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Author Topic: Decline in insect populations  (Read 26526 times)

kassy

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #100 on: January 20, 2019, 10:16:11 AM »
What 88 Bee Genomes and 10 Years of Studying Apples Tell Us About the Future of Pollinators


The team surveyed bees in 27 orchards in New York for over 10 years, identifying over 8,700 individual bees. We’re not talking domesticated honey bees — they found an amazing 88 different species of wild native bees.

Over those years, they watched the landscapes around the orchards become more and more cultivated. Natural spaces like woodlands were replaced by alfalfa, corn and soybeans. And they saw fewer and fewer bee species in the orchards as the habitat around them disappeared.

Then they sequenced the genomes of all the species to make a phylogeny — an evolutionary family tree — to see how related the different bees were. They learned that the species that disappeared weren’t a random pick from the 88. Instead, the species lost were closely related to one another. Likewise, the species left behind were closely related to one another. Habitat losses had led to entire branches of the tree of life being pruned away — meaning phylogenetic diversity took a major hit.

The researchers estimate that for every 10 percent of land area that gets converted to agriculture, 35 million years of evolutionary history are lost from the bee community.

...

They found that the number of bee species didn’t matter for pollination. But the phylogenetic diversity did. Their giant dataset allowed them to learn that although more agriculture in the landscape decreases both, the latter is what really hurts the fruit. Cutting away whole branches from the tree of life hurts the whole ecosystem.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2019/01/18/bees-diversity-loss-pollinators-death/#.XEQvF1xKjcs
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Klondike Kat

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #101 on: January 22, 2019, 01:01:54 AM »
When decline morphs towards extinction....

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/insect-collapse-we-are-destroying-our-life-support-systems
Quote
Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’

Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished


“We knew that something was amiss in the first couple days,” said Brad Lister. “We were driving into the forest and at the same time both Andres and I said: ‘Where are all the birds?’ There was nothing.”

His return to the Luquillo rainforest in Puerto Rico after 35 years was to reveal an appalling discovery. The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming.

“It was just astonishing,” Lister said. “Before, both the sticky ground plates and canopy plates would be covered with insects. You’d be there for hours picking them off the plates at night. But now the plates would come down after 12 hours in the tropical forest with a couple of lonely insects trapped or none at all.”

“It was a true collapse of the insect populations in that rainforest,” he said. “We began to realise this is terrible – a very, very disturbing result.”....

...“We are essentially destroying the very life support systems that allow us to sustain our existence on the planet, along with all the other life on the planet,” Lister said. “It is just horrifying to watch us decimate the natural world like this.”......

Data on other animals that feed on bugs backed up the findings. “The frogs and birds had also declined simultaneously by about 50% to 65%,” Lister said. The population of one dazzling green bird that eats almost nothing but insects, the Puerto Rican tody, dropped by 90%.....

......Lister calls these impacts a “bottom-up trophic cascade”, in which the knock-on effects of the insect collapse surge up through the food chain.

“I don’t think most people have a systems view of the natural world,” he said. “But it’s all connected and when the invertebrates are declining the entire food web is going to suffer and degrade. It is a system-wide effect.”

I find it rather suspect to conclude that the most likely culprit is global warming, especially considering that the temperature in the study area has actually show a slight decline over the time frame mentioned.

http://luq.lternet.edu/data/luqmetadata16

Bernard

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #102 on: January 22, 2019, 09:47:53 AM »

I find it rather suspect to conclude that the most likely culprit is global warming, especially considering that the temperature in the study area has actually show a slight decline over the time frame mentioned.


I tend to agree. This is just waving over our ignorance. Can't find the reference now, but I read in some article on this topic a scientist saying "there's no obvious smoking gun". If I was researching this subject, I would look closely at the global diffusion of many molecules known as potential endocrine disruptors. Insects behaviour, including mating, relies heavily on chemical signals (e.g., pheromones) acting at very low concentrations, which can be blurred by the presence in the environment of similar molecules. Just an idea.

kassy

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #103 on: January 22, 2019, 02:21:20 PM »
The way they explain it in the article:

“If you go a little bit past the thermal optimum for tropical insects, their fitness just plummets,” he said.

As the data came in, the predictions were confirmed in startling fashion. “The number of hot spells, temperatures above 29C, have increased tremendously,” he said. “It went from zero in the 1970s up to something like 44% of the days.”

The temperature data linked by Klondike Kat only cover the last 26 years of the period. Their old count was 35 years ago (so 1983)

However it is a problem that this is just two snapshots. We don´t know what species started disappearing at which years so all we have left is a scary number.

Then again someone else must have done some insect counting there in all the time in between.
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gerontocrat

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #104 on: January 22, 2019, 02:39:04 PM »
re :- Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’
Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished

Then the question is - will the insect population recover?
If yes, could be the hurricane. Recovery should be quick.
If not, another nail in our coffin.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #105 on: January 22, 2019, 03:27:36 PM »


Daily average by year (for the last 40 years) of minimum, maximum, and average temperature values, in urban and rural locations of the northern coast of the island of Puerto Rico. The solid, broken, and dotted lines represent the projections for minimum, maximum, and average temperatures, respectively. 

