Bugs Matter Volunteer

Take part in this survey to help us understand wildlife declines. Insects are a critical component of our life support system. Without them clean air, water, food and a healthy environment are threatened. We need to act now to understand what is happening to them.

The 2020 survey had to be postponed due to COVID-19.
The Bugs Matter Survey is planned to run again from June 2021 with a new mobile app.
Please feel free to contact us in advance of this date if you have any queries.

Position details




Any Day

Contact details

For enquiries about Nature's Sure Connected and how to volunteer email volunteering@kentwildlife.org.uk

If you would like to be sent a paper copy of the Bugs Matter Number Plate Grid or have any other enquiries about how you can get involved with the Bugs Matter survey contact Alana Skilbeck via email alana.skilbeck@kentwildlife.org.uk 


Why is this important?

The natural world isn’t just something for us to enjoy; it sustains us. The decline of insects puts our very survival and prosperity under threat. Without them clean air, water, food and a healthy environment are threatened. Recent scientific research has shown that in Europe, flying insects have declined by 75%. These are very worrying statistics, not only for insects but also for the huge number of plants and animals (including humans) that depend on insects for food, pollination and other essential functions. In the UK we simply don’t have the data to assess these trends for most insects. Anecdotally many people recall that they used to clean far more squashed insects from their cars in the past, but only butterfly and moth recording schemes provide sufficient long term data to reliably assess trends for British insects. An overall decline in numbers of common butterflies of 46% (as high as 77% for habitat specialist species) and of larger moths of 28% (as high as 40% in the south-east) is a serious cause for concern. We need to act now to understand what is happening to insects more widely and work towards a Wilder Kent.

Through consultation conducted by Kent Wildlife Trust (Nature’s Sure Connected) the conservation community have helped us prioritise four key questions that will help us understand whether landscape-scale conservation is working across Kent and beyond. One of these questions is about ecosystem function and productivity and how this can be measured. By counting the insects that get squished on the number plate of your car, you can help us assess the productivity of ecosystems in Kent.

Our results from last years Bugs Matter survey show invertebrate abundance as measured by splat density was 50% lower in 2019 than in 2004! These are worrying statistics. More data over a number of years will be required to confirm the direction of any trend, however the observed pattern correlates with examples of decline.
2019 Results Report  

How can I help?

You can contribute on any journey you take in Kent between June and September 2020 by counting the number of insects that get squashed on the vehicles number plate. Any journey within Kent will give us valuable data – simply driving to work or school is perfect. Shorter journeys are especially useful and will help us understand the differences in insect numbers in different parts of the county. Ideally each journey should take place in dry weather, as rain may wash insects off the number plate.

Take part in this survey to help us understand wildlife declines and aid us in sustaining our natural world for the future.

Red Polar leaf beetle

What do I do now?

Open the documents below to find out how to take part and be involved in the survey:

The method

Recording form (Spreadsheet)

Recording form (Printable)

Bugs Matter Grid


Bus and Coach company

Local Kent and Medway bus operator Nu-Venture is helping Kent Wildlife Trust to understand wildlife declines. Insects are a critical component of our life-support system. Without them, clean air, water, food and a healthy environment are threatened.
Some of Nu-Venture’s drivers are now completing Bugs Matter Surveys during their spring and summer journeys around Maidstone, Medway and the Weald. Surveys involve cleaning the front number plate before any journey - and at the end placing a grid over the number plate to count the number of squashed bugs.


Alana Bugs matter

With Nu-Venture now running a fully low-emission bus fleet, Norman Kemp, the company’s owner, is keen to promote the company’s green credentials. ‘Developing scientific understanding of the effects of climate change is just one way in which we can all get together to work towards a sustainable future‘, he said. ‘Kent Wildlife Trust is a well-respected local organisation and we are enjoying collaborating on this – it’s a bit of fun with a very serious purpose’.

If you would like to learn more about Nu-Venture please click here

Alana from Kent Wildlife Trust and Chris from Nu-Venture

Hughes Rally Blackpalfrey motor club

The Hughes Rally was first run in 1965 and in more recent times has become a round in the prestigious HRCR National Historic Rally Championship. It is the only event of its type in the south of England and is organised by the Blackpalfrey Motor Club of Kent.



This year, upwards of fifty crews came from all parts of the country in a wide variety of cars, with ages ranging from 14 to 82 years. Entrants were required to cope with 130 miles of challenging navigation and a demanding average speed schedule, with frequent variations, having road safety as the primary consideration. There was another speed aspect however, as entrants were required to drive as fast as possible on the confined trackways of  the Ministry of Defence woodland at Mereworth, and on the more open roads, farm tracks and grassland areas of Hole Park, Rolvenden.


Whilst the teams were unable to complete the Bugs Matter Surveys themselves due to time constraints, they kindly allowed us to complete the surveys on their behalf. Kent Wildlife Trust would like to thank all of the teams who took part in the rally and Blackpalfrey Motor Club of Kent for making it possible.

Are you a company that would like to help?

Want to get you company involved and create some healthy competition for who can collect the most splats? 

Contact keeley.atkinson@kentwildlife.org.uk to get involved.