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AGW in general => Consequences => Topic started by: Pmt111500 on October 19, 2017, 12:09:48 PM

Title: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 on October 19, 2017, 12:09:48 PM
A short think between me and a scientist didn't uncover a direct  climate change connection, though. That doesn't exclude could have indirect effects. Potential Habitat reserved for human use, extensive use of pesticides have locked the studied areas in a state of degeneration and splitting the available habitats. Climate change could have effects through poorer nutritional value of co2 induced growth of foodplants and weather. Habitat destruction is easier in secluded small areas. Interesting anyhow.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/18/warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers

<modified title; N.>
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Avalonian on October 19, 2017, 02:35:18 PM
It's a sad state of affairs, this, and there are actually plenty of climate change connections when you start looking...

For example, I'm one of the people monitoring UK Hemiptera species, and we're seeing, on average, four or five new species a year being recorded. We're also getting previous visitors being able to get established, so the total diversity at the moment is actually increasing steadily. There are also changes on a local scale; my area of mid Wales is seeing a lot of new colonists that were previously stuck the other side of the border due to the harsher weather. This has got to be a direct reflection of milder winters, in particular.

The influx of species new to a region has all sorts of knock-on effects, in extreme cases (e.g. the Harlequin Ladybird, or the Elm Bark Borer) having a huge effect on numerous native species. Where a colonist becomes hugely successful, it can knock out some of the ecological buffer systems, leading to boom-and-bust cycles, and unexpected collapses. I'm not sure whether this could result in lower overall insect abundance per se, but it certainly makes the ecology more vulnerable.

The boom-and-bust cycles also result in occasional plagues of aphids, for example, or caterpillars, which are dealt with by farmers in the traditional way: by throwing something toxic at them. This, of course, gets into the local environment, and kills a whole lot more than intended.

A balanced ecosystem, with all its components functioning, is moderately stable and robust to environmental perturbations. An ecosystem with major components suppressed or missing results in more unstable population dynamics, which exacerbates the whole cycle. For example, a small population of caterpillars one year leads to a reduction in their dependent predators; the following year, because the parasitoid wasps have been hit badly and butterflies lay lots of eggs, the caterpillar population booms, and the predators can't keep it under control. So the farmers spray with something extra-nasty, decimating the parasitoids as well as the caterpillars. Rinse and repeat.

I'm sure there are lots of more specific aspects as well. One is changes in weather patterns. In the UK, floods or frost in late April to May are catastrophic for insect populations, because they coincide with flightless larvae; we've had several very bad years. Changes in the plant flowering and budding seasons can also cause problens; last year, for example, I say leaf-feeding insects on a leafless tree, waiting for the buds to burst. Because so many insects are strictly host-specific, a late opening of leaves can result in the population crashing.

There are probably masses more... but insects are extremely sensitive to environmental change. The first clue we had to the rapidity of temperature changes at the end of the last glacial was, I believe, Russell Coope's work on peatland beetles: sub-arctic to Mediterranean faunas in the same place, in a few years. He was soundly laughed at, of course.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat on October 19, 2017, 03:24:00 PM
A previous article in the Guardian looked at the presence of pesticides in honey.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/21/assumed-safety-of-widespread-pesticide-use-is-false-says-top-government-scientist

It is not a big leap to assume that pesticides are present throughout the insect population and maybe inside us.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 on October 19, 2017, 04:58:46 PM
Oh, <Avalonian> hemiptera. I've done local butterfly monitoring for abt 10 years and had moths/butterflies as a hobby every now and then for some 30. The 3-5 year gaps in monitoring could be seen on the records by the variation and pretty steady rises and falls in certain species, so i can somewhat relate. Here's one species which might have some difficulties in finland in 100 years. Might have seen it myself once in 1986? but of course not identified it. And probably still wouldn't, there are just so many groups of insecta around, can't know them all.

Currently my health prevents me from going out much, so I tried last year to monitor nearby very closely. The result was dismal, but that's more of a location issue. Still managed to find two species I didn't see in 1990s when I last lived hereby.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Avalonian on October 20, 2017, 03:20:40 AM
Ah, Chiloxanthus! We've only got one (different) species in the UK, and so far it's eluded me, but I do like saldids. Yes, it's likely to be these ones with very specific requirements that are vulnerable to vanishing... but that's always surprisingly hard to predict. For example, one scarce saldid species in the UK, S. opacula, used to be restricted to a few high-altitude lochans in Scotland, and a couple of southern saltmarshes... but is now appearing much more widely, in brownfield sites and marshlands. Sometimes they just don't do what we'd expect them to.  ???
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: jai mitchell on October 20, 2017, 08:07:43 AM
 :-X
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Alexander555 on October 20, 2017, 10:02:36 AM
Probably many things have an impact. Over here, when we have ants, than we put some poison on them. Otherwise we have hundreds of them in the house the year after. When we have some weed growing between the stones, we put some poison on them. When i was young we had many moles in the garden, and we put smokebomds (poison) in their tunnels.  We killed everything we could to let everything look nice and beautifull. A part of all that airpollution falls on your soil, and with the first rain it's in your soil. And if you look at the number of cars and trucks that are driving on this planet and at the quantities of all kinds of poisons and chemicals that are sold worldwide. Than you know that there are giant quantities of garbage in our soil. They are close to dead. And that brings the question, how many insects needed something that was living in that soil. Because they are all gone now. And the bad news is, little by little all that garbage will find his way to the sea in the next dozens of years. Every time it rains, flows in groundwater will bring it a little closer to the sea. And if you look at that global expansion from the last years, than you know what our sea's are going to get. I fear that many people don't understand how bad we have been for our planet. But they will find out soon.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat on October 20, 2017, 01:40:03 PM
Something to cheer us up for the weekend

"Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown"
George Monbiot

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/20/insectageddon-farming-catastrophe-climate-breakdown-insect-populations
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: sidd on October 22, 2017, 08:49:47 PM
In the Monbiot article there is a link to a 2010 paper that shows insectivorous birds declining in N. America. The evidence is not as clear as the German study, and the time period of the study is much shorter, but it is worth looking at, I think.

http://www.ace-eco.org/vol5/iss2/art1/

sidd
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Avalonian on October 23, 2017, 03:13:49 AM
Thanks Sidd - interesting. I suspect the same pattern is happening all over the developed world, but you need to sample in the right way to see it.

A friend in mid Wales is a 90-year-old moth trapper (recently given up, since he can no longer remember all the names), who has been setting weekly traps for 50 years. Anyone who's run a moth trap knows what to expect nowadays - good nights and bad nights, with the bad nights having almost nothing caught.  What we've all mostly forgotten is what it was like a few decades ago, when he would measure the nightly haul in pounds of moths. On good nights he'd have to run it for a few hours only, or the moths would start dying in the crush. 

That's the level of insect abundance that we've lost... and most of us simply can't remember what it was like. I'm trying hard to persuade him to publish his records...
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: sidd on October 23, 2017, 04:09:37 AM
We have killed all the megafauna, and now our carelessness is killing the microfauna. Not even necessarily through malice, but through careless inattention, and that is an obscenity.

sidd
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Red on October 23, 2017, 11:34:14 AM
We have killed all the megafauna, and now our carelessness is killing the microfauna. Not even necessarily through malice, but through careless inattention, and that is an obscenity.

sidd
Sidd I don't think it was through careless inattention. The big guys (monsanto,gargill etc.) and those before them have been actively seeking poisons to wipe out the microfauna since WW2. If they have to kill all to get one then so be it! Scorched earth of their own making.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: pileus on October 28, 2017, 09:19:08 PM
Small creatures like this are always on the knife's edge of existence, but this one never really had a chance given its geographic range and the multitude of local threats.

Florida's most endangered butterfly may not have survived Hurricane Irma

http://www.placead.tampabay.com/news/environment/wildlife/floridas-most-endangered-butterfly-may-not-have-survived-hurricane-irma/2342661

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: TerryM on October 28, 2017, 09:43:13 PM
In the 1950's I could go to our property line, clap my hands loudly over a vast field of milkweed, and watch the sky darkened as the Monarch butterflies arose in mass.
A few years ago a butterfly count in the same area found less than triple digits of Monarchs for the season.
They're planting milkweed on a slope a mile or so away in an effort to bring the butterflies back, but the results have been disappointing.
Terry
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Shared Humanity on October 28, 2017, 09:51:26 PM
We have killed all the megafauna, and now our carelessness is killing the microfauna. Not even necessarily through malice, but through careless inattention, and that is an obscenity.

sidd
Sidd I don't think it was through careless inattention. The big guys (monsanto,gargill etc.) and those before them have been actively seeking poisons to wipe out the microfauna since WW2. If they have to kill all to get one then so be it! Scorched earth of their own making.

And the forecast for the killing insect business is rosy as the range for insects spreads north due to global warming. Rollins, Inc. which holds Orkin as a wholly owned subsidiary is forecasting double digit growth in the business and their stock has been on a steady climb for a decade.

Poisoning shit is big business and getting bigger.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: pileus on October 28, 2017, 10:32:19 PM
In the 1950's I could go to our property line, clap my hands loudly over a vast field of milkweed, and watch the sky darkened as the Monarch butterflies arose in mass.
A few years ago a butterfly count in the same area found less than triple digits of Monarchs for the season.
They're planting milkweed on a slope a mile or so away in an effort to bring the butterflies back, but the results have been disappointing.
Terry

As a kid in the 70s I remember early summer drives through rural Maryland and Pennsylvania at dusk, and being amazed at the thick swarms of fireflies lighting up the farmland and fields.  It was magical. Took the same drive a few years ago and didn't see evidence of even one.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: TerryM on October 28, 2017, 11:15:28 PM
In the 1950's I could go to our property line, clap my hands loudly over a vast field of milkweed, and watch the sky darkened as the Monarch butterflies arose in mass.
A few years ago a butterfly count in the same area found less than triple digits of Monarchs for the season.
They're planting milkweed on a slope a mile or so away in an effort to bring the butterflies back, but the results have been disappointing.
Terry

As a kid in the 70s I remember early summer drives through rural Maryland and Pennsylvania at dusk, and being amazed at the thick swarms of fireflies lighting up the farmland and fields.  It was magical. Took the same drive a few years ago and didn't see evidence of even one.


Now that you mention it, I've not seen one firefly since returning to Ontario in 2004.