Urbanization, Global Environmental Change and Sustainable Development in Latin America. An Introduction
Chapter (PDF Available) · July 2007
Editors: Roberto Sanchez Rodriguez and Adriana Bonilla, pp.7-30
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #106 on: February 10, 2019, 08:28:23 PM »
Plummeting Insect Numbers 'Threaten Collapse of Nature
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

Insect population collapses have recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the review strongly indicates the crisis is global. The researchers set out their conclusions in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper: “The [insect] trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting [on] life forms on our planet.

Quote
“Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” they write. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”



The analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, says intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines, particularly the heavy use of pesticides. Urbanisation and climate change are also significant factors.

“If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,” said Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.

The 2.5% rate of annual loss over the last 25-30 years is “shocking”, Sánchez-Bayo told the Guardian: “It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.”

One of the biggest impacts of insect loss is on the many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that eat insects. “If this food source is taken away, all these animals starve to death,” he said. Such cascading effects have already been seen in Puerto Rico, where a recent study revealed a 98% fall in ground insects over 35 years.

Quote
... “When you consider 80% of biomass of insects has disappeared in 25-30 years, it is a big concern.”

The new analysis selected the 73 best studies done to date to assess the insect decline.



https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320718313636
Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers 
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 12:52:50 AM by vox_mundi »
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Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

gerontocrat

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #107 on: February 10, 2019, 09:51:29 PM »
Plummeting Insect Numbers 'Threaten Collapse of Nature
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.
"Silent Spring" warned us.
So what is going to do for us?
- climate change?
- deforestation?
- pesticides and fertilisers?
- collapse of the ocean web of life?
- pick'n'mix of the above and all sorts of other screw-ups?

And the IPCC system still looks at 2100 when
- the tragedy of the commons will arrive so much earlier,
- the effects will continue for n years, where n has a few noughts on the end of the number.

Shock? Horror?
No. All you have to do is wander through the highways and byways of this forum and there it is for all to see.

"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
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Sebastian Jones

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #108 on: February 10, 2019, 10:38:25 PM »
Plummeting Insect Numbers 'Threaten Collapse of Nature
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.
"Silent Spring" warned us.
So what is going to do for us?
- climate change?
- deforestation?
- pesticides and fertilisers?
- collapse of the ocean web of life?
- pick'n'mix of the above and all sorts of other screw-ups?

And the IPCC system still looks at 2100 when
- the tragedy of the commons will arrive so much earlier,
- the effects will continue for n years, where n has a few noughts on the end of the number.

Shock? Horror?
No. All you have to do is wander through the highways and byways of this forum and there it is for all to see.



The destruction of the holocene climate caused by GHGs is far less easy to see, to intuit, than the destruction of life caused by drenching the land (and our food) with poisons. Yes, Rachel Carson warned us very clearly, but honestly, what kind of idiot really thinks that literally spraying poison on fields and forests is a good strategy for survival? Why do we even need to argue this still? Why are these poisons still even legal?

vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #109 on: February 10, 2019, 11:57:54 PM »
Quote
... And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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kassy

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #110 on: February 11, 2019, 03:06:29 PM »
On the upside not all insects are effected...  ::)

Quote
But researchers say that some species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, are likely to boom.

...

"Fast-breeding pest insects will probably thrive because of the warmer conditions, because many of their natural enemies, which breed more slowly, will disappear, " said Prof Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex who was not involved in the review.

"It's quite plausible that we might end up with plagues of small numbers of pest insects, but we will lose all the wonderful ones that we want, like bees and hoverflies and butterflies and dung beetles that do a great job of disposing of animal waste."

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47198576
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #111 on: February 11, 2019, 05:03:54 PM »
Add scorpions to the list kassy ...

Quote
Brazil's cities provide an excellent habitat for scorpions, experts say. They offer shelter in sewage networks, plenty of water and food in the garbage that goes uncollected, and no natural predators.

... Scorpions, like the cockroaches they feast on, are an incredibly adaptable species. As the weather in Brazil gets hotter due to climate change, scorpions are spreading across the country – including into its colder southern states that rarely, if ever, had reports of scorpions prior to this millennium.

The number of people stung by scorpions across Brazil has risen from 12,000 in 2000 to 140,000 last year, according to the health ministry.

... the species terrorizing Brazilians is the highly poisonous yellow scorpion, or tityus serrulatus. It reproduces through the miracle of parthenogenesis, meaning a female scorpion simply generates copies of herself twice a year – no male participation required.

Each parthenogenesis can spawn up to 20 to 30 baby scorpions.

Brazil's urban scorpion infestation is the result of poor garbage management, inadequate sanitation, rapid urbanization and a changing climate.

It is likely too late to stop the spread of scorpions across Brazilian cities.

https://m.phys.org/news/2019-02-venomous-yellow-scorpions-brazil-big.html

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... Life's a piece of shit,
When you look at it.
Life's a laugh and death's a joke it's true.
You'll see it's all a show.
Keep 'em laughing as you go.
Just remember nature's last laugh is on you.
And...
Always look on the bright side of life.
Always look on the right side of life.
[whistle] ...
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 10:53:56 PM by vox_mundi »
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kassy

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #112 on: February 12, 2019, 01:44:24 PM »
Those scorpions eat cockroaches so they have a bright future ahead...

