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The Insect Apocalypse Is Here
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49645"><span class="small">Brooke Jarvis, The New York Times</span></a>   
Friday, 30 November 2018 09:20

Jarvis writes: "Insects are the vital pollinators and recyclers of ecosystems and the base of food webs everywhere."

Monarch butterfly. (photo: iStock)
Monarch butterfly. (photo: iStock)

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here

By Brooke Jarvis, The New York Times

30 November 18

What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?

une Boye Riis was on a bike ride with his youngest son, enjoying the sun slanting over the fields and woodlands near their home north of Copenhagen, when it suddenly occurred to him that something about the experience was amiss. Specifically, something was missing.

It was summer. He was out in the country, moving fast. But strangely, he wasn’t eating any bugs.

For a moment, Riis was transported to his childhood on the Danish island of Lolland, in the Baltic Sea. Back then, summer bike rides meant closing his mouth to cruise through thick clouds of insects, but inevitably he swallowed some anyway. When his parents took him driving, he remembered, the car’s windshield was frequently so smeared with insect carcasses that you almost couldn’t see through it. But all that seemed distant now. He couldn’t recall the last time he needed to wash bugs from his windshield; he even wondered, vaguely, whether car manufacturers had invented some fancy new coating to keep off insects. But this absence, he now realized with some alarm, seemed to be all around him. Where had all those insects gone? And when? And why hadn’t he noticed?

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+9 # ER444 2018-11-30 13:37
I have had the same experience. It is frightening. My neighbors and I are doing everything we can to create safe harbors in our gardens for insects, raking and leaving the leaves under the hedges instead of bagging them, leaving the wilted flowers on the stem until spring, also good for the birds since they can eat the seeds in the winter. We hang insect hotels and create homes for insects out of old boots stuffed with hay. It all seems in vain though. Our largest neighbor is farmland where they spray every year something, probably "Roundup" that kills the weeds and probably the insects. Where are the lawmakers that should be stopping this? Are Bayer and Monsanto so powerful that they own the system? We are destroying our planet for money. It is insane!!
+2 # rivervalley 2018-11-30 15:18
We're in New Hampshire, where, 15 years ago we could only use the deck in daylight as the bugs (mosquitos, black flies, horseflies etc) were so bad at night. Not any more - we can be out until well afer dark with NO biting insects all day. The sky is no longer full of sparrows and bats catching insects; we get a handful of birds at our feeders morning and afternoon and that's about it. Our barn which held dozens and sometimes hundreds of barn swallows is empty of birds. We still have bats in the barn, but no longer see them flying around the house - they fly off to other, buggier areas. We had dozens of dragon flies; now we see three once a day. Hummingbirds are fewer and far between. We do have lots more turkeys, though. Scary!!
+2 # Wise woman 2018-11-30 20:02
Same here. I can sit on my patio after dark and the only thing I worry about now is a black bear or skunk roaming around. It used to be when it rained there would be hundreds of tadpoles running around on the path. Haven't seen one in years and don't expect to. It's frightening what has been done to the planet. I wonder why people keep having kids.
+1 # Allears 2018-12-01 14:50
So the bottom layer of the food chain is has disappeared.Won 't be long until we get to the top where the rapacious, disconnected-fr om-nature human at the top will be starving. THis is the sort of really important fact about our biosphere that is largely unknown and would likely be largely ignored it if were, while we go on and on and on about carbon schemes, which seem to me to be iffy at best, but something to which hip leaders wish to seem to be adhering to when it may be entirely impossible to do so. As with human overpopulation- it too is lost in the carbon dramas playing out. More and more humans at the top, fewer and fewer insects at the base and sooner than we seem to be able to realize, the breaking point will be reached.