Activities to bring valuable bug life up close

Sixty per cent of all invertebrate species are declining, the Buglife charity says, but a series of events in the region next week aim to engage a new generation of their protectors.

National Insect Week is raising awareness of bugs among children with a programme of regional events to change the thinking of future generations. Picture: Katherine Rowlinson.
National Insect Week is raising awareness of bugs among children with a programme of regional events to change the thinking of future generations. Picture: Katherine Rowlinson.

There are more than 24,000 known insect species in the UK and National Insect Week, organised by the Royal Entomological Society, will introduce many of the different types to children between June 23-29.

Doncaster-based Dr Luke Tilley, the Society’s outreach director, hopes to inspire fresh interest in careers in entomology - the scientific study of insects.

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“The worth of invertebrates to the ecology of the planet is enormous,” he said. “Insects consist of the majority of our wildlife in this country. We want to raise public awareness of their diversity and how fundamental they are to biodiversity, food science and security, and nature.”

Declining insect populations have largely been attributed to habitat destruction, pollution, climate change and a lack of understanding about the benefits bugs bring.

Dr Tilley added: “There isn’t enough young people coming through to study entomology after school. We need the charismatic species such as the panda as mascots for conservation campaigns but it’s important we have people who are prepared to do the work to establish the complexity of our insects which underpin their existence.”

For listings of National Insect Week events, visit www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk/events