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gerontocrat

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #50 on: August 04, 2018, 10:53:05 AM »
The madness of the Trump Administration continues, with yet another kick in the guts for the planet.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/04/trump-administration-lifts-ban-on-pesticides-linked-to-declining-bee-numbers

Trump administration lifts ban on pesticides linked to declining bee numbers
Environmentalists say lifting the restriction poses a grave threat to pollinating insects


Quote
The Trump administration has rescinded an Obama-era ban on the use of pesticides linked to declining bee populations and the cultivation of genetically modified crops in dozens of national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted.

Environmentalists, who had sued to bring about the two-year-old ban, said on Friday that lifting the restriction poses a grave threat to pollinating insects and other sensitive creatures relying on toxic-free habitats afforded by wildlife refuges.

“Industrial agriculture has no place on refuges dedicated to wildlife conservation and protection of some of the most vital and vulnerable species,” said Jenny Keating, federal lands policy analyst for the group Defenders of Wildlife.


EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides
 Read more
Limited agricultural activity is authorized on some refuges by law, including cooperative agreements in which farmers are permitted to grow certain crops to produce more food or improve habitat for the wildlife there.

The rollback, spelled out in a US Fish and Wildlife Service memo, ends a policy that had prohibited farmers on refuges from planting biotech crops – such as soybeans and corn – engineered to resist insect pests and weed-controlling herbicides.

That policy also had barred the use on wildlife refuges of neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics, in conjunction with GMO crops. Neonics are a class of insecticides tied by research to declining populations of wild bees and other pollinating insects around the world.

Rather than continuing to impose a blanket ban on GMO crops and neonics on refuges, Fish and Wildlife Service deputy director Greg Sheehan said decisions about their use would be made on a case-by-case basis.

Sheehan said the move was needed to ensure adequate forage for migratory birds, including ducks and geese favored and hunted by sportsmen on many of the nation’s refuges. US interior secretary Ryan Zinke, whose department oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, has made expansion of hunting on public lands a priority for his agency.

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Pmt111500

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #51 on: August 04, 2018, 01:23:37 PM »
Thanks for the info Gerontocrat, it looks like only a madman would bring his cultivated bees anywhere near Trumpistani fields. They do to the bees what Drumpf does to piipl.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 03:33:50 PM by Pmt111500 »
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Forest Dweller

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #52 on: August 04, 2018, 05:02:51 PM »
What do people expect will happen with the pesticides and poisons?
There will be better ones? Cleaner ones?
Industrial society will do without them altogether?
That is not how the industry works.
Ever since it began it has done nothing but destroy.
If one poison is to be proven as damaging the environment in decades of study there are a hundred new ones ready to be marketed.
That is simply factored in the business model of the producers.
Even if a poison is proven as destructive it does not mean it goes away.
DDT is the best known for being banned, it nearly wiped out many species.
It is banned here...we produce it anyway and export it elsewhere instead and then it comes back.
People in countries which have banned DDT still have DDT in their bodies, they have a cocktail of many other poisons in their bodies as well.

Insects, mammals including humans are living in a chemical industrial experimental dump site.
Of course insect populations are going to crash, of course other populations do the same.
One person in this thread mentions several types of poisons he uses for different purposes around the house..he doesn't even know what's in those but he does not want ants...he poisons himself along with them.

How did ants and humans coexist for millions of years without poisons?
Were ants or mites destroying biodiversity including humans and did we make a lucky escape from that by industrial poisons?
Using any type of industrial poison, pesticide, herbicide, fungicide or whatever one calls it is a form of insane criminal activity.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #53 on: August 10, 2018, 02:01:44 AM »
Years ago I served on an agriculture water quality board. We knew then that a pesticide , chlorpyfros, was responsible for rendering one third of all watersheds between Monterey and Carpenteria devoid of insect life. That is the region I was helping to represent but this pesticide is very heavily used all across Calif. and the US. EPA was scheduled to ban it's use but Dow chemical lobbied for it's continued use and the current administration overruled the EPA ban. Everything I hear is about it's negative effects on humans but this crap is deadly to riparian insect populations and the fish that depend on them.
 Good news is that a New York court has ordered the EPA to take chlorpyfros off the market within 60 days. I suppose Dow will try to get the Supreme Court to take up the case but for now we and Calif watersheds have a bit of a victory.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/us/politics/chlorpyrifos-pesticide-ban-epa-court.html




TerryM

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #54 on: August 10, 2018, 08:37:00 AM »
Bruce
It appears as though chlorpyrifos is still used in Ontario.
A twenty mile drive down the river, followed by an outdoor dinner over the water, then a drive home, resulted in no insect deaths on the windshield, 2 houseflies hovering over the dinner table and no other insects or insectivores in evidence.
The days when mosquitoes were rumored to carry off small children are long past, even the annoying insect zappers seem to have gone the way of the dodo.
If 15 years of liberal government couldn't pull the plug on insecticides, there's no chance that the Conservative Clown now running things will even try.
I didn't appreciate the swarms of mayflies, mosquitoes or black flies when they were here, but the silence now is unnerving.
Terry

Gray-Wolf

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #55 on: August 10, 2018, 02:44:58 PM »
Indeed Terry,
Silent Spring this way...........
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Pmt111500

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #56 on: August 11, 2018, 05:20:21 PM »
Indeed Terry,
Silent Spring this way...........

