Twelve custom-made insects will be taking over 13 shopping centres around the UK until September 2019, in an effort to reconnect people with nature.


The exhibition includes a swallowtail butterfly and caterpillar, a stag beetle and a honeybee, and starts at intu Lakeside shopping centre in Essex in early July.

“We are facing a crisis in our countryside,” says naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham, who is supporting the exhibition. “I haven’t seen a single butterfly in my garden this 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.”

The exhibition includes a swallowtail butterfly © Big Bugs on Tour
The exhibition includes a swallowtail butterfly © Big Bugs on Tour

The launch of ‘Big Bugs on Tour’ coincides with new research which found that:

  • 78 per cent of parents want their children to be more connected to nature, and 86 per cent think that children spend too much time looking at screens
  • 17 per cent of children have not been in a part of forest for the last 12 months
  • 21 per cent of children were unable to correctly identify a bee, and ten per cent did not know that honey came from [honey] bees.

“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,” says Roger Binks from intu.

The 12 insects in the exhibition are:

  • Azure damselfly
  • Black ant
  • Honeybee
  • Hornet
  • Ladybird
  • Meadow grasshopper
  • Swallowtail butterfly
  • Swallowtail caterpillar
  • Nut weevil
  • Rose chafer beetle
  • Stag beetle
  • Greater water boatman

Find out when the exhibition is visiting the different shopping centres on the intu website.


Megan ShersbyEditorial and digital co-ordinator, BBC Wildlife

Naturalist and writer