Slightly OT, but does anyone know what happened to the huge flocks of starlings that were such a problem in the 50's?
Terry
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: pileus on October 29, 2017, 01:27:38 AM
There are plenty of topics about humans persisting and surviving the deepening climate crisis, but what kind of world is worth living in that has lost much of its mega and microfauna, and is dominated by AI, rats, coackroaches, and jellyfish? Maybe a bit hyperbolic as spiders and ants have quite the net biomass, but it's really hard to see the appeal of Earth without all the other creatures, large and small.  It's ironic that we'll someday be wistful for what many long considered pests.  Part of the answer I suppose is that future generations born into the new Earth system only know what they know.  They will look at pictures of animals and insects and fish like we look at pictures of dinosaurs, as they enjoy their three square of soylent.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: sidd on October 29, 2017, 02:46:28 AM
Re: starlings and bagworms and fireflies

Still see em in OH and PA. Noisy as hell, but they eat the bagworms ...

fireflies are still about in those states too, not as many though, and mostly away from the cities.

sidd
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Red on October 29, 2017, 11:23:01 AM
Just casual observation but working and playing outside most of my life the lack of insects is not lost on me. I've often wondered about mass use of pesticides on the fauna that feeds on these little creatures. Living a fair distance from anything that resembles big agriculture and yet having noticed a large enough drop in blackly and mosquito populations that I haven't had to use any repellent in the past five or six years. Yes there are some biters out there but not enough to make me use products containing deet. Over the last two years I've noticed a decline in the year round bird populations. The past couple of winters while hiking in my local forest it has become difficult to find any winter birds at all on some days! It got me thinking about mortality of wild song birds. From what I found the life expectancy of song birds in the wild is five to eight years with the survival rate of young at 50% or less in abundant conditions. Could this be related to a lack of food supply on which to raise the chicks? Not enough to get them up to adulthood before winter sets in? After a few years of low replacement numbers of adult birds the decline would start to show up? Just like the human population if you lose the food supply the overall numbers go down after an appropriate amount of time has past. Could be I'm wrong and I sincerely hope so. Anyone out there noticing anything similar. I know migratory song birds have been on a steady decline for decades now but the year round residents?!   
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Shared Humanity on October 29, 2017, 03:33:57 PM
In the west suburbs of Chicago, most bird populations were decimated in 2002 by West Nile. I spent the entire summer picking up dead birds in my yard, yellow and house finches, cardinals, sparrows etc. As an organic gardener, it was one of the saddest summers of my life.The populations have never fully recovered.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Forest Dweller on October 30, 2017, 10:22:57 PM
So unsurprising....

The decline is said to be related to both climate change and pesticides.
I'll not discuss the climate aspect but already "pesticides"is the wrong terminology and falls short.
It's pesticides, herbicides and all kinds of chemical or industrial pollution deliberate or not which play a part in all life.

It is the same limited thinking surrounding the most famous "weed killer interview" where lobbyist Patrick Moore refuses to drink some even though he claims glyphosate is 100% safe to drink.
He knows he would have gone straight to intensive care of course because as he has just explained 20 or so heavier systemic poisons are added to that crap.
Glyphosate is just the most harmless one and while we don't even know the other ingredients most idiots just keep discussing how safe glyphosate is.
Nobody sprays just glyphosate anywhere.
They spray cocktails which we know are always more harmful and that is why during my wildlife research i can see where they use it the mice or voles just sitting around in a daze or even climbing on my shoes to die on the spot.

Of course insects will die.
They are subjected to many other cocktails and poisons on top of that, and various other forms of pollution AND climate change all at once.
All are the result of industrial society, that is what it is and what it does.
The greatest destructive force ever on Earth.

Have people lost their frigging minds???
Chemical industry has done nothing since it's beginning but leave behind it a trail of millions of dead and sick creatures including us, while reaping the profits going from one product to the next before it can be banned.
Chemical industry should be closed down immediately if not all industry.

Here i see elderly people growing food or children playing sports next to the highway with the most polluted air in Europe, on fake grass filled in with poisonous ground up car tires while around them everything is sprayed and poisoned as well.
People say that is a healthy activity for kids or the elderly, while the increase in health problems and epidemics is dealt with by pharmaceuticals from the chemical industry as well.
And of course add more problems while the profits are reaped before those can be banned and replaced by the next "medicine" as well.
Of course the elderly gardeners add their own poisons to their already toxic crops...
Yes people have lost their frigging minds.

Even DDT still reaches us in spite of it being banned long ago.
Hey, we still have the factories here and happily export it to Africa so of course there is an illegal circuit and the rest comes through food imports etc.
They test plants in garden centers here and find 17 poisons on just 1 plant, half of them illegal...

We are a chemical experiment involving hundreds or more substances and we already don't care about our own health or that of our kids and pets.
So of course insects are gonna die.
Insects will not be the only ones either.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat on November 09, 2017, 03:32:03 PM
THE UK ACTUALLY DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR ONCE?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/09/uk-will-back-total-ban-on-bee-harming-pesticides-michael-gove-reveals

"The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed.

The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.

Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticide but in 2013 the European Union banned their use on flowering crops, although the UK was among the nations opposing the ban. The European commission now wants a total ban on their use outside of greenhouses, with a vote expected in December, and the UK’s new position makes it very likely to pass."
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 14, 2017, 04:08:16 PM
From the Renewable Energy thread.  An acknowledgement of the problem, and steps to help address it.

