What's going on News Insects and Invisibility Cloaks Vital to our survival Whether you are a lover or a hater of bugs, you have to admit they’re pretty awesome. Obviously they are vital to the pollination of many of the things we eat, and without them breaking down organic matter, we’d all live in a giant tip – but other than the vital things that they do, there’s loads to be learned from them. Scientists and the military have used insects for years to improve drone technology (albeit for totally different reasons) – the idea of a swarm of drones (replicating flying insects) would take away a lot of the current issues with battery life and storage. Scientists in America have even worked out a way that leafhopper insects could genuinely help to create an invisibility cloak. They sweat out a kind of micro-particle that repels water and reflects light, essentially, which means we’re a step closer to working out how to genuinely become invisible. The problem The problem is, insect populations in some places are declining. In the past 30 years some parts of Germany have seen a 75% reduction for no apparent reason and scientists have said this could well be happening in other places, but as so few species have been identified (in proportion to how many actually exist) many will go extinct before we even knew about them. That’s pretty sad. Insects are vital to our planet and our survival and haven’t managed, like man has, to destroy a huge chunk of their natural habitat by living badly. We can’t afford to lose them. This sums it up perfectly: If you put all humans living on the planet into an imaginary tin like sardines, the tin would be 2km long, wide and high. Amazingly, all the ants in the world would fill a similar-sized tin. Yet, despite their huge numbers, insects such as ants manage to thrive without overwhelming the natural world. Predrag Slijepcevic, Senior Lecturer in Biology at Brunel University London We know a lot about the birds in the Forest of Marston Vale, and a fair amount about the mammals and other species but we definitely could know a lot more about our insect friends. If you’re interested in helping us to do a bug audit at any of our sites, call 01234 762608 or email us.