Let’s Count Insects! – Insektensommer 2018

It is a hot Sommer (summer), an besonderer (exceptional) one. But there is also something not that besonders about this Sommer: In general, more and more Germans say: Es gibt immer weniger Insekten (There are fewer and fewer insects). Some claim that they had to start the Scheibenwischer (windshield wiper) to remove all the Insekten from their Frontscheibe a few years ago. Now, they may have just a single Fleck (spot). Aber stimmt das wirklich (but is that really true)? Germans found an außergewöhnliche Art (extraordinary way) to untersuchen (research) that. Zähl’ sie einfach (just count them)!

 Insektensommer 2018

The Naturschutzbund Deutschland (Nature Conversation Association Germany), or NABU wanted to figure out how many insects are truly left in Germany, as there is no good data on this. And instead of just letting Experten (experts) do the work, NABU ruft alle auf (is calling upon everybody) to take eine Stunde (one hour) and to count Insekten. What better way to count them, if not all people in Germany?

The best conditions are if it is sonnig (sunny) and windstill (calm to no wind). That is when Insekten like to come out!

But there are 33,000 Insektenarten ( insect species) known to live in Germany – how do you know which exact one you found? For that, you can use the mobile app Insektenwelt (Insect World), which lets you scan an Insekt to identify it!

The first Zählung (counting) took place 1. – 10. of June this year, and the second is 3. – 12. of August. So that is right now! So you can participate too – as long as you are in Germany, that is. But why not try it elsewhere too? It is a great way to learn about German Insekten, and what we call them! What do we call them? Here are the names of some of the häufigsten (most frequent) Insekten sighted in the first Zählung:

der Asiatische Marienkäfer – Asian ladybug

die Hummel – bumblebee

die Hainschwebfliege – marmalade fly

die Florfliege – lacewing

die Lederwanze – dock bug

Check out the map of the data collected in the first Zählung here!

Ein Asiatischer Marienkäfer! (Image by Vincent van Zalinge at Unsplash.com)

However, the list of Insekten that you should look out for in the current Zeitraum (period) is different. Among others, it includes:

die Blaue Holzbiene – violet carpenter bee

die Blaugrüne Mosaikjungfer – blue dawner/blue hawker

das Grüne Heupferd – green bush cricket

der Schwalbenschwanz – swallowtail

Apart from a fun activity in the warm Sommersonne (summer sun), the Aktion (initiative) also teaches you all about Germany’s Insektenvielfalt (variety of insects).

So, perhaps join the Insektensommer (Insect Summer). After all, as NABU states, it is about zählen, was zählt (to count what counts)!

What do you think of this Aktion? Would/will you join? Is there something similar in your area or country? Let me know in the comments below!

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