonds will become much less productive. without pollinators and could fail altogether.
“The impact of the loss of insects goes far beyond our food supplies, as animals such as birds that depend on them for food will also be affected.”
Rather than killing bugs, you can set up a bug house in your garden and stick to real grass rather than synthetic turf. Other tips include mowing the lawn less regularly (because the longer grass provides a haven for more insects) and creating piles of logs for beetles to munch on.