How solar-energy sites can provide habitat for our Minnesota monarchs
When you see a facility blooming with native plants, it's helping the birds and butterflies.
Quote
This month — while the monarchs are gathering in their overwintering groves in the mountains of Mexico — Carver County, Ramsey and Blaine are considering proposals to use private funds to create more than 90 acres of high-quality habitat for monarchs and other pollinators over seven sites. The proposals, like others, are financed by the solar panels that sit above the diverse mix of deep-rooted plants. Once complete, these sites will provide habitat equivalent to more than 54,000 homes each planting and maintaining 6- by 12-foot pollinator gardens.
http://www.startribune.com/how-solar-energy-sites-can-provide-habitat-for-our-minnesota-monarchs/456220783/
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Csnavywx on November 14, 2017, 05:33:30 PM
A bit of an anecdotal story:

My father stopped using most pesticides and herbicides on his farm -- going back to using fallow rotational periods and planting green manure crops where he did need to restore nutrients. The effect has been drastic. A marked increase in insect and plant diversity returned over a 10-15 year period. One of those that recovered was fireflies. So many, in fact, that there was an explosion of them a couple of years ago. A "firefly flurry", I believe they're called. Huge quantities of them covered the trees and air at night, causing the entire forest to glitter. I'd never seen anything like it, even as a kid.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat on November 29, 2017, 12:53:32 PM
It seems as if the world's favorite pesticide is damaging a lot more than insect populations.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/29/common-pesticide-can-make-migrating-birds-lose-their-way-research-shows

The experimental study is the first to directly show harm to songbirds, extending the known impacts of neonicotinoids beyond insects.


Another "Silent Spring" ?
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat on December 30, 2017, 03:41:41 PM
If the pesticides don't get you, the fungicides will.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/29/alarming-link-between-fungicides-and-bee-declines-revealed

Quote
Alarming link between fungicides and bee declines revealed
Fungicides are found to be the strongest factor linked to steep bumblebee declines, surprising scientists and adding to the threats to vital pollinators

This is sort of science Trump and his not very merry men are trying to kill.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Sebastian Jones on December 30, 2017, 06:05:52 PM
If the pesticides don't get you, the fungicides will.

Who would have guessed that poisons are poisonous?
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Neven on February 18, 2018, 08:27:47 PM
According to this study:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809

More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas - Germany.

Notable highlights from the study:
"Our results demonstrate that recently reported declines in several taxa such as butterflies [7, 25–27, 58], wild bees [8–14] and moths [15–18], are in parallel with a severe loss of total aerial insect biomass, suggesting that it is not only the vulnerable species, but the flying insect community as a whole, that has been decimated over the last few decades. The estimated decline is considerably more severe than the only comparable long term study on flying insect biomass elsewhere [28]."


Anecdotally, anyone who lives in the northern hemisphere can tell you that when driving there are FAR FEWER insects splatting on the windshields compared to just 10 or 20 years ago.  I've personally noticed a dramatic decline in insect population in the Northeast US in just 10 years.  It seems likely (although I don't have any data so this is an anecdotal claim) that across the entire northern hemisphere insect populations have declined by this same 75% level. 

The important take home consequences of this study (i.e., my thoughts):

1.  There are no pesticides being used in the reserves in which this study was carried out, therefore it's almost certain that the cause is somehow related to other factors, i.e., exponential temperature rise.  I personally live in an area with zero agriculture, and have noticed a dramatic decrease in insect densities as well.

2.  Insects have existed on this planet far, far longer than primates.  If insects cannot survive a 1.5C rise in global average temperature (above the 1750/1850 pre industrial baseline), it's difficult to imagine primates surviving much longer.  Especially considering that primates require insects to survive.

3.  Insects represent the foundation of the food-chain for all northern hemisphere biomes, with a 75% decline, it's likely that over the next several years die offs in many of the major larger terrestrial vertebrates will take place at a similar clip. 

We're only at 1.5C above pre industrial baseline as of 2018.  75% decline in the biomass of any population of animals on the planet is extreme, especially considering that it's across all families, genus and species of insects, not just a single group.  It appears as if the insect organisms cannot keep up with the exponential rise in global average temperature in the northern hemisphere.  Insects are ectothermic invertebrates, which means that they are particularly well adapted to (but also sensitive to) variations in temperature.  If an ectothermic invertebrate can't keep up with climate change, its difficult to imagine that endothermic vertebrates like mammals will survive.

This appears to be the prelude to an extinction level event that is unprecedented since the Permian mass extinction.

The insects are the canary in the terrestrial coal mine (similarly, Coral reefs are the canary in the oceanic coal mine), so to speak - mammals (i.e., humans), reptiles, amphibians, and birds are next.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: icefisher on February 19, 2018, 03:46:11 AM
SH, I live in the east suburbs of St. Louis.  The bee populations in my yard have vanished, Monarchs likewise.  Wasps, however are alive and well.  My wife and I loved to watch hummingbirds.  Several used to return year after year.  This past summer - no hummingbirds.  We are both alarmed.  Cardinal numbers are dwindling. Sparrows, wrens and nuthatches also putting in fewer and fewer appearances.  Starlings are numerous, as are blackbirds, crows, owls, hawks and geese.  Geese are just about everywhere and live year round.   
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Sebastian Jones on February 19, 2018, 06:49:29 PM

According to this study:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809

More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas - Germany.



 (i.e., my thoughts):


  It appears as if the insect organisms cannot keep up with the exponential rise in global average temperature in the northern hemisphere.  ......

This appears to be the prelude to an extinction level event that is unprecedented since the Permian mass extinction.

The insects are the canary in the terrestrial coal mine 

With respect, there is no evidence that the rise in global temperature is the prime cause of the insect biomass decline, there is considerable evidence that changes in agricultural and land use practices do have a sufficient effect. The change to mono-cultures and heavy pesticide use associated with the adoption of GMOs are the most likely culprits. This is not to say that climate warming is not serious!
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: harpy on February 20, 2018, 02:11:31 AM
The area in the study is not influenced by agriculture directly, so pesticides and fragmentation are likely not the issue.  In the study it indicates that the land was ALREADY fragmented prior to the study, so that effect in a sense has no impact - it was an outside factor.

