“TO GET some perspective on the debate about the harm some neonicotinoids used by gardeners are said to do to bees and other pollinators,” says AG editor Tim Rumball, “I asked my mate Steve (pictured) – a maths whiz and writer of computer programmes – to calculate the number of insects UK drivers splatter on all their vehicles in a year. Here’s what he came up with:”

Question: What weight and number of insects is splattered on UK vehicles each year?

There are approximately 34 million vehicles on the UK roads (RAC, 2011).

Let us assume an average frontal area of two square metres.

Let us assume that, over the whole year, we collect only one insect for each ten square centimetres (this feels VERY modest, says a motorcyclist who has to clean his visor regularly!).

Finally, given that a honeybee weighs about a tenth of a gramme, let’s assume an average weight of a tenth of a bee, namely one hundredth of a gramme (again, very modest).

What does that all add up to?

Answer: A square metre is one thousand times as large as ten square centimetres, so the number of dead insects is 34 million times two times 1,000 – which is 68 billion.

Answer: At an average weight of one hundredth of a gramme, that is 680 tonnes of insects splattered on vehicles!

Comment: I suspect that this is an underestimate…

Cheers,

Steve