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rboyd

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #113 on: February 12, 2019, 04:57:56 PM »
So I will need cats for the rodent control and scorpions for the cockroach control. Will just have to remember to look inside my shoes before I put them on.

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #114 on: February 12, 2019, 06:10:22 PM »
I was thinking, "the return of the eurypterids", except we need lots of free O2 for that. I guess I'll just check my shoes more often.  (I grew up with scorpions but rarely checked my shoes, but once when I did check, out came a little yellow fellow.  We had centipedes and black widows, too, but the worst 'neighbors' were discussed in this [functionally unavailable, but 'tags' give a clue] article.)
Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #115 on: February 12, 2019, 09:39:23 PM »
Politicians are Complicit in the Killing of Our Insects – We Will Be Next
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/12/politicians-killing-insects-ecosystems



... Some of the members of the European parliament’s agriculture committee are themselves farmers who have grown increasingly dependent on powerful and toxic pesticides. But others have taken the agribusiness shilling and believe that their role in policymaking is simply to support the corporations that sell these poisons.

... the agrichemical industry is literally writing pesticide assessments that are then presented as the work of regulators.

For example, a recent report exposed how EU regulators based a decision to relicense controversial glyphosate on an assessment plagiarised from industry reports.

Around 50% of some chapters were actually a copy-and-paste job from papers Monsanto and other agrichemical corporates had written.

The European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), based its recommendation that glyphosate was safe for public use on this industry assessment. 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/eu-glyphosate-approval-was-based-on-plagiarised-monsanto-text-report-finds

... Tearing apart the web of life damages us all. Only a farming system that views itself as part of this web has a long-term future.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 01:25:04 AM by vox_mundi »
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magnamentis

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #116 on: February 12, 2019, 11:02:30 PM »
just to remind you that the killing of people in the millions is not next but is an ongoing truth for thousands of years. only because it currently does not happen on big scale where we live does not mean that it does not happen at all.

the biggest killers are our governments and it has been that way for a long time, only that they learned to do it smarter and more often elsewhere and nowadays they first try to "kill" non-conformist's reputation and wealth before they take physical action. nevertheless not much changed and it's not restricted to the declared evil doers, happens where the hypocrites live ;)

in short, we are not only next but are right now and in the past.

vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #117 on: February 14, 2019, 05:07:15 PM »
Germans in Bavaria Rally to Save the Bees
https://www.dw.com/en/germans-in-bavaria-rally-to-save-the-bees/g-47494191

A record 1.75 million Bavarians signed a petition to seek a referendum to "save the bees," a move that could have huge consequences for the German farming industry and environmental protection.

The proposal for a vote to protect species diversity sets a target to have 20 percent of farmland meeting organic standards by 2025, before reaching 30 percent by 2030.

Ten percent of green spaces in Bavaria should also be turned into flowering meadows, while rivers and streams must be better protected from pesticides and organic fertilisers.



-----------------------------------

Border Wall Construction Threatens Texas Butterfly Sanctuary
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/border-wall-construction-threatens-texas-butterfly-sanctuary-180971416/

... U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) designs indicate that the wall will extend to the height of an existing flood control levee next to the Rio Grande river, and be crowned with 18-foot steel posts. CBP also intends to clear a 150-foot “enforcement zone” in front of the wall. Seventy of the National Butterfly Center’s 100 acres will lie south of this new barrier, as will much of the land belonging to the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, which is home to more than 500 bird species, according to Waters.

... the center said that a police officer told them they would not have access to this land, and that the authorities were ordered to stop anyone who tried to set foot on the levee. “Effective Monday morning, it is all government land,” the officer reportedly said.

“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #118 on: February 15, 2019, 03:23:08 PM »
US Judge Rules Against Butterfly Sanctuary Opposed to Trump's Wall
https://m.phys.org/news/2019-02-butterfly-sanctuary-opposed-trump-wall.html
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #119 on: March 07, 2019, 05:59:17 PM »
Improved Regulation Needed as Pesticides Found to Affect Genes in Bees
https://phys.org/news/2019-03-pesticides-affect-genes-bees.html

For the first time, researchers applied a biomedically inspired approach to examine changes in the 12,000 genes that make up bumblebee workers and queens after pesticide exposure.

The study, published in Molecular Ecology, shows that genes which may be involved in a broad range of biological processes are affected.

They also found that queens and workers respond differently to pesticide exposure and that one pesticide they tested had much stronger effects than the other did.

Other recent studies, including previous work by the authors, have revealed that exposure even to low doses of these neurotoxic pesticides is detrimental to colony function and survival as it impairs bee behaviours including the ability to obtain pollen and nectar from flowers and the ability to locate their nests.

Open Access: Thomas J. Colgan, Isabel K. Fletcher, Andres N. Arce, Richard J. Gill, Ana Ramos Rodrigues, Eckart Stolle, Lars Chittka and Yannick Wurm, 'Caste- and pesticide-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticide exposure on gene expression in bumblebees', Molecular Ecology 2019.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #120 on: March 27, 2019, 10:48:42 AM »
Widespread Losses of Pollinating Insects in Britain 
https://phys.org/news/2019-03-widespread-losses-pollinating-insects-britain.html

https://www.ceh.ac.uk/our-science/projects/pollinator-monitoring

... The research, led by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, measured the presence of 353 wild bee and hoverfly species across the country, from 1980 to 2013. It showed one third of species experienced declines in terms of areas in which they were found, while one tenth increased. For the remainder of species, their distribution was either stable or the trend was inconclusive.