Another issue with your post is that you're discounting the numerous and at this point almost innumerable anecdotal observations from all over the northern hemisphere that insect populations are plummeting.  In the area where I live, there are ZERO pesticides and almost no fragmentation issues.  Insect populations here are sometimes non existent.

Pesticide use has no impact on the area where I live - the only factor is temperature, and temperatures here have been DRAMATICALLY warmer over the past 10 years.

Warm winter temperatures mess up the timing of insect hatches, and this causes premature death.  Moreover, insects metabolism increases with increased temperature, if theres nothing for them to eat when they hatch prematurely in March, instead of when they are supposed to hatch in June - they all die.

This is the crux of the problem for insects - their timing is all screwed up, and many of them are hatching and dying before they can eat and/or mate.  If insects hatch in January during a 69 degree night, they all die - especially if temps drop back down- that's a problem.  No trees have leaves on them when these insects hatch - theres no flowers, no food in February and March , they all die and there's no replacement for them.  This is happening to all insects all over the northern hemisphere every year we get these absurdly high temperatures in winter months.

I think that many folks seem to misunderstand just how fragile animals are.  You cannot simply suddenly increase winter temperatures in a 10 year time frame and expect animals to be able to cope.  70 degree days in February (as is going to happen in the northeast US in the next week) has profound and disastrous consequences for the natural environment that we simply haven't studied yet.  And the changes are happening so rapidly that it's very difficult to study them.  We;re lucky to even have this one study from Germany.  It represents a snapshot of the catastrophe that is unfolding in the northern hemisphere.

The last time that temperatures rose even close to as fast as they are now was the permian mass extinction.  Temperatures are rising much quicker now than during the permian.  90% of species died during that extinction event, and it took tens of thousands of years. What we're doing to the planet right now is taking the permian mass extinction and pushing down the accelerator even faster.  The only event that I can think of that altered global average temperatures this quickly was the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, and 70% of all species died.  That was an asteroid, with aerosols that fell out of the sky in a relatively quick fashion (geologically speaking) - the effects of atmospheric CO2 will not be quick.  It's hard to imagine anything less than a KT extinction level event from current CO2 emissions and positive feedbacks.  In such an event, anything larger than a medium sized rat will likely go extinct.

In short, insects are just the start.  Mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are next.  Many have already started to die off in their natural environments en masse, independent of human fragmentation and habitat loss factors.

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 24, 2018, 06:03:11 PM
Insect population decline leaves Australian scientists scratching for solutions
Quote
A global crash in insect populations has found its way to Australia, with entomologists across the country reporting lower than average numbers of wild insects.
University of Sydney entomologist Dr Cameron Webb said researchers around the world widely acknowledge that insect populations are in decline, but are at a loss to determine the cause.
"On one hand it might be the widespread use of insecticides, on the other hand it might be urbanisation and the fact that we're eliminating some of the plants where it's really critical that these insects complete their development," Dr Webb said.
"Add in to the mix climate change and sea level rise and it's incredibly difficult to predict exactly what it is." ...
http://amp.abc.net.au/article/9481136
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: ivica on March 09, 2018, 08:45:16 AM
Europe’s beetle species plummet as trees disappear (https://news.mongabay.com/2018/03/europes-beetle-species-plummet-as-trees-disappear/)

"A new report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) finds nearly 18 percent of saproxylic beetles are threatened with extinction in Europe. That number goes up to almost 22 percent for the EU as a whole."

"Of Europe’s threatened species, the 2018 report finds five are critically endangered, up from two in 2010."

"Why are these beetles declining? According to the IUCN, it’s because Europe’s trees are disappearing."
Logging, wood harvesting, urbanization, tourism development and an increasing frequency in wildfires...
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: johnm33 on March 09, 2018, 12:06:35 PM
The effects of pesticides seem to be increasingly affecting our own species, I'm noticing an increasing number of babies being born with niggling little defects, worst cases are 'children without diagnosis'. If these toxins designed for other species are affecting our gestation, as I suspect, how much worse is it for those genetically closer to the target. Has anyone studied larval dysfunction or mis-metamorphosis?
 Since the use of pesticides to facillitate drying 'in the field' I've noticed feeling slightly poisoned [reminds me of working in a house after it's been sprayed with woodworm/dry rot killer] when eating certain foods.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat on March 21, 2018, 10:39:17 AM
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/catastrophe-as-frances-bird-population-collapses-due-to-pesticides

'Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides

Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, because insects they feed on have disappeared

Quote
Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said.

Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France.

“The situation is catastrophic,” said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies. “Our countryside is in the process of becoming a veritable desert,” he said in a communique released by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which also contributed to the findings.

The common white throat, the ortolan bunting, the Eurasian skylark and other once-ubiquitous species have all fallen off by at least a third, according a detailed, annual census initiated at the start of the century. A migratory song bird, the meadow pipit, has declined by nearly 70%.

The museum described the pace and extent of the wipe-out as “a level approaching an ecological catastrophe”. The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn.

The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared.

There are hardly any insects left, that’s the number one problem,” said Vincent Bretagnolle, a CNRS ecologist at the Centre for Biological Studies in Chize. Recent research, he noted, has uncovered similar trends across Europe, estimating that flying insects have declined by 80%, and bird populations has dropped by more than 400m in 30 years.

