Latest news and blogs on rebugging

Children and bugs – a heady, joyful rebugging mix

I am surrounded by eager faces demanding invertebrate identifications. There is a big moth with red on dark grey markings. I panic as my brain freezes then suddenly recall five spotted burnet moths. *

Here is a gloriously green metallic thick thighed beetle and a plant hopper.. And a sawfly larvae.. a garden spider spiderling…I am just about keeping up.. Phew.

When I was asked by an old colleague, a few wintery months ago, to give a family bug talk in Oxford, it was an easy yes for me. Especially easy as they were including bug hunting activities in a heavenly wildlife spot. Thank you Helen and Low Carbon West Oxford, for the invite and all your magnificent work.

So, I arrive at a stunning, wildlife-filled, ex-cricket ground on my birthday as it happens. Very soon I am having an thrilling time opening a box of treasures – insect sampling kits the wonderful organisers had bought in advance: pooters, nets, even the latest Collins insect ID guide. Treats for me let alone the children.

And those children got the gist of the task so quickly. With their parents and carers, they were soon enthusiastically bug gathering. So enthusiastically that it became necessary to move them from the fabulous meadow into the equally fabulous orchard to ensure minimal wildlife disturbance. This was a nice problem to sort!

Skilled bug sampler with their pooter full of bugs! Credit Hugh Warwick

One sweep with the butterfly nets and a whole range of bugs were caught. Pooters are another gadget entirely – a special glass or plastic container with two tubes attached, one for you to suck in and one to put near small bugs you want to examine. There is a gauze on the sucking end, so you don’t get a mouthful of angry bug. I was astounded by quickly the young children grasped how to manage this gadget. I could not ID fast enough! (See photo above!).

We found spiders, butterflies, moths, plant bugs, hoppers, bush crickets, caterpillars, mayflies and so much more. The sun shone despite doom warnings of rain and thunder. Hedgehog and mammal expert, who also is a great photographer, Hugh Warwick, took photos of the day. It was a good birthday.

Hogacre Common was the 14-acre site for our bug revels and it’s a wonderful community wildlife reserve, created out of a gift of a sports ground and pavilion, by Corpus Christi College in 2011. Annual rent is a jar of honey from the plentiful hives now on the stream lined site. The community have already planted thousands of trees, maintained an orchard, started a fabulous food growing and training site, and created wild areas and meadows to explore. The gorgeous old pavilion is a cafe, using produce from the site.

Every village, borough, town, should have such a resource for wilding ourselves, learning about nature in nature, and having community events rooted in nature.

Rebugging the planet is as much about rebugging attitudes as anything. It’s the chapter in my book that folk often comment on. I feel attitudes are changing and if this day was anything to go by, we have some seriously top-notch bug ambassadors in Oxford. If you live in the area do sign up to the Hogacre newsletters and go to the events and café.

Credit Hugh Warwick

But we need more. Do spread the word. And if you need any more reminders about why I wrote Rebugging, have a watch of this wonderful film by Professor Dave Goulson, the BBC, and Studio Panda.

*I am now quite convinced it was a cinnabar moth😏. hey ho.

Credit Hugh Warwick

Latest news and blogs on rebugging

To mark the Royal Entomological Society’s Insect Week (3), the literary campaign group Writers Rebel (1) launches a stunning short film from environmental writer Jay Griffiths and artist-activist Gaby Solly, drawing attention to crashing insect populations across the globe.

Voiced by Sir Mark Rylance and filmed in the ruins of Tintern Abbey, Almost Invisible Angels2 shows people re-connecting with the tiny creatures that form a threatened link in the food chains we all depend on. Griffiths’ message that “Insects are – truly – the angels” celebrates the bounty that insects bring to us dailyand almost invisibly, and urges us to cherish them. A score composed and performed by folk-singer, and Music Declares Emergency9 activist, Sam Lee7, and violinist Anna Phoebe8, echoes the deep grief and poignant hope present in Rylance’s powerful narration.

Watch the film here:

 (This link will become public on Monday 20/6.) A high-resolution version suitable for screenings is available, on request.

