Here’s Something That Will Really Bug You.
New Studies Reveal Crashing Insect Populations
Etymologists and environmentalist are beginning to sound the alarm about the planet’s disappearing bug population, a phenomenon that has particularly manifested itself over the past generation. While global warming can account for migrations of bug species northward, it does not account for the actual disappearance of large numbers across a wide range of species. While this field of research is just beginning to gather momentum, scientists strongly suspect pesticides combined with monoculture agriculture combined with habitat loss – all part of the same continuum.*
[ According to Jeff Skevington of Agriculture Canada “Insect numbers are way down. It’s a little under the radar from the public perspective, but it’s really high on the radar in terms of research.” ]
Although hard numbers are not available yet, there is simply no doubt that insect populations are way down across Europe and North America. Truly global research will take longer and will be resisted by powerful agriculture interests.
ALARMING STUDY FROM GERMANY: The most recent study flipping the lids of biologists comes from a just-released German report, which confirms a 75% insect population drop over three decades. The data was supplied by Krefeld Entomological Society and covered a wide range of insects, including, wasps, hoverflies and wild bees. The authors suggest that the 82% decline on overall insect biomass must also affect other species, especially birds that feed on them.
In 2012, the Zoological Society of London published a survey indicating significant insect population declines globally. In the US, the survey showed a 30 to 40% drop for honeybees, a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. The Monarch butterfly has seen a decrease of up to 80% since the Nineties, demonstrably because of herbicide driven usage that kills off milkweed, the butterfly’s only food source.
A 2014 study in Science also documented a steep drop in insect and invertebrate populations worldwide. According to lead author Rodolfo Dirzo (Stanford University), the global index showed 45% declines in invertebrate populations.
“Although invertebrates are the least well-evaluated faunal groups within the IUCN database, the available information suggests a dire situation in many parts of the world,” – Rudolfo Dirzo.
CONSEQUENCES: IF FLYING INSECT BIOMASS IS DROPPING 6% PER YEAR…
If these trends hold, we are in even deeper trouble than we already know we are in due to global warming, water scarcity, pollution and over-population.
When the insects die off, so do the birds that eat them, and that trend is already well documented. In Canada, populations of many insect-eaters have crashed, with such species as Swifts, swallows, nighthawks, martins and flycatchers declining to small fractions of their 20th century populations. Bats are also in steep decline in North America.
Insects including flies, moths and butterflies (not just bees) also pollinate flowering plants and crops. Less obvious for the well being of the planet is their role as predators: they control pests and generate decomposition.
*PREDICTION: As this latest evidence of the overall collapse of planetary ecosystems becomes more newsworthy, we predict the following: the same fools who claim that they “wouldn’t mind a little global warming” will applaud the decline of mosquitoes, flies and other “pests”. “I hate mosquitoes!”