IT'S a bug's life - or rather not in West Yorkshire.
With news of large numbers of wasps and hoverflies across the UK this year, people in West Yorkshire may think the county is swarming with insects.
But the annual Big Bug Count by the Denby Dale office of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds tells another story.
Motorists taking part in the survey "splatted" only one insect every five miles!
The Big Bug Count, the first survey of its kind in the world, asked people to count the number of splatted insects on their vehicle number plate after any journey in June.
Each used a special device called a splatometer.
The idea for the survey was based on the belief that the number of insects squashed on cars has declined in recent years.
Nearly 40,000 people took part in the survey.
A total of 324,814 insects were counted, at an average rate of only one splat every five miles.
RSPB spokesman Margaret Overend said: "The main aim of the survey was to form the baseline against which we can compare results from future years.
"Although the variation in insect numbers across the UK was small, there appears to be a gradual increase in numbers from the south-east of England to Scotland.
"The reasons for this, and the potential consequences for birds, will be the focus of future research."
Many birds depend on insects, either as the main part of their diet or as food for their chicks.
Swallows and house martins are specialist insect- feeders, but seed-eating birds, such as skylarks and house sparrows, also need insects to feed to their young.
Many of these species have declined in recent years. For example, house sparrow numbers have fallen by 65% in the last 31 years.
The reasons why there may be fewer insects are not yet known. Theories include habitat loss and pesticides.
* There are more than 1m known species of insects in the world
* The UK has more than 23,000 insect species. They provide food for other animals and are important for pollinating crops and plants.
* There are about 1m times as many insects on earth as humans. The total weight of all the insects is about 12 times that of the people.
* The hawk moth is the fastest insect flier, with a top speed measured at 33.3mph.
* There are 1,462 recorded species of edible insects.