Jay Griffiths, whose books include Why Rebel and Wild: An Elemental Journey, says:

“Imagine if our food were brought to us by dedicated and almost invisible angels. Imagine them flying, effortless and iridescent, with a beauty more extraordinary than any art of ours can ever replicate. Imagine if those mysterious beings worked freely to keep alive almost the entire living world, including birds, animals and ourselves. I wish that everyone who said they believed in angels would actually believe in insects. When I heard about the collapse of insect populations, I cried for three days. I saw in one awful moment a vision of the desolated world, a devastated wasteland.”

Pollution, monocultures, climate change and insecticides have brought invertebrate populations to an unprecedented low in most countries in the world. In Britain, climate disruption and intensive farming have caused a 60% decline in flying insects in just 20 years, and a global report in the journal Biological Conservation says a quarter of insects could be wiped out within just a decade11.

As well as their essential role in wild eco-systems, insects contribute to the pollination of over 80% of the crop species farmed across Europe. And as populations rise and diets change this reliance is growing. According to the University of Reading’s Sustainable Pollinator Services12, in the last 20 years, the area of cultivated land in the UK dependent on insect pollination has increased by 38%. Whereas the loss of key species will affect the yield of particular crops dependent on these specialist pollinators (such as the reliance of field bean production on the long-tongued bumblebee), the general decline in insect biodiversity, alongside mounting stress caused by climate change and resulting global unrest, impacts food security more broadly.

Almost invisible Angels is being released to coincide with Insect Week, an initiative run by the Royal Entomological Society and partner organisations, such as Buglife13, to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to learn and care more about insects. 

Vicki Hird6, Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and the authorof Rebugging the Planet – The Remarkable Things that Insects (and Other Invertebrates) Do – And Why We Need to Love Them More says:

“Hammered by pollution, climate change and lost habitats, insect numbers and diversity are crashing everywhere. From beetles to butterflies, wasps to worms, these angels need everyone to act, to demand far stronger policies, to eat differently, and to re-bug the planet everywhere.”

Almost Invisible Angels isthe latest in a series of collaborative artworks curated by Writers Rebel. Paint the Land2 brings together creative teams to write bold messages on rural and urban landscapes, highlighting the climate and ecological emergency. Previous pieces have included work by Booker prize-winning writer Ben Okri, Costa prize-winning Monique Roffey, and artist-activists Ackroyd and Harvey, Zac Ove and Ebon Heath.

Artist Gaby Solly, member of Culture Declares Emergency10, says:

“I’ve campaigned and protested about environmental destruction since I was a teenager, and I continue to fight now for the future of my children, and for those of all species on our precious Earth. Societies, such as ours in the UK, have become dangerously divorced from nature, and forgetting this crucial interdependence threatens our very existence. I hope that Almost Invisible Angels will help to open hearts and minds, and encourage others to urgently demand radical, regenerative change from those in power, for all our sakes.”

Musician Anna Phoebe, member of Music Declares Emergency, says:

“I found writing the music for this beautiful film an incredibly intuitive process. I wanted the music to reflect the depth and severity of the eco-crisis, grounding the piece in stark reality, but also connecting the viewer to the abundance and beauty of nature, and to the immense importance of these small insects within the expanse of our planet.”

Information for Editors


·       Writer, JAY GRIFFITHS: 07967 692 893

·       Artist GABY SOLLY: 07947577503

·       Entomologist VICKI HIRD: 07903478249

·       Composer ANNA PHOEBE: 07932724483

1.     Writers Rebel aims to galvanise writers and the publishing, literary and creative industries to commit to tell the truth about the emergency, and to inspire readers and the public to take action for social and cultural transformation. Read blogs from A L Kennedy, Zadie Smith, Ed Vulliamy, Sir Simon Schama and many others at, and read Jay Griffiths’ blog on her inspiration for Almost Invisible Angels at

2.     Visit the Paint the Land website for more resources and information about Almost Invisible Angels

and other campaigningartworks: 

3.     Royal Entomological Society- Insect Week

4.     Writer, Jay Griffiths

5.     Artist, Gaby Solly

6.     Entomologist, Vicki Hird

7.     Musician, Sam Lee

8.     Musician, Anna Phoebe

9.     Music Declares Emergency

10.  Culture Declares Emergency

11.  Journal of Biological Conservation:

12.  Sustainable Pollinators Services, University of Reading: