Creating space for insects

Creating space for insects

Insect home © David Kilbey

Insects have declined by 50% since 1970. Insects play a crucial role in our lives and in wildlife in so many ways that if they were to disappear, life as we know it wouldn't be the same. No matter how much time, space, or resources you have, you can take action for insects.

A recent report commissioned by The Wildlife Trusts in the South of England, ‘Insect declines and why they matter’ clearly demonstrated that our insect populations are drastically declining with potentially far reaching consequences.

Read the report here

Professor Goulson, author of the report, explains that, ‘Insects make up the bulk of known species on earth and perform vital roles such as pollination, seed dispersal and nutrient cycling. They are also food for numerous larger animals, including birds, bats, fish, amphibians and lizards. If we don’t stop the decline of our insects there will be profound consequences for all life on earth.’ Two of the main reasons for this decline are habitat destruction and fragmentation, and use of chemicals.Part of the Trust’s recently published ‘Wilder 2030’ Strategy involves putting nature into recovery and joining the fragmented wild spaces together to form a ‘nature recovery network.’  

Read the strategy here

You may be wondering what we can do about this on an individual scale. There is much that we can do in our own homes, even if we only have space for a window box.


With various estimates of how much of the UK consists of gardens, it’s difficult to come up with an exact figure but we can certainly say that it runs into thousands of acres of land (if not more) and that doesn’t include the many window boxes that exist in urban areas. So, you can see that if we all play a part in this, our combined efforts could really make a difference.


Our combined efforts could really make a difference.

Make space for insects

If you have a small space


  • A pond as small as a sunken washing up bowl can provide a mini-habitat for a number of species.

  • In your window box consider growing plants that are edible to us whilst also providing food for passing insects. You might choose thyme, chives, marjoram or lavender for example.

  • Simply drilling holes into a wooden fence post could offer space for hibernating insects over winter or indeed a nest hole for a solitary bee in spring.

If you have a large space

  • Dig a wildlife pond. This will attract a range of insects and also provide a water source for birds and mammals.
  • If you need some hedging plants for a boundary, consider native species such as hawthorn, dogwood and hazel. These shrubs will provide food and shelter not only for a wide range of insects but also for birds and mammals.

  • Another option would be to leave an area of lawn unmown during the summer to become a wildflower meadow. Even a small patch of wildflowers will be hugely beneficial to passing insects. In fact many of our wildflowers that have traditionally been regarded as weeds are so important to a wide range of insects. Dandelions are one of my particular favourites. Just in the last week, I have seen orange tip butterflies, brimstones, peacocks, solitary bees, bumble bees and honey bees all feeding on dandelion flowers in my garden so just a small patch of dandelions can provide a fabulous source of food for our wonderful pollinators.

  • Create mini habitats in the form of a log pile or compost heap.

So regardless of space, resources, and time, there is something that we can all do to play a part in reversing this terrible decline in insect numbers. Insects are crucial in so many ways, not least in sitting near the bottom of the food chain, providing food for a huge number of bird and mammal species. The human race would be in terrible trouble without insects and the natural world would simply collapse so let’s give them the attention they need and do what we can in our own spaces.

Blashford Wild Days Out Bioblitz Bush cricket

Blashford Wild Days Out Bioblitz Bush cricket © T Standish

Become a citizen scientist

Did you learn something new today? Use this information to identify species at home and help us learn how wild we are.

We need your help to create a baseline of the wildlife we have now so we can track our progress towards a Wilder 2030. Tell us what wildlife you can see from your windows, what visits your balcony and what’s living in your garden. 

How Wild Are We?