Despite a government plan to cut pesticide use in half by 2020, sales in France have climbed steadily, reaching more than 75,000 tonnes of active ingredient in 2014, according to European Union figures.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Sebastian Jones on March 21, 2018, 04:52:53 PM


'Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides


The main causes are switching to mono cropping, the cessation of the practice of fallowing and the ever increasing use of pesticides. It is hard to exaggerate the seriousness of these trends- and it is not just France. These practices are widespread and are actively promoted around the world. It is not arctic ice, but it is as important, albeit differently.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat on April 27, 2018, 12:07:45 PM
One can hope that it is not too late to implement this sort of policy.

EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides
The world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields within six months, to protect both wild and honeybees that are vital to crop pollination


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/27/eu-agrees-total-ban-on-bee-harming-pesticides

So the multi-national chemical companies do not win everywhere, every time?
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Coffee Drinker on April 29, 2018, 12:57:06 AM
Good news. Never understood how it can be not catastrophic to spray the whole landscape each year with pesticides.

Still remember driving on the autobahn in the 80s. The windscreen was pretty much always covered in insect after a few hours. Now its largely clean.

But then I wonder what is the "normal" insect population? In the 1980s, we had severe issues with water pollution, acid rain and poor air quality. So its not like the 80s were cleaner or "better" than today.

I always try to think what else could be the cause of insect demise. For this you have to think like an insect and know what they like. Many insect species need water without fish. I know many of the rivers and lakes got much cleaner and now have healthy fish populations again. Not sure if this has an influence as well. Maybe insects loved the polluted water and had highly "inflated" populations?
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat on June 11, 2018, 03:34:43 PM
You might think the quote is about the swift. Wait small.

Swifts' only food is flying insects- if there are less swifts then it is because there are less insects.

The cause is not AGW - the warmer it is the more insects we see in the UK.

It is pesticides and herbicides by farmers and gardeners.

Those who think fixing CO2 emissions means 'job done' are in for an unpleasant surprise

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/11/chris-packham-springwatch-warns-of-ecological-apocalypse-britain

Chris Packham warns of 'ecological apocalypse' in Britain
Springwatch presenter says Britain is increasingly ‘a green and unpleasant land’


Quote
Birdwatchers have noticed the skies are particularly lacking swifts this year, a summer migrant that is declining at an increasing rate – 51% over 20 years but 25% in the five years to 2015. Swifts are usually seen in 38% of the bird sightings logged with the British Trust for Ornithology in early June. This year they account for just 31%.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat on June 17, 2018, 06:12:26 PM
Britain's insects in catastrophic decline
If it is happening here, one can assume it is the same just about everywhere in the OECD countries.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/17/where-have-insects-gone-climate-change-population-decline

just one quote

Quote
Our creepy crawlies may have unsettling looks but they lie at the foot of a wildlife food chain that makes them vitally important to the makeup and nature of the countryside. They are “the little things that run the world” according to the distinguished Harvard biologist Edward O Wilson, who once observed: “If all humankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed 10,000 years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: queenie on June 18, 2018, 10:06:03 PM
As a farmer, when I first read the article on insect decline last fall, it rocked me to the core. Scared me even more than the scariest climate change scenarios. It also rang true. We work to attract beneficial insects and it seems to get harder each year even as we have more host plants. We are, like most organic farms, surrounded by conventional farms. We farm apples and the standard budget for apple orchards, prepared by the very good ag program at the university nearby, calls for 14 rounds of spray each year. 10 of those are insecticide or fungicide. We're organic but even we have to deal with the coddling moths, which lay eggs that hatch into worms in apples. We use a virus that only kills the coddling moth but even that I ask myself - how am I contributing to this terrible problem? Achieving a balance where birds and predatory insects eat enough of the moths to have the worms stay at an acceptable level is kind of a fantasy. In our world there is no acceptable level of worms in apples. We sell mostly direct so there is a little forgiveness but if we were bigger and shipped apple there would be none.

We're a big berry growing area and those ship internationally. A certain fruit fly has become a problem here and there is zero tolerance for them. What does this mean? Blueberries, especially late season ones, are often insecticide sprayed every three days. I know conventional growers that won't eat their own berries because of the level of poisons on them.

I've no doubt that agriculture is largely responsible for insect decline. That said, consumers play a significant role here too. If you expect perfect produce know that the environmental cost of that is huge. I've had people tell me they won't buy organic produce because only chemically treated produce can leave them assured they won't encounter a bug. I doubt that much of the public would say they prefer chemicals to insects if you asked them. That said, almost all of them will chose the most perfect apple in the bin.

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: sidd on June 18, 2018, 10:48:19 PM
I know some pennsylvania apple farmers. They get mad at anyone who doesnt spray, claim that they see more damage on their own trees if a neighbour dont spray. This led to considerable ill will. Now a lot of them are tipping the tress over, hauling em off and converting to corn/soy rotation. Sad. Some of those farms had been there for generations.

sidd
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Martin Gisser on June 19, 2018, 12:10:18 AM
So what about apple tree pollinators? Do these stupid apple chemico-farmers haul in stupid bees (Apis mellifera) in stupid boxes with stupid Varroa mite problems? And what about those fucking vitamins that compel heedful City Homo Sapiens to eat those immaculate apples? Some rational economic thinkers might see the ridicu-lousiness of such "conventional farming" practices...

