The world’s leading insect experts said that the world’s vital insect kingdom is witnessing „a thousand wounds dying“. University of Connecticut entomologist David Wagner, lead author of the special package, said climate change, pesticides, herbicides, light pollution, invasive species, and changes in agriculture and land use are likely causing 1% to 2% of their insects to lose land each year. Of the 12 monographs in the Monday Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences written by 56 scientists from around the world.
The problem, sometimes called the insect apocalypse, is like a jigsaw puzzle. Scientists say they still lack all the bits, so they find it difficult to understand the enormity and complexity of it and get the world to notice and do something.
Wagner said scientists need to know if the rate of insect loss is greater than other species. „There is reason to worry more, because they are a target of attack“ with insecticides, herbicides and light pollution, he added.
„The decline of insects is a bit like the climate change 30 years ago because the methods for assessing the extent and rate (of loss) were difficult,“ said University of Illinois co-author and entomologist May Birnbaum, who won the National Medal of Science.
To make matters worse, in many cases people hate insects, even though they pollinate the world’s food, they are essential to the food chain and get rid of waste.
Wagner said insects „are the fabric through which Mother Nature and the tree of life are built.“
Two known –And the Better explain and review insect problems. Honey bees have seen a sharp decline due to diseases, parasites, pesticides, herbicides, and food shortages.
Wagner said the dry weather driven by climate change in the western United States means fewer grasses that the butterflies eat. Changes in American agriculture are removing the weeds and flowers they need for nectar.
„We are creating a giant biological desert, except for soybeans and corn, in a giant area in the Midwest,“ he said.
Last month ,Tuesday that the Monarch butterfly has been a „candidate“ for federal designation as a threatened species – but it will not receive the classification for several years, as there are other priorities.
The zoo said honey bee numbers have fallen from „dangerously low“ levels of less than 30,000 monarchs over the past two years. „The spectacular migration of Western monarchs is a unique and fragile part of North America’s natural history and is on the verge of collapse,“ said Big Haworth, director of invertebrate care and conservation at the San Diego World Zoo.
Monday’s papers do not present new data, but they do show a large but incomplete picture of a problem that is starting to gain attention. Birenbaum said scientists have identified a million species of insects, while another 4 million may not have been discovered.
University of Delaware entomologist Doug Talami, who was not part of the studies, said they are highlighting how the world „has spent the past 30 years spending billions of dollars finding new ways to kill insects and just small coins that work to preserve them.“
„The good news is that with the exception of climate change, people can do a lot to reverse insect degradation,“ Telami said in an email. „This is a global problem with a grassroots solution.“
Sophie Lewis contributed to this report.
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