Some of you may have already seen National
Geographic’s article “You’ll Miss Them When They’re
Gone” which lays out the horrifying decline in insect
biomass over the last few decades. I don’t think any
other photo in this article sums it up better than this
one: in some surveys, insect biomass has collapsed by

This is very worrying news.
Insects are a crucial connection between plants and
the rest of the natural world, and these huge
reductions in their numbers means the stress that
our ecosystems are under is pushing them to
collapse. Now. In this lifetime. Plants need them for
pollination. Birds and mammals need them for
food. If the insects are gone, everything, including
eventually our food production, goes in after them.
The scale of the problem
facing us as the natural world
buckles underneath us can
feel completely

But there is still time.

When I read the article at the
beginning of the pandemic I
started thinking about what I
could do to help. The scale of
the issues affecting insect life,
(primarily the loss of their
natural habitats to human
activity) is overwhelming to
think about... but what if we
started small? That’s tangible.

So I started looking in the
garden of where I was staying.
Rosemary leaf beetle -Chrysolina americana
These very small and very pretty iridescent
beetles are technically pests, but they don’t
do serious harm to their hosts which include
fragrant plants like lavender and rosemary.
So I started looking in the 3x3m
garden at the back of the house.
Some  of these insects are
incredibly beautiful.
Now I appreciate bugs are not everyone’s
bag... and when we talk conservation we
tend to focus on the big “sexy” species,.
But I think insects are flat out amazing!
And they are next to us every day
working their butts off to survive.
These guys* work
especially hard.
*side note; as someone who grew up with bee
hives, I’ve never really understood the British
hysteria around bees, so try NOT to kill them
when you see them. In fact, maybe grow some
bee-friendly flowers to help them out
*I’ve tried my best to identify these correctly but please feel
free to correct me!
Bees aren’t are our only pollinators.
Even “gross” insects like this
Chrysopilus cristatus (Snipe Fly*)
help out.
See the little dots of pollen on the legs???
And of course some
pollinators are very
popular like this Black
Hairstreak Butterfly
(Satyrium pruni)
Of course some insects
are up to no good, like
these aphids. They suck
out the sap from plants
and carry a variety of
plant viruses.
Aphids are popular with ants who milk
them for honeydew. In return the aphids
get protection from the ants. Ants are
proper amazing, they are incredibly
strong and have a fascinating social
Fortunately, aphids have a natural
predator in one of our best-known
insects, the ladybird. Here, a two-
spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata)
hunts down some aphid larvae (the
little black dots).
Not as cute as bees, the wasp is a badass. You’ve no
doubt seen Yellowjackets (Vespula vulgaris) like this
at your picnic, but here it’s feeding on wood to create
pulp for its nest.
Common red soldier beetle
(Rhagonycha fulva)
And of  course all these incredible
insects are part of a huge food chain,
supporting other species like this baby
Cucumber Green Spider (Arianella
Or this European Garden Spider
cleaning out leaf debris from its web.
So to bring this back to this image, this is the
situation we are facing. I hope it can help you get
thinking about what you can do to make a safe
space for these amazing, essential little animals,
and the urgent action we need to help save all

Chris is a photographer and visual storyteller.

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