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, also showed that on average, the geographic range of bee and hoverfly species declined by a quarter. This is equivalent to a net loss of 11 species from each 1km square.

Overall losses were more notable for pollinator species found in northern Britain. This may be a result of climate change, with species that prefer cooler temperatures reducing their geographical spread in response to less climatically suitable landscapes.

Open Access: Gary D. Powney, Claire Carvell, Mike Edwards, Roger K. A. Morris, Helen E. Roy, Ben A. Woodcock and Nick J. B. Isaac. Widespread losses of pollinating insects in Britain, Nature Communications (2019)

---------------------------

Worrying Long-Term Stability of Pesticides in Honey
https://phys.org/news/2019-02-long-term-stability-pesticides-honey.html

Researchers from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland have developed an ultra-sensitive method to quantify extremely low concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides in honey. This is a follow up to their study on the global contamination of honey by these pesticides published in the Journal Science in October 2017. The authors, which also include colleagues from the Botanical Garden of Neuchâtel, found that these pesticides did not degrade in honey over a period of 40 months. These results were published in the journal Environmental Pollution.

The long-term stability of these molecules is worrying: "if these pesticides are brought back to the hive with nectar, this implies that the entire colony, including the queen, is exposed during its entire life to these neurotoxins", points out Blaise Mulhauser, director of the Botanical Garden of Neuchâtel.

"Likewise, the concentration of these pesticides will be stable over a period of several years also in honey destined to human consumption"

---------------------------

Interior Nominee Intervened to Block Report on Endangered Species   
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/03/26/us/politics/endangered-species-david-bernhardt.amp.html

... Fish and Wildlife Service analysis found that two of the pesticides, malathion and chlorpyrifos, were so toxic that they “jeopardize the continued existence” of more than 1,200 endangered birds, fish and other animals and plants, a conclusion that could lead to tighter restrictions on use of the chemicals.

But just before the team planned to make its findings public in November 2017, something unexpected happened: Top political appointees of the Interior Department, which oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, blocked the release and set in motion a new process intended to apply a much narrower standard to determine the risks from the pesticides.

Leading that intervention was David Bernhardt, then the deputy secretary of the interior and a former lobbyist and oil-industry lawyer. In October 2017, he abruptly summoned staff members to the first of a rapid series of meetings in which the Fish and Wildlife Service was directed to take the new approach, one that pesticide makers and users had lobbied intensively to promote.

Mr. Bernhardt is now President Trump’s nominee to become interior secretary. The Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on his confirmation Thursday.

... A Dow spokesman said the shift in policy was unrelated to the $1 million contribution to Trump’s inauguration committee. 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 11:24:38 AM by vox_mundi »
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gerontocrat

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #121 on: March 27, 2019, 11:42:10 AM »
Quote
malathion and chlorpyrifos, were so toxic that they “jeopardize the continued existence” of more than 1,200 endangered birds, fish and other animals and plants

Top political appointees of the Interior Department set in motion a new process intended to apply a much narrower standard to determine the risks from the pesticides

What is narrower than extinction?
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pietkuip

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #122 on: March 27, 2019, 08:24:47 PM »
But one species is thriving: the European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus). Today it was on the evening tv news here in Sweden: because of last year's heat and drought there are now infestations with this insect that are difficult to contain. It is causing great economic damage in forestry.

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #123 on: March 27, 2019, 09:04:03 PM »
If you want to root for a winner:  Go Bark Beetle!  ("Go Isp typographus!" sounds pretty good to ...)

Americans love a winner, so we join whatever bandwagon is around.
 :'(
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #124 on: April 03, 2019, 09:33:32 PM »
German State to Accept Environmentalists' Bee-Saving Plan
https://phys.org/news/2019-04-german-state-environmentalists-bee-saving.html

The German state of Bavaria is set to accept in large part a plan by environmentalists to save bees and protect biodiversity, averting a referendum on the issue.

In February, backers of the plan collected nearly 1.75 million signatures, over 18% of the region's electorate and enough to force a vote. It would set aside more space to protect imperiled insects and banish many pesticides from a third of Bavaria's agricultural land. ... there would be payments to farmers to cushion the impact.
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josh-j

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #125 on: April 10, 2019, 09:14:38 AM »
Potentially good news there Vox!

By eating less meat and paying farmers to give land over to nature I think we humans can really significantly lessen the burden on insects, indeed on all sorts of creatures. All around where I live is open moorland (see photo), whose only agricultural value is for grazing a small number of sheep - yet those sheep mean there are no trees and very little else for miles at a time. Sheep farming in such areas (Im in the UK by the way) is not profitable and is subsidised heavily by the government; I do wonder whether some farmers might be willing to be paid instead to oversee the restoration of this land?

There seems to be an attachment to preserving things "as they are" in nature orgaisations here, rather than seeing that the land is in a bad state which is not natural.

Trees, birds, animals, insects. It can be done I'm sure. Rewilding needs to happen.

