The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is a UK-wide citizen science initiative that allows you to get hands-on with nature, whatever your age, background or level of ability.
Take part in the OPAL Bugs Count Survey and discover the incredible variety of invertebrates that make their homes in the UK. The project website provides easy-to-follow survey instructions, straightforward species identification guides and support from community scientists across the UK. To get started, all you need to do is download and print the survey documents available on the OPAL Bugs Count Survey website.
When you're out on a bike trip, bring along the OPAL Invertebrate and Species Quest Identifcation Guides, an old jam jar, a few sheets of white paper and a small magnifier. Find as many bugs as you can in 15 min and keep a special eye out for the six Species Quest bugs, such as the two-spot ladybird or the small tortoiseshell butterfly. The Bugs Count Survey will take between 30 minutes and an hour to complete.
The best time to do this survey is from May to November. You can then submit your observations using the online form on the OPAL Bugs Count Survey website. Your findings will help scientists learn more about the distribution of invertebrates across the country and how the urban environment may be affecting them.