'Insect abundance is plummeting with wild abandon, worldwide! Species evolve and go extinct as part of nature’s normal course over thousands and millions of years, but the current rate of devastation is off the charts and downright scary.
Moreover, there is no quick and easy explanation for this sudden emergence of massive loss around the globe. Yet, something is dreadfully horribly wrong. Beyond doubt, it is not normal for 50%-to-90% of a species to drop dead, but that is happening right now from Germany to Australia to Puerto Rico’s tropical rainforest.
Scientists are rattled. The world is largely unaware of the implications because it is all so new. It goes without saying that the risk of loss of insects spells loss of ecosystems necessary for very important stuff, like food production.
Farmland birds that depend upon a diet of insects in Europe have disappeared by >50% in just three decades. French farmland partridge flocks have crashed by 80%. Nightingale abundance is down by almost 80%. Turtledoves are down nearly 80%.
In Denmark (1) owls, (2) Eurasian hobbies, and (3) Bee-eaters, which subsist on large insects like beetles and dragonflies, have abruptly disappeared. Poof, gone!
Krefeld Entomological Society (est. 1905) in Germany trapped insect samples in 63 nature preserves in Europe representing nearly 17,000 sampling days (equivalent to 46.5 years). Krefeld consistently found massive declines in every kind of habitat they sampled. Up to 80% wipeouts.
As for one example, Krefeld data for hoverflies, a pollinator often mistaken for a bee, registered 17,291 hoverflies from 143 species trapped in a reserve in 1989. Twenty-five years later at the same location, 2,737 individuals from 104 species or down 84%. (Source: Gretchen Vogel, Where Have All The Insects Gone? Science Magazine, May 10, 2017)
A shortage of insect pollinators in the Maoxian Valley in China has forced farmers to hire human workers at $19 per worker/per day to replace bees. Each worker pollinates 5-to-10 apple trees by hand per day.'
Read more: The Deathly Insect Dilemma. “It is not Normal for 50%-to-90% of a Species to Drop Dead”
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