Avalonian

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #126 on: April 10, 2019, 09:42:12 AM »
There is increasing local pressure in Mid Wales for rewilding as well, ideally to create an equivalent to the Caledonian forest. The sheep-wreck covers almost all of the high ground at the moment, and I completely agree with you, josh-j about the concept of subsidising farmers to produce something other than sheep, or at least changing the system radically to allow large chunks of upland to rewild. Something Brexit might (possibly) end up being good for!  :o

One thing to bear in mind for insect diversity is that total forest coverage isn't as good as some might think. I did some surveys for Trees for Life in the Scottish Highlands a few years back, and one of the key points was that it is the mosaic landscape that is insect-rich. Blanket forest is better than blanket moor, but the real diversity comes in where you get sheltered clearings, gradients in temperature and moisture, pockets of different vegetation, and patchiness overall. To keep that, of course, you need a sustainable population of herbivores... and for those to be managed by specialist predators. Part-measure rewilding is only of very limited use, I fear, but when it's done well, there's no reason that it can't work.


vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #127 on: April 10, 2019, 12:51:24 PM »
Quote from: josh-j
... Trees, birds, animals, insects. It can be done I'm sure. Rewilding needs to happen.

I agree. See the article below on China,s effort to integrate nature into commercial agriculture.

Quote from: Avalonian
...  one of the key points was that it is the mosaic landscape that is insect-rich. Blanket forest is better than blanket moor, but the real diversity comes in where you get sheltered clearings, gradients in temperature and moisture, pockets of different vegetation, and patchiness overall.

Exactly. This is a fundamental concept in permaculture - that edges between two environments are the most biodiverse and productive. And maximizing edges - like a mosaic- maximizes biodiversity.

---------------

Cuba's Thriving Honey Business 
https://phys.org/news/2019-04-cuba-worker-bees-boost-honey.html

Shrinking bee populations around the world have caused scientists and conservationists to sound the alarm over the effects of intensive agriculture, disease and pesticides.

But not in Cuba, a Communist-run island nation that has become a kind of apicultural paradise, thanks to the purity of its countryside.

That environmental integrity dates back to Cuba's crippling economic crisis of the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, which once provided the island with thousands of tonnes of pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides.

Deprived of that support, Cuba had no choice but to develop natural alternatives. In the process, it reduced to almost zero the use of chemicals, so harmful to bee populations and the quality of their honey.


Average production is 51 kilograms (112 pounds) of honey per hive, a level considered high. ... some show yields of up to 160 kilos of honey per hive—triple the national average.

... "We don't use any chemicals when fumigating apiaries or weeding," and "no antibiotics"—products that are anyhow hard to come by because of the US trade embargo in place since 1962.

--------------------

Farming for Natural Profits in China 
https://phys.org/news/2019-04-farming-natural-profits-china.html

A new strategy being rolled out in China relies on the idea that farmers can harvest much more than crops. The idea is that well-managed, diverse agricultural lands can provide flood control, water purification and climate stabilization, among other valuable services.

A recent case-study by researchers at Stanford, McGill University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences provide a promising demonstration of this approach—farmers who took environmental concerns into account doubled their incomes and reduced reliance on a single harvest while also gaining environmental benefits from the land. The group said the approach could help farmers worldwide protect both the environment and their livelihoods.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #128 on: April 18, 2019, 09:38:44 PM »
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #129 on: May 01, 2019, 05:41:17 PM »
The Hunger Gaps: How Flowering Times Affect Farmland Bees 
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-hunger-gaps-affect-farmland-bees.html

For the very first time, researchers from the University of Bristol have measured farmland nectar supplies throughout the whole year and revealed hungry gaps when food supply is not meeting pollinator demand. This novel finding reveals new ways of making farmland better for pollinators, benefitting the many crop plants and wildflowers that depend on them.

... "It's not just how much nectar there is that matters, but what time of year that nectar is available.

"If a bumblebee queen comes out of hibernation in March and finds nothing to eat, it doesn't matter how much nectar there is in summer, because she won't be alive."


T.P. Timberlake et al. Phenology of farmland floral resources reveals seasonal gaps in nectar availability for bumblebees, Journal of Applied Ecology (2019).
https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2664.13403
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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bbr2314

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #130 on: June 01, 2019, 10:02:09 PM »
I have returned to Versailles for my annual pilgrimage (RIP Marie). The number of insects here is insane. They are everywhere! In the evening the air is full of life. I don't get out of cities too often so I wonder if this is atypical and due to all the meadows and gardens and flora and fauna in the vicinity, or if it is still normal. The numbers definitely seem much higher than around my neighborhood in Battery Park (Manhattan).

vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #131 on: June 13, 2019, 01:31:50 AM »
Brazil's Bolsonaro Green-Lights 150+ Pesticides This Year
https://www.ecowatch.com/brazil-bolsonaro-pesticides-2636194015.html

With the ruralist lobby now in control of key sectors of the federal government, Brazil is rapidly approving new pesticides for use, some of which critics say are either unnecessary or excessively toxic. During the first 100 days of the Jair Bolsonaro administration, the Agriculture Ministry authorized the registration of 152 pesticides, putting Brazil on course to authorize more pesticides this year than in any previous year. Brazil is already the world's largest user of pesticides.

The number of pesticides authorized each year has risen rapidly, from 139 in 2015 under the Dilma Rousseff administration, to 450 in 2018 under the Michel Temer government (see graph). An even higher number is expected to enter the Brazilian market this year, as the Agriculture Ministry considers registration of roughly another 1,300 pesticides. Most of these requests are coming from foreign multinational companies, mainly based in the U.S., Germany and China, which is increasingly becoming an important supplier.

Despite the rapid rise in authorizations, Bolsonaro's agriculture minister, Tereza Cristina, said "there is no general liberation" of new pesticide registrations. According to her ministry, the products will merely give farmers a greater choice of existing pesticides, and access to new chemicals and there is no reason to be concerned: "The use [of pesticides] is completely safe, provided they are applied as instructed, within a context of good farming practice and with the use of individual protective equipment," said the government.



---------------------------------------

Brazil’s Pesticide Industry Is Creating Massive PFOS Contamination
https://theintercept.com/2019/04/29/brazil-pfos-sulfluramid-pesticide/

WHILE MUCH OF the world struggles to clean up contamination from the toxic industrial compound PFOS, Brazil is still adding to the massive environmental mess with its large-scale production, use, and export of sulfluramid, a pesticide that degrades into PFOS (Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid).

Linked to low birth weight, weakened immune response, liver effects, high cholesterol, thyroid dysfunction, cancer, and other health problems, PFOS is no longer made or used in most countries. The chemical, which was phased out in the U.S. by 2015, was originally developed by 3M and was a critical component of Scotchgard and firefighting foam. In the 182 countries that are party to the Stockholm Convention, an international treaty (unsigned by the U.S.) that governs persistent pollutants, the use of PFOS has been severely restricted since 2009.

But the Stockholm Convention carved out several loopholes for PFOS, including one for its use in killing leaf-cutting ants. Sulfluramid is made from PFOS and breaks down into that and several other chemicals within weeks. Brazil, the only country governed by the treaty that has permission to produce the pesticide, has been able to export it without notifying the convention because the treaty restricts PFOS, but makes no mention of sulfluramid, which is now used widely in Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, and Venezuela, among other countries.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #132 on: June 13, 2019, 10:35:27 PM »
Migratory Hoverflies 'Key' as Many Insects Decline
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-migratory-hoverflies-key-insects-decline.html

Migratory hoverflies are "key" to pollination and controlling crop pests amid the decline of many other insect species, new research shows.

University of Exeter scientists studied the movements of migratory hoverflies and were surprised to find up to four billion migrate to and from Britain each year.

The study shows these numbers have been relatively stable over the last decade, and such abundance means migratory hoverflies pollinate many billions of flowers and produce larvae that eat up to ten trillion aphids.

"They are widely considered to be the second most important pollinators, after bees.

"They are especially important pollinators of wildflowers, soft fruits and brassica crops, and their larvae prey on various species of aphids—which are the key crop pest in Europe.

"This dual role makes them uniquely beneficial to humans."

... "As well as their vital pollinating and aphid-eating roles, migrating hoverflies provide food for a range of predators including birds."



Seasonally Beneficial Migration Distance & Directions

Open Access: Karl R. Wotton, et.al., Mass seasonal migrations of hoverflies provide extensive pollination and crop protection services, Current Biology (2019).

Quote
... We estimate that the contribution to pest aphid control is likely to be in excess of 1 million cereal aphids ha−1 of arable cropland, which is about 20% of typical aphid population densities in fields early in the season when hoverflies first appear.

In addition, species such as E. balteatus visit flowers in very high numbers, rivaling managed honeybees in numerical abundance during the summer (up to 4 billion migrant hoverflies in southern Britain during May–September versus ∼5 billion managed honeybees at peak abundance for the whole of Britain.

Second, long-range migrants have the potential to successfully transport viable pollen between conspecific flowering plants over large spatial scales, which will lead to impacts on gene flow and population genetic structure
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Tom_Mazanec

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« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 11:12:20 PM by Tom_Mazanec »
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #134 on: June 20, 2019, 04:43:38 AM »
Survey Sees Biggest US Honeybee Winter Die-Off Yet 
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-survey-biggest-honeybee-winter-die-off.html

The annual nationwide survey by the Bee Informed Partnership found 37.7% of honeybee colonies died this past winter, nearly 9 percentage points higher than the average winter loss.

The survey of nearly 4,700 beekeepers managing more than 300,000 colonies goes back 13 years and is conducted by bee experts at the University of Maryland, Auburn University and several other colleges.

... Year-to-year bee colony losses, which include calculations for summer, were 40.7%, higher than normal, but not a record high, the survey found.

"The beekeepers are working harder than ever to manage colonies but we still lose 40-50% each year... unacceptable," Swiss bee expert Jeff Pettis, who wasn't part of the survey, said in an email.

This past winter's steep drop seems heavily connected to the mites, vanEngelsdorp said. Beekeepers report that chemicals that kill mites don't seem to be working quite as well and mite infestation is worsening, he said. Those mites feed on the bees' fats and that's where the insects store protein and center their immune response
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #135 on: June 21, 2019, 05:48:57 PM »
Bee Populations In Trouble Following EPA Pesticide Decision
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-bee-populations-epa-pesticide-decision.html

Just a few weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was pulling 12 products off the market that contained pesticides that were harmful to the honeybee. This week, the agency made an emergency exception for nearly a dozen states to use a pesticide called sulfoxaflor on certain crops. Environmental advocates worry about the chemical's harmful impact on bees.

Segraves says, "The release of the Environmental Protection Agency's announcement is ironically timed with 'Pollinator Week". Unfortunately, the new policy will have strong negative impacts on pollinator populations.

"Sulfoxaflor is quite toxic to native bees such as bumblebees that are key pollinators of many native and rare plant species as well as crop plants. Moreover, other pollinating insects and natural enemies of herbivores can also be affected. ... "We should follow the lead of the European Union and ban these chemicals."
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #136 on: June 25, 2019, 06:27:03 PM »
Bad Weather Causing 'Catastrophic' French Honey Harvest
https://phys.org/news/2019-06-bad-weather-catastrophic-french-honey.html

Alarmed French beekeepers and farming groups warned Tuesday of a "catastrophic" honey harvest this year due to adverse weather.

"For honey producers the season risks being catastrophic. Bees are collecting nothing!" French farming union MODEF said in a statement.

"In the hives, there is nothing to eat, beekeepers are having to feed them with syrup because they risk dying from hunger," added the union, which represents many small farms in honey-producing regions.

Henri Clement, secretary-general for the National Union of French Beekeepers (UNAF), said that by June his members had normally harvested 40-50 percent of their annual output, but they had collected very little so far.

He blamed the weather after a highly changeable winter which saw frost in many regions damage acacia trees, which bees like, followed by a rainy spring.

"We've had catastrophic weather conditions," Clement said. "We've been alarmed for a while now about the impact of climate change which is having a major impact on production."

The onset of intense summer heat in France, which could lead to record temperatures being set this week for the month of June, is another source of worry.

“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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bluice

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #137 on: June 26, 2019, 08:58:37 AM »
That must be equally bad for wild bees and other pollinator species.

I wonder how much of the damage to insect populations is in fact caused by climate change related weird weather events. If weather is out of sync with the seasons insects cannot find food.
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kassy

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #138 on: June 26, 2019, 03:00:23 PM »
See reply #840 here where Avalonian posts about the situation in Wales:

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,428.800.html
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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #139 on: July 01, 2019, 09:28:42 AM »
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-insect-apocalypse-german-bug-watchers.html
Quote
"The conclusion is clear," they wrote. "Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades."
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #140 on: July 05, 2019, 06:28:15 PM »
Effect of Insecticides on Damselflies Greater than Expected
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-effect-insecticides-damselflies-greater.html



The latest research from the Leiden outdoor laboratory "Living Lab' shows that the neonicotinoid insecticide thiacloprid strongly influences even the most common and robust dragonfly species in the Netherlands. The study was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Open Access: S. Henrik Barmentlo et al. Environmental levels of neonicotinoids reduce prey consumption, mobility and emergence of the damselfly Ischnura elegans, Journal of Applied Ecology (2019).
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Rod

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #142 on: July 08, 2019, 05:24:39 AM »

vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #143 on: July 09, 2019, 07:32:00 PM »
Russian Officials Raise Alarm Over Bee Deaths
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-russian-alarm-bee-deaths.html

The Russian Agricultural Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that bees have been dying in large numbers in at least seven regions this year. Experts attribute the deaths to a careless and excessive use of pesticides at nearby fields.

Rossiya 1 in a TV report on Monday quoted one farmer outside Moscow who said he had lost 100,000 bees in the past week. The footage showed the ground by the hives covered by a layer of dead bees.

The ministry said that the mass deaths recorded from western Russia to Siberia have had a "substantial financial impact" on beekeeping in Russia but did not provide any figures.

------------------------------

USDA Indefinitely Suspends Honey Bee Tracking Survey as States Get Approval to Use Bee-Killing Pesticide
https://www.rawstory.com/2019/07/usda-indefinitely-suspends-honey-bee-tracking-survey-as-states-get-approval-to-use-bee-killing-pesticide/

On the heels of the EPA’s June approval of a bee-killing pesticide, the White House said it would stop collecting data on declining honey bee populations—potentially making it impossible to analyze the effects of the chemical and the administration’s other anti-science policies on the pollinators.

The number of honey bee hives in the U.S. dropped from about six million in 1947 to just 2.4 million in 2008, with 2018 being the worst year on record for hive loss. Beekeepers reported last year that 40 percent of honey bee hives had collapsed, due to a combination of factors including the use of pesticides.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #144 on: July 10, 2019, 12:23:05 AM »
Decades-Long Butterfly Study Shows Common Species on the Decline
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-decades-long-butterfly-common-species-decline.html

The most extensive and systematic insect monitoring program ever undertaken in North America shows that butterfly abundance in Ohio declined yearly by 2%, resulting in an overall 33% drop for the 21 years of the program.

The data from Ohio enabled population trends to be estimated for 81 butterfly species and found three times as many species were trending downward as upward—three out of every four species with a positive or negative trend grew less abundant over the course of the monitoring. Forty of the analyzed species had no significant trend up or down.

  The rate of butterfly decline in Ohio is greater than the global rate of 35% over 40 years, Wepprich said, and is closer to the estimated rate for insects in general: a 45% decline over 40 years.

Quote
... "These declines in abundance are happening in common species," ... "Declines in common species concern me because it shows that there are widespread environmental causes for the declines affecting species we thought were well adapted to share a landscape with humans. Common species are also the ones that contribute the bulk of the pollination or bird food to the ecosystem, so their slow, consistent decline is likely having ripple effects beyond butterfly numbers."

Findings were published today in PLOS ONE.


  Fig 2. The statewide relative abundance of butterflies (all species aggregated) in Ohio declined by 33% over 1996–2016.

Open Access: Tyson Wepprich, et.al. Butterfly abundance declines over 20 years of systematic monitoring in Ohio, USA, PLOS ONE, 2019
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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dnem

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #145 on: July 10, 2019, 01:46:07 PM »
I have a bucket of watermelon rinds on my kitchen counter.  Four days now and not a single fruit fly. WTAF?

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #146 on: July 10, 2019, 02:29:10 PM »
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/06/cicadas-high-fungi-drugs-won-t-stop-mating?utm_campaign=news_daily_2019-07-09&et_rid=54875624&et_cid=2898708

Cicadas high on fungus drugs won’t stop mating

In a scene fit for a horror film, paperclip-size cicadas sexually transmit a fungus attached to their bodies from one mate to another, sometimes losing parts of their abdomens along the way. Now, new research reveals just how the fungus keeps those cicadas mating, Science News reports. Massospora cicadina, which forms a spore that erupts through the insects’ abdomen, produces the hallucinogen psilocybin and the amphetamine cathinone. These two drugs curb the critters’ appetites, letting them mate over and over again even after losing parts of their bodies, researchers report this week in Fungal Ecology. Scientists plan to next study how the fungus produces the drugs—and whether they influence other aspects of insects’ behavior.

On the streets: word is several large drug company's are in phase one human trials with this
new drug  ;)




 


SteveMDFP

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #147 on: July 10, 2019, 05:44:22 PM »
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/06/cicadas-high-fungi-drugs-won-t-stop-mating?utm_campaign=news_daily_2019-07-09&et_rid=54875624&et_cid=2898708

Cicadas high on fungus drugs won’t stop mating

In a scene fit for a horror film, paperclip-size cicadas sexually transmit a fungus attached to their bodies from one mate to another, sometimes losing parts of their abdomens along the way. Now, new research reveals just how the fungus keeps those cicadas mating, Science News reports. Massospora cicadina, which forms a spore that erupts through the insects’ abdomen, produces the hallucinogen psilocybin and the amphetamine cathinone. These two drugs curb the critters’ appetites, letting them mate over and over again even after losing parts of their bodies, researchers report this week in Fungal Ecology. Scientists plan to next study how the fungus produces the drugs—and whether they influence other aspects of insects’ behavior.

On the streets: word is several large drug company's are in phase one human trials with this
new drug  ;)

A few people are  known to eat cicadas, usually cooked, I think.  I wonder if cicadas will become the new party drug.

vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #148 on: July 11, 2019, 10:38:28 AM »
Lack of Crop Diversity and Increasing Dependence on Pollinators Threatens Food Security
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-lack-crop-diversity-pollinators-threaten.html

A multinational team of researchers has identified countries where agriculture's increasing dependence on pollination, coupled with a lack of crop diversity, may threaten food security and economic stability.   

Using annual data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization from 1961 to 2016, the study showed that the global area cultivated in crops that require pollination by bees and other insects expanded by 137%, while crop diversity increased by just 20.5%. This imbalance is a problem, according to the researchers, because agriculture dominated by just one or two types of crops only provides nutrition for pollinators during a limited window when the crops are blooming. Maintaining agricultural diversity by cultivating a variety of crops that bloom at different times provides a more stable source of food and habitat for pollinators.

Globally, a large portion of the total agricultural expansion and increase in pollinator dependence between 1961 and 2016 resulted from increases in large-scale farming of soybean, canola and palm crops for oil. The researchers expressed concern over the increase in these crops because it indicates a rapid expansion of industrial farming, which is associated with environmentally damaging practices such as large monocultures and pesticide use that threaten pollinators and can undermine productivity.

Particularly vulnerable to potential agricultural instability are Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia, where expansion of pollinator-dependent soybean farms has driven deforestation and replaced rich biodiversity that supports healthy populations of pollinators with large-scale single-crop agriculture (monoculture). Malaysia and Indonesia face a similar scenario from the expansion of oil palm farming.

According to the study, increasing need for pollination services without parallel increases in diversity puts agricultural stability at risk in places like Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Austria, Denmark and Finland.

In the U.S., agricultural diversity has not kept pace with expansion of industrial-scale soybean farming.   

Open Access: Marcelo Aizen, et al., Global agricultural productivity is threatened by increasing pollinator dependence without a parallel increase in crop diversification, Global Change Biology , 2019
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Pmt111500

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #149 on: July 11, 2019, 11:42:14 AM »
Ccd (aka modern insectisides) reach russia: http://www.pravdareport.com/science/142507-bees/
Cooling the outside by heat pump.