The researcher who was referred in the article regarding mass deaths of mosquitoes in Lapland in some newspapers happens to be an acquaintance of mine. Of course there's quite a lot of hyperbole in some or most of the articles regarding this, of course there are still mosquitoes in Lapland. But this relative drought in Finland and Sweden has affected  the numbers. A Quick survey among FB friends (naturalists, hobbyists, cottagers) states that most do not renember a summer with so few mosquitoes. Horseflies do still quite ok so only some decreases in insectivorous birds might have happened this summer here. (Typos corrected now in the shade)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 06:46:40 PM by Pmt111500 »
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TerryM

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2018, 02:51:08 AM »
I'd somehow forgotten to mention the one insect species that seems to have weathered the current downturn. Tent caterpillars seem to be doing very well, why this should be so I've no idea, but the nests are everywhere.
They used to be considered a terrible pest. Today I'm willing to accept the presence of any bugs that are still surviving.

Terry

sidd

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2018, 06:03:58 AM »
tent caterpillars come by every couple three years. As do bagworms and the rest. I used to spray Bt, but now i mostly wait for the starlings to show up and eat em.

starlings are loud tho ...

sidd

Eli81

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2018, 07:37:47 AM »
I used to see tent caterpillar webs everywhere here in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon when I was a kid.

There has definitely been a decline, around here at least....

Gray-Wolf

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #60 on: August 14, 2018, 04:14:29 PM »
Often the loss of one critter will lead to a blossoming of another. This is not like that with a general decline in all insects appearing to be the norm?
KOYAANISQATSI

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nicibiene

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #61 on: August 27, 2018, 09:01:24 AM »
In our region (upper Erzgebirge >600 m above sealevel) are no wasps this year... I wonder where they are all gone?! Usually in August, if sou have cake, ice, fruits or barbeque outside you have wasps around you. But actually it is completely silent. Ripe plums lie on the ground, a table full of sweet cake...no wasp.  :-[ :'( :o -Additionally we have the worst drought I could remember. Farmers have trouble in getting the cows fed. Grass has stopped to grow.
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bbr2314

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #62 on: August 27, 2018, 09:04:28 AM »
In our region (upper Erzgebirge >600 m above sealevel) are no wasps this year... I wonder where they are all gone?! Usually in August, if sou have cake, ice, fruits or barbeque outside you have wasps around you. But actually it is completely silent. Ripe plums lie on the ground, a table full of sweet cake...no wasp.  :-[ :'( :o -Additionally we have the worst drought I could remember. Farmers have trouble in getting the cows fed. Grass has stopped to grow.
I was battling wasps constantly when staying at Versailles a few weeks ago so perhaps they have decamped for posher pastures?  :o

Pmt111500

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #63 on: August 27, 2018, 01:55:40 PM »
In our region (upper Erzgebirge >600 m above sealevel) are no wasps this year... I wonder where they are all gone?! Usually in August, if sou have cake, ice, fruits or barbeque outside you have wasps around you. But actually it is completely silent. Ripe plums lie on the ground, a table full of sweet cake...no wasp.  :-[ :'( :o -Additionally we have the worst drought I could remember. Farmers have trouble in getting the cows fed. Grass has stopped to grow.
I was battling wasps constantly when staying at Versailles a few weeks ago so perhaps they have decamped for posher pastures?  :o
Second generations have suffered of the drought here too, somewhat. But the lepidopteran fauna has again risen in Finland by at least two species this summer. There were several favorable air flows from eastern central europe, so insects have used these to get to new grounds. Of course the new species are such they cannot survive here, but some of the species introduced 20 to 10 years ago can. Additionally there are expansive movements of species previously seen only on southern coast. Some have spread at least 400 km north of their distribution 10-20 years ago. Hard winters may push them back for a few years but they'll be back almost in no time. The change in climate is very likely the main and only reason in many cases. Some northern species have vanished from the southern coast, but this is harder to note, as they generally manage to live on poorer habitats that are not so well studied.
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gerontocrat

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #64 on: August 31, 2018, 10:07:55 AM »
I am confused.

