BRITAIN'S BIG BUG COUNT
A groundbreaking study of Britain's bug population - involving the use of splatometers - has started.
Thousands of motorists are being armed with the splatometers - a type of carboard grid.
They will use them to count the number of insects squashed on their car number plates after a journey.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds plans to use the information to help build a picture of insect populations across the UK.
The Big Bug Count is being carried out throughout June amid fears Britain's insect life is in decline.
Richard Bashford, RSPB Big Bug Count co-ordinator, said: "Counting can be done on any journey (ideally between 20 and 80 miles).
"Preferably in dry weather, as rain during your journey could wash insects off the number plate.
"Even journeys with no splats provide very useful information."
There are more than 23,000 insect species in the UK which provide food for other animals and are important for pollinating crops and plants.
The reasons why there may be fewer insects around are not yet known - theories include habitat loss and pesticides.