At least the American chemico-farmers can rotate corn and soy, unlike Barvarian farm bankrupters (Raubbauern). Apple wood is nice fire wood.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: jai mitchell on June 19, 2018, 12:19:22 AM
All of my fruit trees blossomed in mid february and then a cold snap ensued no fruit, no flies, barely any bees.  only 3 swallows in the awnings (usually more than 20)  It is about flowers and food, caterpillars for the birds etc. . .
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: queenie on June 19, 2018, 01:34:54 AM
So what about apple tree pollinators? Do these stupid apple chemico-farmers haul in stupid bees (Apis mellifera) in stupid boxes with stupid Varroa mite problems? And what about those fucking vitamins that compel heedful City Homo Sapiens to eat those immaculate apples?

Yes, most farms that grow anything requiring insect pollination rent bees. Beekeepers vary widely in how healthy their bees are, how much medication they use and the type of farms they will willingly rent their bees to. This year we got lucky. We got a bunch of mason bees and we found a local beekeeper who is small scale and focused on bee health not honey production for our honeybees. His hives have, thus far, been free of mites. He only puts his bees on organic farms. I think they went to an organic clover crop after us. We hope to have enough food for pollinators throughout the year and so not need rented bees soon. We're down to using about 1/4th of what is recommended and got good pollination but it still felt like we needed them.

The crop the beekeepers I know really complain about is California almonds. They need almost every hive in the country but only for a month. Many of the almond farmers spray while the bees are there and it's such a dense monoculture of almonds that it's not a great food source for the bees. Of course, the pay is good and many beekeepers depend on it.

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: queenie on June 19, 2018, 01:42:37 AM
All of my fruit trees blossomed in mid february and then a cold snap ensued no fruit, no flies, barely any bees. 

That is one of the big dangers of climate change and fruit production. We grow over 100 varieties of apples and our bloom stretches out over a couple of months since some bloom early and some late. Thus, biodiversity means we'll likely get some apples even when spring is highly unpredictable. A few heirloom varieties have long blooms even within them. Gravensteins and Bramley's Seedling will have late blooms while they have ping pong ball size fruits. I suspect with them if the first round froze out you'd still have a fair number of fine dormant buds yet to bloom.

Of course, varieties that bloom over a long span are a nightmare for orchards as they ripen over a long period and thus are terribly inefficient to harvest. In other words, the fruit will cost more to grow. Better costlier apples than none at all though.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Bruce Steele on June 19, 2018, 03:08:17 AM
Jai, The swallows like to nest in the awnings on my house also . I anticipate their arrival around March 15 every year. When I see the first a arrivals I make and maintain a mud puddle by the horse trough so they will have some mud to harvest. Some years I have swallows harvesting mud and flying off to other farmhouses to nest. Having a few dozen swallows around helps keep some insects in check. When fall arrives and the fledglings get their wings and return south ,with their parents ,I always notice more cabbage moths in the garden. 
 We also have phoebes that are resident and also are insectivores. The bird population doesn't seem too bad around here but it is very evident there just Aren't as many bugs splattered on the windshield as when I was younger. I know there are terrible insecticides in use , chlorpyrifos renders many local watersheds devoid of insect life. EPA was supposed to ban the stuff but Obama lagged and Trump
/ Pruit totally overrode any regulations to get rid of the crap. Dow got their Campaign payback early. 

https://www.factcheck.org/2017/04/the-facts-on-chlorpyrifos/



 
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Csnavywx on June 19, 2018, 09:29:26 AM
As a farmer, when I first read the article on insect decline last fall, it rocked me to the core. Scared me even more than the scariest climate change scenarios. It also rang true. We work to attract beneficial insects and it seems to get harder each year even as we have more host plants. We are, like most organic farms, surrounded by conventional farms. We farm apples and the standard budget for apple orchards, prepared by the very good ag program at the university nearby, calls for 14 rounds of spray each year. 10 of those are insecticide or fungicide. We're organic but even we have to deal with the coddling moths, which lay eggs that hatch into worms in apples. We use a virus that only kills the coddling moth but even that I ask myself - how am I contributing to this terrible problem? Achieving a balance where birds and predatory insects eat enough of the moths to have the worms stay at an acceptable level is kind of a fantasy. In our world there is no acceptable level of worms in apples. We sell mostly direct so there is a little forgiveness but if we were bigger and shipped apple there would be none.

We're a big berry growing area and those ship internationally. A certain fruit fly has become a problem here and there is zero tolerance for them. What does this mean? Blueberries, especially late season ones, are often insecticide sprayed every three days. I know conventional growers that won't eat their own berries because of the level of poisons on them.

I've no doubt that agriculture is largely responsible for insect decline. That said, consumers play a significant role here too. If you expect perfect produce know that the environmental cost of that is huge. I've had people tell me they won't buy organic produce because only chemically treated produce can leave them assured they won't encounter a bug. I doubt that much of the public would say they prefer chemicals to insects if you asked them. That said, almost all of them will chose the most perfect apple in the bin.

Spotted wind drosophila is the fruit fly you speak of. I have had a nasty intimate experience with them. They're invasive and will attack ripening fruit and it basically destroys a crop rapidly. Between them and the Japanese beetles, it's nigh impossible to have a raspberry, blackberry or blueberry crop without some sort of spray to keep them off. There aren't many natural counters to them either and none that can counter an infestation that's already established.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: dnem on June 29, 2018, 05:05:19 PM
I wish I had some actual data to compare, but I went out last night at about 11 pm in my yard in my low density, verdant part of Baltimore, MD.  It was a warm summer night, still close to 80 deg (~27 C).  It was eerily quiet.  Not a katydid or cricket to be heard.  Good amount of fireflies, though.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat 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.