Evidence abounds on decline in insect populations, BUT...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/30/crop-losses-to-pests-will-soar-as-climate-warms-study-warns
Crop losses to pests will soar as climate warms, study warns
Rising temperatures make insects eat and breed more, leading to food losses growing world population cannot afford, say scientists

Quote
Rising global temperatures mean pests will devour far more of the world’s crops, according to the first global analysis of the subject, even if climate change is restricted to the international target of 2C.

Increasing heat boosts both the number and appetite of insects, and researchers project they will destroy almost 50% more wheat than they do today with a 2C rise, and 30% more maize. Rice, the third key staple, is less affected as it is grown in the tropics, which are already near the optimal temperature for insects – although bugs will still eat 20% more.

Is humankind managing to bump off the insects we need - e.g. pollinating insects, while creating pesticide-resistant insect populations that like to eat our food (i.e. a double-whammy) ?

Or

Is it simply that climate change is encouraging all insect populations to increase, while increased use of pesticides is doing the reverse?
___________________________________________________________
Full article at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6405/916 - pay-walled
« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 10:15:22 AM by gerontocrat »
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Sebastian Jones

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #65 on: August 31, 2018, 08:58:31 PM »
I am confused.

Evidence abounds on decline in insect populations, BUT...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/30/crop-losses-to-pests-will-soar-as-climate-warms-study-warns
......
Quote
Rising global temperatures mean pests will devour far more of the world’s crops, according to the first global analysis of the subject, even if climate change is restricted to the international target of 2C.

Increasing heat boosts both the number and appetite of insects, and researchers project they will destroy almost 50% more wheat than they do today with a 2C rise, and 30% more maize. Rice, the third key staple, is less affected as it is grown in the tropics, which are already near the optimal temperature for insects – although bugs will still eat 20% more.

Is humankind managing to bump off the insects we need - e.g. pollinating insects, while creating pesticide-resistant insect populations that like to eat our food (i.e. a double-whammy) ?

Or

Is it simply that climate change is encouraging all insect populations to increase, while increased use of pesticides is doing the reverse?
___________________________________________________________
Full article at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6405/916 - pay-walled

I find it helpful to consider how global warming can lead to heavier snowfalls and record extent cold snaps....
The apparent contradiction could be resolved if the increases in pests  consisted of those that prefer mono crop agriculture.

TerryM

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #66 on: September 01, 2018, 12:57:11 AM »
Or perhaps laboratory experiments do show that insects metabolism increases as temperatures rises, increasing their need for sustenance, even while field tests show that insect populations are experiencing large die offs, possibly related to pesticide use, seasons changing more rapidly than insect evolution, or insects simply not finding the food they require at one or more of their life stages.


Statements from both studies could be true, although I give more weight to the field studies that agree with my own observations.


Perhaps the survivors do have voracious appetites, but there are so few of them that crop damage is minimal?
Terry

Pmt111500

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #67 on: September 01, 2018, 06:50:21 AM »
Please do consider the possibility the studies on insects are at many times done on more or less natural habitats with little to no incectisides, this would be because elsewhere there isn't much to study. If by chance some insects become resistant to these (pretty much doesn't look like it they do), or the farmer cannot afford or want to use those, the climate change might do a favor for insects as pests.
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Avalonian

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #68 on: September 01, 2018, 09:28:05 AM »
You're missing one thing, gerontocrat. Pests are currently kept in check in most years because they're part of a well-balanced community of herbivores, predators, scavengers, etc. When we see anomalous winters and summers, it knocks the balance out. For example, in 1976, the harsh winter killed off a lot of overwintering predators of small herbivores, which led to a spectacular rise in aphids during the hot summer, before they caught up. Eventually there was a bloom in ladybirds, which then exhausted the aphid supply and started migrating. Boom and bust.

We're killing off large numbers of insects, both 'pests' and others, which means that when the conditions are right for a particular species (e.g., when someone plants a monoculture and the weather's balmy), there aren't enough predators left to keep up with them. Pest have a field day because we're knocking out their enemies, as well as themselves.

I used to do some pest management in museums. In old, non-environmentally sealed environments, I had to keep telling other curators not to go for the bug spray whenever they saw a spider or centipede. They were the only things keeping the carpet beetles and woodworm in check...  ::)

gerontocrat

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #69 on: September 01, 2018, 12:41:16 PM »
You're missing one thing, gerontocrat. Pests are currently kept in check in most years because they're part of a well-balanced community of herbivores, predators, scavengers, etc. When we see anomalous winters and summers, it knocks the balance out. For example, in 1976, the harsh winter killed off a lot of overwintering predators of small herbivores, which led to a spectacular rise in aphids during the hot summer, before they caught up. Eventually there was a bloom in ladybirds, which then exhausted the aphid supply and started migrating. Boom and bust.

We're killing off large numbers of insects, both 'pests' and others, which means that when the conditions are right for a particular species (e.g., when someone plants a monoculture and the weather's balmy), there aren't enough predators left to keep up with them. Pest have a field day because we're knocking out their enemies, as well as themselves.

I used to do some pest management in museums. In old, non-environmentally sealed environments, I had to keep telling other curators not to go for the bug spray whenever they saw a spider or centipede. They were the only things keeping the carpet beetles and woodworm in check...  ::)
"You're missing one thing, gerontocrat.". On this subject, I am sure I am missing a lot more than just one thing. Thanks for the comments.

The monoculture thing is certainly a thought provoker. One thing seems to be known, that a diverse vegetation supports a much greater variety of animal life. Without that, "a well-balanced community of herbivores, predators, scavengers, etc." cannot exist ? The chances for boom and bust increase?

One way or another, my guess it's a case of "tears before bedtime" sooner or later.
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Avalonian

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #70 on: September 02, 2018, 02:31:52 PM »

"You're missing one thing, gerontocrat.". On this subject, I am sure I am missing a lot more than just one thing. Thanks for the comments.

The monoculture thing is certainly a thought provoker. One thing seems to be known, that a diverse vegetation supports a much greater variety of animal life. Without that, "a well-balanced community of herbivores, predators, scavengers, etc." cannot exist ? The chances for boom and bust increase?

One way or another, my guess it's a case of "tears before bedtime" sooner or later.

Yup. Ecosystems are complicated. Make them more simple by knocking out components, and they become less stable. I'm sure there's a Chaos Theory way of phrasing this, involving fewer, increasingly powerful attractors with diminished degrees of freedom, but I ain't clever enough to go there!

cmcgugan

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #71 on: September 04, 2018, 07:17:18 PM »
Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus ) are migrating south along the east shore of Lake Huron in Ontario Canada. For the last few years the migration here seemed to be single butterflies, about 1 per minute at peak.  On a positive note this year there are groups of two to five butterflies travelling together.  We have had a warm wet late summer, so that may be helping them along. They have a long trip to Mexico ahead of them.

kassy

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #72 on: September 26, 2018, 11:59:12 AM »
Common weed killer linked to bee deaths

Honey bees exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, lose some of the beneficial bacteria in their guts and are more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria. Scientists believe this is evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to the decline of honey bees and native bees around the world.

...

Because glyphosate interferes with an important enzyme found in plants and microorganisms, but not in animals, it has long been assumed to be nontoxic to animals, including humans and bees. But this latest study shows that by altering a bee's gut microbiome -- the ecosystem of bacteria living in the bee's digestive tract, including those that protect it from harmful bacteria -- glyphosate compromises its ability to fight infection.
The researchers exposed honey bees to glyphosate at levels known to occur in crop fields, yards and roadsides. The researchers painted the bees' backs with colored dots so they could be tracked and later recaptured. Three days later, they observed that the herbicide significantly reduced healthy gut microbiota. Of eight dominant species of healthy bacteria in the exposed bees, four were found to be less abundant. The hardest hit bacterial species, Snodgrassella alvi, is a critical microbe that helps bees process food and defend against pathogens.
The bees with impaired gut microbiomes also were far more likely to die when later exposed to an opportunistic pathogen, Serratia marcescens, compared with bees with healthy guts. Serratia is a widespread opportunistic pathogen that infects bees around the world. About half of bees with a healthy microbiome were still alive eight days after exposure to the pathogen, while only about a tenth of bees whose microbiomes had been altered by exposure to the herbicide were still alive.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180924174506.htm
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sidd

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #73 on: October 06, 2018, 07:06:32 AM »
Stamets has a plan, rescue bees with mushrooms:

"Years ago, in 1984, Stamets had noticed a “continuous convoy of bees” traveling from a patch of mushrooms he was growing and his beehives. The bees actually moved wood chips to access his mushroom’s mycelium, the branching fibers of fungus that look like cobwebs.

“I could see them sipping on the droplets oozing from the mycelium,” he said. They were after its sugar, he thought. "

"For several virus strains, the extract “reduced the virus to almost nothing,” said Brandon Hopkins, a WSU assistant research professor, another author of the paper."

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/science/how-the-mushroom-dream-of-a-long-haired-hippie-could-help-save-the-worlds-bees/

paper is doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32194-8

open access. read all about it.

sidd

AbruptSLR

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #74 on: October 16, 2018, 05:29:20 PM »
FYI:

Bradford C. Lister and Andres Garcia (2018), "Climate-driven declines in arthropod abundance restructure a rainforest food web", PNAS, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1722477115

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/10/09/1722477115

Significance
Arthropods, invertebrates including insects that have external skeletons, are declining at an alarming rate. While the tropics harbor the majority of arthropod species, little is known about trends in their abundance. We compared arthropod biomass in Puerto Rico’s Luquillo rainforest with data taken during the 1970s and found that biomass had fallen 10 to 60 times. Our analyses revealed synchronous declines in the lizards, frogs, and birds that eat arthropods. Over the past 30 years, forest temperatures have risen 2.0 °C, and our study indicates that climate warming is the driving force behind the collapse of the forest’s food web. If supported by further research, the impact of climate change on tropical ecosystems may be much greater than currently anticipated.

Abstract
A number of studies indicate that tropical arthropods should be particularly vulnerable to climate warming. If these predictions are realized, climate warming may have a more profound impact on the functioning and diversity of tropical forests than currently anticipated. Although arthropods comprise over two-thirds of terrestrial species, information on their abundance and extinction rates in tropical habitats is severely limited. Here we analyze data on arthropod and insectivore abundances taken between 1976 and 2012 at two midelevation habitats in Puerto Rico’s Luquillo rainforest. During this time, mean maximum temperatures have risen by 2.0 °C. Using the same study area and methods employed by Lister in the 1970s, we discovered that the dry weight biomass of arthropods captured in sweep samples had declined 4 to 8 times, and 30 to 60 times in sticky traps. Analysis of long-term data on canopy arthropods and walking sticks taken as part of the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research program revealed sustained declines in abundance over two decades, as well as negative regressions of abundance on mean maximum temperatures. We also document parallel decreases in Luquillo’s insectivorous lizards, frogs, and birds. While El Niño/Southern Oscillation influences the abundance of forest arthropods, climate warming is the major driver of reductions in arthropod abundance, indirectly precipitating a bottom-up trophic cascade and consequent collapse of the forest food web.


See also:

Title: "‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/10/15/hyperalarming-study-shows-massive-insect-loss/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c70784e553bc

Extract: "Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic declines in invertebrate populations. A new report suggests that the problem is more widespread than scientists realized. Huge numbers of bugs have been lost in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, the study found, and the forest’s insect-eating animals have gone missing, too.

In 2014, an international team of biologists estimated that, in the past 35 years, the abundance of invertebrates such as beetles and bees had decreased by 45 percent. In places where long-term insect data are available, mainly in Europe, insect numbers are plummeting. A study last year showed a 76 percent decrease in flying insects in the past few decades in German nature preserves."

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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #75 on: October 17, 2018, 06:50:57 PM »
https://phys.org/news/2018-10-root-long-term-tree-swallow-declines.html

Aerial insectivores—birds that hunt for insect prey on the wing—are declining across North America.

... Cox and her colleagues believe that increasingly unfavorable weather conditions and declines in insect availability may be behind the demographic shifts they found. "I hope that our results will spur more research into the environmental causes of Tree Swallow declines and declines of other similar species. Our research points the finger at poor survival overwinter and poor fledging as the probable demographic causes of population declines," says Cox.
Quote
"It was an incredible opportunity to analyze a dataset that started before I was born," adds Taylor. "Working with these long-term data had an emotional connection for me as a researcher and birder. My own fieldwork on Kent Island took place during the summers of 2014 and 2015, by which time most of the swallow nest boxes on the island were empty. For me, it was sobering to look back through the data and envision those nest boxes full of activity and life."
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Pmt111500

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #76 on: November 14, 2018, 12:46:38 PM »
Flour beetle sperm cells in a simulated heatwave don't do well.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07273-z
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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #78 on: November 18, 2018, 04:16:09 PM »
Some “insect decline” is by design — but the side effects are still significant.

New Smithsonian Study Links Declines in Suburban Backyard Birds to Presence of Nonnative Plants
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Insect-eating birds that depend on the availability of high-calorie, high-protein cuisine — namely caterpillars and spiders — during the breeding season to feed their young are finding the menu severely lacking in backyards landscaped with even a small proportion of nonnative plants, according to a new study from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. This reduction of food availability has led to a decline in the breeding success and population growth of the Carolina chickadee, the study found.

“Landowners are using nonnative plants in their yards because they’re pretty and exotic, they’re easy to maintain, and they tend to have fewer pests on them,” said Desirée Narango, a graduate student researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and first author of the study published Oct. 22 in PNAS. “But it turns out that a lot of those insects they see as pests are actually critical food resources for our breeding birds. For landowners who want to make a difference, our study shows that a simple change they make in their yards can be profoundly helpful for bird conservation.”
https://nationalzoo.si.edu/news/new-smithsonian-study-links-declines-suburban-backyard-birds-presence-nonnative-plants
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dnem

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #79 on: November 18, 2018, 05:09:59 PM »
Some “insect decline” is by design — but the side effects are still significant.

Isn't it ALL "by design"?  How is landscaping with exotics different from other anthropogenic landscape changes, and the overuse of pesticides and herbicides, that are all cumulatively causing the decline?

