Patch of the Planet specialises in garden design and eco training in Warrington and the surrounding area

IF you are an insect, it seems to be pot luck whether you are adored or detested by us humans.

Bees have never been more popular, we all love ladybirds, butterflies are celebrated for their beauty and come summer, many of us will actively seek out the sight of a dragonfly soaring over a pond.

No such luck if you are a wasp, a ground beetle, an ant, a fly, a moth, or almost any kind of larvae. Your best course of action, it seems, is to learn to avoid a stamping or a swatting, sharpish.

Now more than ever, the time has come for us to put a stop to this six-legged discrimination.

The first properly global scientific review of the decline in insect populations around the world has just been published and the results are stark.

Insects are declining at a rapid rate around the world.

“It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none,” said the study’s co-author Francisco Sánchez-Bayo.

Does that matter?

You might think that fewer flies and mozzies is a good thing. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

Winsford Guardian:

“If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,” Sánchez-Bayo added.

Insects pollinate our crops for us – meaning they help produce a huge amount of our fruit and vegetables, and they keep a lot of varieties of wild plants going by enabling them to reproduce. Without them, it’s a diet of oats.

By feeding on each other, they also help control pests. Ladybird larvae, for example, are wonderful predators of aphids.

It’s likely with a collapse in insect populations that a few pests will adapt rapidly and dominate.

By breaking down material on the ground, as ground beetles do for example, they also help put organic matter in to the soil, keeping our soil healthy and helping us to grow more food and plants in future.

What’s more many larger animals, like bats, birds and badgers, depend on them for their own dinner. Without them we’ll see a decline in many larger species too

In short, like all wildlife, they are a critical part of the mix. We can’t pick and choose what to keep and what to swat. Take one cog out of the machine and it breaks.

We need to help restore their numbers, now.

How you can help in your own patch

At Patch of the Planet we design gardens that work for people in harmony with nature. Here are a few ways you can help insects in your own garden:

- Garden organically. The wide use of pesticides and the broader use of chemicals on our soil is one of the top reasons for the decline in insects. The charity Garden Organic has everything you need to know.

- Use organic seeds. Seeds grown non-organically can be contaminated with pesticides, which find their way in to the plant, the flower and so the visiting insect.

- Make a wood pile somewhere. The wood will rot down gradually, providing food and a habitat for beetles.

- Grow a wide variety of flower shapes. Different insects have different shaped mouths and need different shaped flowers to feed. A good mix to start would be Yarrow or Sweet Cicely, Heather, Clover, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Campanula, Poppy, Cherry, British Bluebell. Oh, and throw away (or even better, re-purpose) that fly swat!