Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Flying Insect Populations Have Dramatically Declined, New Study Says

Entomological Society Krefeld entomologists setting up a Malaise trapENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY KREFELD Entomological Society Krefeld entomologists setting up a Malaise trapENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY KREFELD
Carol Daniels | 20 October, 2017, 00:57

"The fact that flying insects are decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an even more alarming discovery", Hans de Kroon, researcher at Radboud University in the Netherlands, said in a news release.

Check out the entire study here.

The researchers based their findings on measurements of the mass of insects caught in traps installed in 63 locations in North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg and Rhineland-Palatinate over the course of the past 27 years. "The big surprise is that it is also happening in adjacent nature reserves".

The researchers found that this dramatic decline was apparent regardless of habitat type, and changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics were not able to explain the overall decline. According to the results, there is a 76 percent decline and mid-summer 82 percent decline in flying insect biomass in the 27 years researchers conducted the study.

Latty says it's particularly worrying that the study recorded the declines in protected areas, meaning that for agricultural or urban areas the trend could be even more pronounced.

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"We don't often think about insects other than 'eww, an insect.' But these are the organisms running the world". According to Caspar Hallmann (Radboud University), who performed the statistical analyses, "All these areas are protected and majority are managed nature reserves". They also suggested "agricultural intensification", including the use of pesticides, increased use of fertilizers and year-round tillage, could be a "plausible cause" for the decline.

Species who rely on insects as their food source - and, up the food chain, the predators which eat these animals - are likely to suffer from these declines. The company works with colonies of bumblebees to pollinate its plants.

Indeed, "ecosystem services provided by wild insects have been estimated at $57 billion annually in the U.S.", the study says, quoting an earlier study. The study provides that 60% of birds need insects for food and almost 80% of plant life relies on them for pollination. "It could be something as simple as growing wildflowers along the edges of fields".

Healthy insect populations are crucial to the functioning of wider ecosystems, ensuring the pollination of flowers amongst others. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse'.

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