Sigmetnow

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #80 on: November 18, 2018, 06:23:00 PM »
Some “insect decline” is by design — but the side effects are still significant.

Isn't it ALL "by design"?  How is landscaping with exotics different from other anthropogenic landscape changes, and the overuse of pesticides and herbicides, that are all cumulatively causing the decline?

Valid points.  In this instance, insect decline is not the primary goal (unlike applying chemicals), but a secondary effect, anticipated to be a “benefit,” but which turns out to be a drawback — a common occurance when humans attempt to adjust nature to be more to their liking.
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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #81 on: November 19, 2018, 11:41:43 PM »
Externalaties, Externalaties.
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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #82 on: November 26, 2018, 06:35:50 PM »
South African bees: 'One million die in Cape Town'
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46345127

At least one million bees are suspected to have died of poisoning in a wine-producing area of South Africa.

Brendan Ashley-Cooper told the BBC that an insecticide used by wine farmers, Fipronil, was thought to have killed the insects on his farm. Other honey bee farmers in the area around Cape Town have also been affected, but it is still unclear how many of the insects have died, he said.

Fipronil has been blamed for the deaths of millions of honey bees in Europe. Campaigners say Fipronil is highly toxic to insects, and its use was restricted in Europe in 2013. Fipronil is commonly used to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks but is banned by the European Union for use on animals destined for human consumption, such as chickens.

About 100 of his bee hives, or 35% to 40% of those he owned in the affected areas, had been hit by the disaster, said Mr Ashley-Cooper, the vice-chairman of the Western Cape Bee Industry Association. He estimated this meant between 1-1.5 million bees had been killed.

Both managed and wild bee hives in Cape Town's southern areas had been affected, Mr Ashley-Cooper said. "A week ago we started getting calls that beekeepers were finding dead bees in front of their hives," he added. "A large majority of hives have been affected," Mr Ashley-Cooper said.

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #83 on: November 29, 2018, 11:25:22 AM »
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/magazine/insect-apocalypse.html
When entomologists began noticing and investigating insect declines, they lamented the absence of solid information from the past in which to ground their experiences of the present. “We see a hundred of something, and we think we’re fine,” Wagner says, “but what if there were 100,000 two generations ago?” Rob Dunn, an ecologist at North Carolina State University who helped design the net experiment in Denmark, recently searched for studies showing the effect of pesticide spraying on the quantity of insects living in nearby forests. He was surprised to find that no such studies existed. “We ignored really basic questions,” he said. “It feels like we’ve dropped the ball in some giant collective way.”

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #84 on: December 01, 2018, 12:16:11 PM »
Quote
“It feels like we’ve dropped the ball in some giant collective way.”

Ain't that the truth!  :(

Systems thinking is so important; nothing exists in isolation. A pesticide might work great under test conditions but once spread over huge areas... A crop might grow nicely and without affecting much of anything around it, but once there are millions of square miles of the crop replacing everything else...

edit: Wow, this is really a very good (and worrying) article. I'm almost lost for words.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 01:02:17 PM by josh-j »

vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #85 on: December 08, 2018, 04:30:18 PM »
'It's a Sad Reality': A Troubling Trend Sees a 97% Decline in Monarch Butterflies
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/07/its-a-sad-reality-a-troubling-trend-sees-a-97-decline-in-monarch-butterflies

Quote
In the 1980s, roughly 4.5 million monarchs wintered in California, but at last count, there may be as few as 30,000

... According to the Xerces Society, a conservation organization, in the 1980s between 10 million and 4.5 million monarchs spent the winter in California. The last count, conducted annually by volunteers each November, showed that in 2018 there may be as few as 30,000 across the state – a number that’s 87% lower than just the year before.

Anurag Agrawal, an ecology and evolutionary biology professor at Cornell University, suggests that the butterflies are like the canary in the coal mine. In a blog about his work, he said that because they travel across North America every year, monarch migration can be helpful in determining the “health of our entire continent”. But saving them could require big changes. “We have to take a step back and ask ourselves the harder questions that none of us want to deal with.”He said monarchs are “are exhibiting multi-decadal declines that point to very big systemic problems. We shouldn’t fool ourselves”.

Samantha Marcum, a Coastal Program Regional coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service agrees. “Monarch declines give us a clue to the health of ecosystems across North America and declines are being detected across many other pollinator species as well,” she said.

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Pmt111500

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #86 on: December 08, 2018, 05:12:01 PM »
Monarch decline is hardly surprising.
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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #87 on: December 08, 2018, 06:16:27 PM »
Surprising or not, the loss of those 30,000 survivors in one season would mean the extirpation of the western clade from half the country. They would not return. Ever.

They would be missed.

