AT 79 the problem isn't one which affects me. It probably won't affect anyone until those youngsters who aren't yet teenagers get older. 

But I have to say that the future of this planet is tilting dangerously, with the decline in the number of insects here having crashed by 76 percent, thus depriving the birds and some mammals of food and decimating them in their turn.

Tell me: when did you last see those pests of your younger days? A wasp? A daddy longlegs? A fly or bluebottle? Bees in any number? Beetles? Centipedes? Grasshoppers? Spiders? Remember those red ants nests which were a real nuisance when they intruded into the house? So far this writer has seen precisely one fly this year.

I'll wager you can't remember last seeing several of these creatures. No. Most of them. When was the last windscreen splatter you saw, in your own car or others? Speaking for myself I've not seen a butterfly or moth all year. My bug total so far is one.

Insects are absolutely critical to ecosystem functioning and services. They pollinate crops, provide natural pest control, decompose waste and recycle nutrients, and underpin food chains that support birds, mammals and other wildlife. Without insects, the planet’s ecological systems would collapse. And this collapse has started.

And yet Defra seems oblivious to this future danger, the effects of the human race on the human race. Because we are responsible for this decline, with our farming methods, our indiscriminate use of pesticides and weed killers, our uprooting of hedges.

The UK seems intent on not so much killing off most of its bugs but just ignoring them and not taking them into account when farming, building, cultivating. Cuckoos and now blackbirds are suffering from this dearth of food. And again, so many of those birds we took for granted back in the 60s are on the red extinction list.

I'm too old to do much to arrest this decline. So I look to schools to stress to the children how valuable these creatures, from many of which we recoil, are to agriculture and the spread of plant life. And to farmers to farm sensitively to the needs of these bugs. Some have made a start. Too many haven't.

It can be done. Due to human action, the number of poppy, buttercup and other wild flower fields has increased, benefiting the bugs and birds enormously.. Roundabouts on main roads are, around here, covered in summer in the most fantastic display of cowslips. Verges and hedgerows are cut back much later than they were. It can be done for the non glamorous members of our bug world. And I hope with all my heart that the grandchildren of today take action before it's too late.

Allan Friswell