Insect Decline

Speckled Bush CricketPhoto by Archie Mathison

UK’s flying insects have declined by 60% in 20 years.

The total area of crops treated with pesticides each year in the UK increased by 70% between 1990 and 2016.

“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed 10,000 years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”

E.O. Wilson, American biologist
Silent Spring at 60

Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book ‘Silent Spring’ is nearly 60 years old. In 1962 Carson first drew the attention of the world to the decline of insects and the impact that chemical use in our countryside is having on our wildlife. Today, we are still fighting to protect our nature. Some of the pesticides in use today are thousands of times more toxic to insects than any that existed in 1962.

Rachel Carson
Why are insects declining?
  • Pesticides, including herbicides and fungicides
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation
  • Climate change

For more information check out our Insect Decline info Sheet!

Check out our info sheet!

Black-spotted longhorn beetle (Rhagium mordax)Photo by Elio Lomas


“Man is part of nature, and his war on nature is inevitably war on himself.”

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

How is UK Youth for Nature protecting insects?
  • Celebrating insects and raising awareness – we collected photos of British insects from young naturalists and partnered with Conservation Optimism to display these photos in Oxford Museum of Natural History. Check out some of our entries below!
  • Pushing for political change – We are joining the call for pesticide use in the UK to be reduced by 75% by 2030.
  • Developing resources to support local protection of insects – write to your local council to ask them to stop spraying pesticides or mowing verges. Tell your MP that you are concerned about insect decline. Make a home for insects in your garden. Share our campaign on social media.
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