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #88 on: December 08, 2018, 07:13:51 PM »
Some or perhaps most of this rapid decline in Monarch butterflies can be blamed directly on urban or human sprawl.  Roadways across the mid and south west USA are routinely cleared of vegetation along the sides or shoulders to improve visibility, this includes Milk Weed a primary source of food for Monarchs.  I could be wrong here but I think milk weed could be the only food source for Monarchs at some point in their life cycle. Milkweed is well...a weed, so we keep cutting it down.

https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/monarch-caterpillar-food-milkweed-cuttings/

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #89 on: December 08, 2018, 07:25:47 PM »
Some or perhaps most of this rapid decline in Monarch butterflies can be blamed directly on urban or human sprawl.  Roadways across the mid and south west USA are routinely cleared of vegetation along the sides or shoulders to improve visibility, this includes Milk Weed a primary source of food for Monarchs.  I could be wrong here but I think milk weed could be the only food source for Monarchs at some point in their life cycle. Milkweed is well...a weed, so we keep cutting it down.

https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/monarch-caterpillar-food-milkweed-cuttings/

bligh
Round up ready crops, neonicotinods, clearance of road shoulders, and lastly the drought which has probably had a minor effect. The 30000 left might indeed be dead in few years. Maybe there's enough moisture for milkweed on some organic wine producing farms but they do cut away those as well killing the caterpillars as they go.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #90 on: December 12, 2018, 06:18:05 PM »
European Network of Protected Areas Has Not Been Able To Stop Decline of Butterflies In Germany
https://phys.org/news/2018-12-european-network-areas-decline-butterflies.html

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The Natura 2000 network of protected areas runs across the EU as a conservation network for biodiversity. However, only a few studies have so far analysed whether these refuges actually have a positive effect on species diversity. Using long-term data from the "Butterfly Monitoring Germany" citizens' research project, scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Halle, Germany, and the Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic, have now investigated the matter using butterflies as an example.

... The researchers analysed how butterfly populations have changed between 2005 and 2015. According to the results, at the beginning of this period, an average of more than 19 species fluttered over the transects, but by the end of the period this number had fallen to 17. "This is a significant decline of around ten percent," says Elisabeth Kühn. "And this was observed both inside and outside the protected areas." The Natura 2000 network does not yet appear to have had any effect – at least in the case of butterflies – on its actual task of halting species decline.

Stanislav Rada et al. Protected areas do not mitigate biodiversity declines: A case study on butterflies, Diversity and Distributions (2018)

Bulldozers to Plow Through National Butterfly Center for Trump’s Border Wall
http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2018/12/bulldozers-soon-to-plow-through.html

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Bulldozers are expected to soon plow through the protected habitat of the National Butterfly Center along the Rio Grande to clear the way for President Trump’s border wall, which got a green light from the Supreme Court this week.

Hundreds of thousands of butterflies flit through the center’s 100-acre sanctuary in Mission. But 70 percent of the land will eventually be on the other side the wall, said Marianna Wright, the executive director.

Just like farmers get crop yield in acres and inches, we get butterflies based on what we have planted in acres and inches,” Wright said. “So having a wide swath of our property bulldozed is going to negatively impact the volume of the species and diversity of the species.”

The wall could be up to three stories tall, with 18-foot steel beams, called bollards, rising from a concrete base. Construction through the refuge could start in February.

The high court let stand an appeals ruling that lets the administration bypass 28 federal laws, mostly to protect the environment, to build the wall in the Rio Grande Valley. Some of the laws that were waived include the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Other laws being waived for this construction include the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act and the Clean Air Act.


Climate Change Affecting Insects’ Ability To Evade Predators
http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2018/12/climate-change-affects-insects-ability.html

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Many species have adopted a form of the yellow and black banding commonly seen on stinging insects, which predators such as birds and spiders have learnt to avoid, but now University of Leeds scientists say global warming may compromise that defence.

For the first time, researchers have shown that predators can learn during which seasons they should avoid eating yellow and black striped insects, based on when stinging insects are born and active.

They understand they can target them at other times because they will be non-stinging flies.

Dr Christopher Hassall from Leeds’ School of Biology, who led the study, says the Earth’s temperature is crucial to when insects emerge and, as it warms, stinging insects are emerging first.

“The patterns of hatching we have studied suggest that stinging insects are benefiting from climate change because they are born earlier each year.

"There is less randomness in the cycles than in the past, which benefits stinging insects the most, followed by predators who have learnt the seasons when they can eat or should avoid striped insects, but it helps the ‘mimics’ least.



Christopher Hassall et al. Climate-induced phenological shifts in a Batesian mimicry complex, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018)
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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #91 on: December 13, 2018, 02:58:10 PM »
Study Reveals Striking Decline of Vermont's Bumble Bees
https://m.phys.org/news/2018-12-reveals-decline-vermont-bumble-bees.html

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A new study examining 100 years of bumble bee records reveals that almost half of Vermont's species, which are vital pollinators, have either vanished or are in serious decline.

