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Jonathan Ross launches National Insect Week at the Museum

The Royal Entomological Society and the Museum began a week of events yesterday to mark the world's extraordinary diversity of insects.

TV presenter Jonathan Ross was in the Museum's Wildlife Garden to launch National Insect Week, which runs from 23-29 June 2014. 

The biennial event celebrates the more than a million insect species that have been discovered and named across the world. This year's theme is 'Little things that run the world'. 

The launch at the Museum included a Question Time-style panel of eminent entomologists, chaired by Ross, answering questions from the public about insect species and their role in the environment.

Ross said he never knew there was so much to learn about insects.

'You might not think insects can be fun but they are! They’re also hugely important and National Insect Week is a great way of improving everyone’s knowledge about them and the role they play in habitats not just in the UK but across the world,' he said.

National Insect Week, now in its sixth year, involves a series of events around the country including bug hunts, minibeast safaris and moth nights. The week ends with a royal bioblitz in the grounds of Highgrove, the private residence of HRH The Prince of Wales and the The Duchess of Cornwall.  

The Royal Entomology Society also launched a photography competition focusing on the theme 'Little things that run the world' yesterday. 

Alastair Driver, National Conservation Manager for the Environment Agency, also partners of National Insect Week, said: 'Not only are insects hugely valuable pollinators, cost-free pest controllers, superb indicators of water quality and the canary in the mine for climate warming, they can also be stunningly beautiful and charismatic.

'It’s time we started valuing them much more than we have in the past.'

Visitors can take part in a week of entomological events at the Museum, which houses the world's largest collection of invertebrates. 

The Museum's National Insect Week programme includes films, displays and specimen handling in the Darwin Centre, as well as hands-on activities in the Wildlife Garden. 

The Museum's identification specialists will also be on hand as usual to help identify any strange bugs brought in or photographed by the public.