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Forest Dweller 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Bruce Steele 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



Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: TerryM 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Gray-Wolf on August 10, 2018, 02:44:58 PM
Indeed Terry,
Silent Spring this way...........
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 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)
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: TerryM 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: sidd 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Eli81 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....
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Gray-Wolf 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?
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: nicibiene 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: bbr2314 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Sebastian Jones 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: TerryM 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Avalonian 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...  ::)
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Avalonian 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!
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: cmcgugan 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: kassy 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: sidd 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: AbruptSLR 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."

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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."
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: dnem on November 14, 2018, 04:29:10 PM
Flour beetle sperm cells in a simulated heatwave don't do well.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07273-z

An a popular press account in the New York Times:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/science/sperm-infertility-insects-heat.html?action=click&module=Discovery&pgtype=Homepage
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Sigmetnow 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
Quote
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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: dnem 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?
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Sigmetnow 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Ktb on November 19, 2018, 11:41:43 PM
Externalaties, Externalaties.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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.

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Red 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.”
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: josh-j 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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.

(https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/Monarch_Butterfly/images/report_sightings_embed.gif)
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 on December 08, 2018, 05:12:01 PM
Monarch decline is hardly surprising.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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.

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: bligh8 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/

bligh
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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

Quote
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 (http://www.bc-europe.eu/index.php?id=339)" 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 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ddi.12854), 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

Quote
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.

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fcprtx.wpengine.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2015%2F08%2FButterflies1.jpg&hash=974a9a755fba76112547fda3666a868f)

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

Quote
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.

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2Fthumb%2F9%2F93%2FBatesian_vs_M%25C3%25BCllerian_Mimicry.svg%2F400px-Batesian_vs_M%25C3%25BCllerian_Mimicry.svg.png&hash=46f7cfa462e76ad749a4e2b23a809df7)

Christopher Hassall et al. Climate-induced phenological shifts in a Batesian mimicry complex (https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/11/26/1813367115), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018)
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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

Quote
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 (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10841-018-0113-5), Journal of Insect Conservation (2018)
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: jai mitchell 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6EXFpnjXNc
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi on January 02, 2019, 06:10:47 PM
Fewer Monarch Butterflies are Reaching Their Overwintering Destination

Quote
... 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 (https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/ami.2018.5.issue-1/ami-2018-0006/ami-2018-0006.xml), Animal Migration (2018)
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat 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.”

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: kassy 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Pmt111500 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: oren 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: TerryM 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: kassy 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Klondike Kat 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Bernard 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: kassy 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi on January 22, 2019, 03:27:36 PM
(https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Roberto_Sanchez-Rodriguez/publication/311824173/figure/fig6/AS:442166318243845@1482432073643/Daily-average-by-year-for-the-last-40-years-of-minimum-maximum-and-average.png)

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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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.”

(https://previews.123rf.com/images/victorass88/victorass881406/victorass88140600005/28937992-macro-shot-of-a-group-of-dead-insects-isolated-on-white.jpg)

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://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/2019/chartsshowin.jpg)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320718313636
Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers 
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat 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.

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Sebastian Jones 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?
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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.”
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: kassy 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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

Always look on the bright side of life - Monty Python - Life of Brian ...
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DWoaktW-Lu38&ved=2ahUKEwjBg_fmh7TgAhVGmeAKHfpIAMgQ3ywwAnoECAsQHw&usg=AOvVaw1uslggdIchENVlmwYDh-Ay

Quote
... 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] ...
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: kassy on February 12, 2019, 01:44:24 PM
Those scorpions eat cockroaches so they have a bright future ahead...

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: rboyd 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Tor Bejnar on February 12, 2019, 06:10:22 PM
I was thinking, "the return of the eurypterids (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurypterid)", 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 (https://harpers.org/archive/1974/02/smack-city/).)
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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

(https://dissidentvoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Pesticide-Dogs.jpg)

... 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: magnamentis 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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.

(https://i.pinimg.com/236x/48/b5/76/48b576fd29600d70b0dfab4c08f7d6fb--bee-quotes-nature-quotes.jpg)

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

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.

(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/0e/a4/6e/0ea46e6dab1966033cdb31f61fedb5ef.gif)
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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' (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.15047), Molecular Ecology 2019.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08974-9), 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. 
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: gerontocrat 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?
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: pietkuip 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Tor Bejnar 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.
 :'(
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: josh-j 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Avalonian 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.

Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi on April 18, 2019, 09:38:44 PM
(https://richardbrenneman.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/blog-toles4.jpg)
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: bbr2314 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).
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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.

(https://www.latimes.com/resizer/wXw3ieAx51Re9g7XgREHcQS2HBg=/800x0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-tronc.s3.amazonaws.com/public/YLOIDKPH4NFQDKLH2NV5HGJXUE.jpg)

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

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.
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: vox_mundi 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."


(https://els-jbs-prod-cdn.literatumonline.com/cms/attachment/f7927209-95b3-4047-9a00-18736da8573a/gr2.jpg)
Seasonally Beneficial Migration Distance & Directions

Open Access: Karl R. Wotton, et.al., Mass seasonal migrations of hoverflies provide extensive pollination and crop protection services (https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30605-0), 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
Title: Re: Decline in insect populations
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on June 15, 2019, 07:40:01 PM
This decline will hurt ecosystems:
https://www.theneweconomy.com/business/declining-insect-numbers-will-have-devastating-effects-on-ecosystems

Interview on insect dieoff:
https://news.mongabay.com/2019/06/the-great-insect-dying-how-to-save-insects-and-ourselves/