After conducting the state's most extensive search for bumble bees, and combing through historical records from museum collections, the team has concluded that four of Vermont's 17 bumble bee species appear to have gone extinct

Leif L. Richardson et al. Bumble bee (Bombus) distribution and diversity in Vermont, USA: a century of change, Journal of Insect Conservation (2018)
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jai mitchell

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #92 on: December 15, 2018, 07:01:38 PM »
This black swan of climate change is already here and its impacts cannot be fully gauged. 

The summary presentation by Thom Hartmann from November 30, 2018 has several scientific study references that indicate we have reached a biomass tipping point with cascading failures of the land-based food web.

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vox_mundi

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #93 on: January 02, 2019, 06:10:47 PM »
Fewer Monarch Butterflies are Reaching Their Overwintering Destination

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... The dwindling numbers of overwintering monarchs in the mountains of central Mexico have been the subject of debate among researchers, with some arguing it reflects a large-scale drop in numbers of breeding adults, while others point to increasingly perilous migration as the cause. Now, a new research study "Alternate migration strategies of eastern monarch butterflies revealed by stable isotopes" led by Dr. Hannah Vander Zanden, from the University of Florida, throws another potential explanation into the mix—perhaps the monarchs are simply travelling elsewhere to overwinter, like to the balmy coast of southern Florida.

Dr. Vander Zanden and her team captured and examined monarchs that wintered in South Florida, using a special analytical technique that can pinpoint where the monarchs came from based on a sample of their wing or body tissue. Amazingly, they discovered that half of the monarchs sampled appeared to originate from the American Midwest, which is typically thought to represent the core breeding range of the eastern population. For years, researchers assumed that monarchs from this region only travel to the mountainous region of Mexico each fall. But, this new discovery means that at least some of the Midwestern monarchs are choosing not to fly to Mexico after all, and instead they appear to fly in nearly the opposite direction until they reach southern Florida.

"Previous research had suggested that some migrating monarchs may wind up in southern Florida if they become waylaid by strong westerly winds, but this evidence makes it seem like they purposely travelled to this location," says Andy Davis, noted expert in monarch migration from University of Georgia and editor of the journal. This discovery could bear on the issue of the shrinking overwintering population in Mexico, especially if more of these "alternative" overwintering locations are found.

Open Access: Hannah B. Vander Zanden et al, Alternate migration strategies of eastern monarch butterflies revealed by stable isotopes, Animal Migration (2018)
“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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gerontocrat

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #94 on: January 15, 2019, 12:38:08 PM »
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.”

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #95 on: January 15, 2019, 02:48:46 PM »
Those numbers are scary...and to think that even a relatively untouched rainforest does not escape.

Quote
“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.”

I guess this will also spells trouble for a whole bunch of plants that lose their main pollinators.
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Pmt111500

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #96 on: January 15, 2019, 04:33:34 PM »
Of course Puerto Rico has been slammed by pretty vicious hurricanes, but these shouldn't kill but the creatures in flight or feeding openly during the storm. So species breeding on other season shouldn't be affected.
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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #97 on: January 15, 2019, 07:16:22 PM »
French Court Axes Market Approval of Bayer's Roundup Weed-Killer
https://phys.org/news/2019-01-french-court-axes-bayer-roundup.html

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A French court on Tuesday struck down market approval for the controversial weed-killer Roundup, saying regulators had failed to take safety concerns into account when clearing the widely used herbicide.

... Environmental activists hailed the French decision, noting a 2015 study by a World Health Organization (WHO) agency which concluded that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic."

"It's a major ruling because it should eventually cover all versions of Roundup, as the court determined that all products with glyphosate are probably carcinogens," said Corinne Lepage, a lawyer for the CRIIGEN genetics research institute.
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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #98 on: January 16, 2019, 04:24:21 AM »
Of course Puerto Rico has been slammed by pretty vicious hurricanes, but these shouldn't kill but the creatures in flight or feeding openly during the storm. So species breeding on other season shouldn't be affected.
I was wondering about that myself as I read that article. I recall Maria was so powerful that it stripped the bark off the trees. Could it have been powerful enough to kill off a whole ecosystem  of insects, that simply hasn't had enough time to recover yet?
Of course, Maria's ferocity came as a result of climate change, so the root cause remains the same, but the mechanism is possibly different.

TerryM

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Re: Decline in insect populations
« Reply #99 on: January 16, 2019, 08:05:59 AM »
Monarch butterflies at <.05% of historic levels, and down 85% from last year.

https://xerces.org/2018/11/29/critically-low-monarch-population-in-california/#

As a child the monarchs would darken the sky here in Cambridge Ontario, a few years back they did a count and recorded less than 40 of the beautiful insects. I personally saw but one last year.

Terry