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A bug's life makes you happy

A bug's life makes you happy

New research has revealed that being closer to nature makes you 67 per cent happier, but one in six kids (16 per cent) have not seen a single bug in six months. The study marks the launch of Big bugs on tour at intu Derby, which brings adults and children face-to-face with 12 giant British bugs in an effort to reconnect people with nature and make them happier.

The initative by intu is backed by naturalist Chris Packham and features 12 supersized, indigenous bugs including the honeybee, ladybird, hornet, swallowtail butterfly and the nut weevil. It launches at intu Derby on Monday 4 March and will be on display until the beginning of April, before going on tour across other intu shopping centres nationwide.

The intricate and lifelike sculptures will offer local children a unique opportunity to get up close to each mini-beast, discover a range of fascinating facts, and even “talk” to the bugs via text message.

Families will also be able to drop in to a series of insect-inspired storytelling sessions every Saturday throughout March and little ones can learn more about these marvelous minibeasts. The free sessions will take place on level one next to BB’s coffee shop at 10am and 2pm.

The campaign to reconnect kids and adults to nature comes as reports show children are now better at identifying Pokemon characters than British wildlife, despite a £10 million pledge from Government to encourage children to get closer to nature.

The research by intu found that almost four in five parents (78 per cent) want their children to be more connected to nature and 86 per cent think they spend too much time looking at screens, but one in six children in the UK (17 per cent) have not set foot in a park or forest in the last 12 months.

One in five children (21 per cent) were unable to correctly identify a bee while one in four children (25 per cent) have not seen a caterpillar in over a year. One in ten kids (10 per cent) did not know honey came from bees.

Adults were also lacking in their bug knowledge, with one in four (25 per cent) unable to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp and a quarter (25 per cent) unable to correctly identify a grasshopper.

Over a third of adults (35 per cent) of adults say they see far fewer bugs in their gardens now than five years ago with nearly half (49 per cent) saying they are worried about the decline in insects but didn’t know how to help.

Carly Salisbury, marketing manager at intu Derby, comments:

“We know that a closer connection to nature makes people happier and Big bugs on tour is an opportunity to help educate adults and children on the importance of the bugs in their gardens and put a smile on their faces. Millions of people shop at intu centres every year so we hope bringing them face-to-face with these giant British bugs can make a real impact in how they interact and reconnect with nature, and ensure they are happier than when they arrived.

“Not only will local families be able to visit the impressive sculptures, but they’re also invited to join us for a series of drop-in sessions throughout the month where the world of bugs will bought to life, teaching children more about the importance of caring for bugs our own back gardens. We are certain the centre will be buzzing with excitement,” she added.

Naturalist Chris Packham comments:

“We are facing a crisis in our countryside. I didn’t see a single butterfly in my garden last year and more needs to be done to reconnect people with nature and start caring for and realising the importance of the bugs in your backyard. intu’s Big bugs on tour is shining a big magnifying glass on this, and is a fantastic initiative to alert to the importance of nature in our lives.”

The 12 British bugs being exhibited are:

  1. Azure damselfly
  2. Black ant
  3. Honeybee
  4. Hornet
  5. Ladybird
  6. Meadow grasshopper
  7. Swallowtail butterfly
  8. Swallowtail caterpillar
  9. Nut weevil
  10. Rose chafer beetle
  11. Stag beetle
  12. Greater water boatman

10 Facts you didn’t know about the bugs around your garden

  1. A bee’s wings beat 190 times a second, that’s 11,400 times a minute
  2. A ladybird might eat more than 5,000 insects in its lifetime
  3. Grasshoppers existed before dinosaurs
  4. Certain ants can leap seven times the length of their bodies
  5. Butterflies taste with their feet
  6. Caterpillars have 12 eyes
  7. The stag beetle is the largest species of insect to be found in the UK
  8. Damselflies have been on earth for more than 300 million years
  9. A hornet’s favourite food is a…bee!
  10. Greater water boatmen breathe through their bottom!

The report highlighted the importance of being connected to nature for your health and wellbeing with two in three people (64 per cent) saying they feel happier after gardening or doing other green activities while 82 per cent of those involved in the study said a walk in the park makes them feel less stressed.

Big Bugs on Tour is on a nationwide tour of 13 intu shopping centres including intu Derby, intu Trafford Centre and intu Lakeside helping children around the country learn more about bugs. For more information go to         

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