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Here's what you can do to help the bugs

According to a recent paper put forward by scientists across various areas of expertise and the globe, appreciation and conservation of insects is now essential for our future survival.

So what can you do to help?

1. Start by becoming an insect ambassador - help others to appreciate just how important these tiny beings are to our and the planet’s well-being. In their paper titled, ‘Solutions for humanity on how to conserve insects’, the 27 scientists lay out how critical this mental shift is for insects and the planet. In short, more insect ambassadors mean more pressure on governments to put insects on the agenda.

Need some fuel for your insect pitch? There are a range of recent books, articles and social media accounts dedicated to the shear awesomeness of insects. These are some of our favourites: Extraordinary Insects by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, Buzz by Thor Hanson, Genesis by Edward O. Wilson.

If you're not an avid reader, follow hashtags like #entomology #insects and #insectsofinstagram for bite sized reads and beautiful images on social.

2. Make space for insects. You can start by devoting a patch of garden or balcony to them. Plant indigenous to support indigenous insect species - indigenous flowering plants will encourage pollinators, and shrubs and creepers will provide refuge for spiders, beetles and other creepy crawlies. Manicured lawns are not insect friendly. Let your grass grow a little longer or consider planting clover. Insects need water: ponds, birdbaths or even a hollow wet stone works just as well. Set up a bug hotel for wild bees and beetles (visit our friends WildBiene + Partner to see their beautiful and smart wild bee home solutions) . (This article explains why small focussed bug hotels are best for bugs). Next, lobby your local council and government to do their bit. Verges can be turned into insect highways and large tracts of land can be dedicated as conservation corridors.

3. Stop using synthetic pesticides/insecticides. Just stop it. These products not only slaughter thousands of insects but seep into our water systems and throw entire ecosystems off balance. (Not to mention that various studies have shown strong relationships between pesticides and cancer in human beings.) By stopping use of pesticides altogether you’ll encourage predator bugs, lizards, frogs and birds back into your garden and home that will keep the pests under control. It takes a little time for nature to rebalance herself though, so be patient. In the mean time, try companion planting in your garden to deter pests and just step on that pesky cockroach. (We won’t tell anyone you did).

4. Become a citizen scientist and help researchers across the globe monitor insects by signing-up to our SPAIA smart insect monitor waiting list. While you wait, SciStarter [Project Finder - SciStarter]( has an extensive list of insect focussed citizen science projects for various ages that you can contribute to - some are global and others are region specific.

5. Support organic and sustainable businesses as much as you can. These conscious businesses are the way of the future, but until more businesses make the transition, these companies fly the flag at a greater cost to their profit margins. Bear this in mind when weighing up the price tags.

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