Major article on the disappearance of insects. On the order of 80% over the last 20’years in some places. Remember bug splat on the windshield? Gone. Fireflies? Gone.
Article is a follow-up to this essay from earlier in the year.
We’re turning Earth into a space station.
Came here to say pretty much exactly this. Out of curiosity last summer I checked two different places for the ‘bug & dust’ windshield cleaning fluid I used to buy. No joy. Nolonger required. Sob.
Upside: With the bugs gone, you can now concentrate guilt-free on reaching for glass cleaning perfection. They say a splash of DDT really brings up the sparkle.
Adding a link to this fascinating report from 2012 by the Zoological Society of London.
As of the publication date, there hadn’t been a major study of invertebrate (not just insect) population decline.
Asteroids, schmasteroids. We are going to get blindsided from below by Wormageddon.
This is truly terrifying. Anybody with a basic understanding of food webs or environmental science would be horrified. Why is this not a headline in the news? This has potentially existential impact!
I’m really not looking forward to a world where the only insect left is the cockroach.
Allow me to present a contradictory anecdote! This summer we had more bumblebees than I’ve seen in a long, long time, possibly ever, in the part of Finland where I live. On the other hand, there was a curious lack of wasps – but then again, a lot of people I know complained about there being a surfeit of those, so it was clearly a case of uneven distribution. There were less mosquitoes than usual, but that’s to be expected with such a dry summer. There were also less butterflies than usual, especially early in the summer, but that in turn was because the two previous summers had been unusually cold and wet.
Mosquitoes seem to be thriving as well.
Exactly what I’ve been wondering. Not even BB seems interested.
The OP article is in the NYTimes magazine, and was (as I mentioned) a follow-on from an Op-Ed piece earlier this year. One of the commenters on their website observed that the article had only received a couple hundred comments, telling a key part of the story about why there hasn’t been greater coverage. Lack of understanding of the problem + lack of comprehension of the danger = lack of interest.
I’ve seen that German field data mentioned a few places, but maybe that’s only because I went looking for more info. The LZS paper I linked was the earliest similar thing I could find, aside from primary “asking the questions” research.
I saw a factoid somewhere that a typical moth carries +10,000 eggs. So insects have a “bounce back” ability lacking among, say, pandas. But then again, moths have always had this capability, so maybe it takes that many eggs just to hold populations steady even under optimal conditions.
Another observation on these lines was researchers saying the collection nets were yielding familiar species, but that less common ones seemed to have disappeared. Wasps and the like taking over other niches?
Anyway, for American boingboingers with gardens, here are some resources for planting a pollinator-friendly garden: https://www.fws.gov/pollinators/pollinatorpages/yourhelp.html and http://millionpollinatorgardens.org/
For the users in the UK: https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/plants-for-pollinators and http://www.foxleas.com/ (The latter link also has info about nature gardens in Netherlands and Germany!)
And in case there’s other Finns reading this: https://www.polytys.fi/polyttajat-puutarhassa/vinkkeja-kasvivalintoihin/ and https://puutarha.net/artikkelit/8097/perhospuutarha.htm and https://www.plantagen.fi/hyodyllisten-elainten-houkuttelu-puutarhaan-ja-ulkotiloihin-nain-onnistut
I remember reading about the German study last year and being terrified.
The decline of bellweather species like frogs and bats is a car alarm going off forever; a frantic signal, ignored by almost everyone, that something is seriously amiss at the bottom of the food chain. Europe has started to take steps. There are things America could do if we paid attention and had the willpower, but no, we’d rather work ourselves into a lather with made up stories about chemtrails, the deep state, and reality show presidents.
Keep moving aliens. There’s no intelligence here, and soon there won’t be any life either.
the headlines is global warming, which seems one of the major reasons of the declining of insects.
see linked article above. diversity is in massive decline.
Is there anybody (else) out there?
They ain’t calling it the Eremocene age for nuthin’.
I’m going to rescue a dog from the pound.
I can report that planting native species perennials and shrubs, and dropping pesticide and herbicide use, brings fast and very interesting results.
A very interesting/ galvanizing book on commonsense applications:
That may be. Still, it’s helpful to do what we can – in this case, plant insect-friendly gardens, or engaging in some guerrilla gardening and spreading native plant seeds in unused fields or roadsides and so on.