OVER the past 20 years, Britain's flying insect populations have declined by a massive 60 percent. This is an extremely worrying trend because insects play a vital role in the ecosystem.

For example, bees moths and butterflies pollinate crops and flowers and without them, bees especially, our crops would actually fail which is an unthinkable scenario. Fewer insects also has a knock on effect throughout the food chain. Hoverfly and ladybird larvae feed on greenfly and their larvae while tiny airborne insects and spiderlings wafting aloft are mopped up by swifts, whose population is also in freefall.

Nature Notes: Wild orchids abound in Britain

Moths and butterflies are also declining. In June, there is a natural lull in butterflies as the spring population is over and the next generation is not yet on the wing. I was hoping to see a revival in July but so far, despite the constant hot weather, sightings of butterflies are few and far between. This is especially noticeable with the white species and so far I've only seen a few. Hopefully the situation will improve as summer wears on.

Nature Notes: Swallows make great parents

What a contrast to my childhood when white butterflies were extremely common and I recall sitting in my parents' garden watching a constant stream of whites fluttering in to feed on nectar-rich flowers. It seems we will never see days like that again.