Insects are declining at an alarming rate. More than 40% of insect species are declining and about a third are endangered. I know a lot of people will say, so what, they are just bugs. Insects are far more important than we realize and if they all disappeared, humans wouldn’t last much longer. The rate of insect extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. At the rate they are disappearing, they could vanish within a century.
One of the biggest impacts of insect extinction is that many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish eat insects and when the insects are gone, all of those animals will starve to death. Animals that feed on birds, reptiles, amphibians and some fish will also starve and die off. Bees are seriously affected. Of 16 species of bumblebees found in the US Midwest, 4 species have completely become extinct and 8 species are declining in number. The number of honeybee colonies in the US was about 6 million in 1947. About 3.5 million have been lost since. Bees are major pollinators of the food we eat and when the bees disappear, so will many of our foods. In California and Nevada, about 65% of the dragonflies have declined in the last 100 years. Dragonflies feed on flying insects, particularly on mosquitoes and midges. With dragonflies declining, mosquitoes will become more common as they have plenty of food – humans. A lot of areas are spraying pesticides all over the place to control mosquitoes but in most cases, they don’t know what they are doing. Ask all the people who got sick from mosquito spraying when is done improperly. Spraying pesticides for mosquito control is the least effective method of control. Larvicides and education are much more effective but many agencies want to spray for mosquitoes because it looks like they are doing something, and some people believe they are. Flies are disappearing also, and can you imagine what life would be like if all the blow flies and other flies that feed on dead animals disappeared. Dead animals would lay rotting all over the place when now they are consumed by blow flies and other insects.
One major cause of the insect decline is agricultural intensification. We eliminate trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides. We spray neonicotinoids and other toxic pesticides and they contaminate the soil and kill a lot of subterranean insects.
Climate change has an effect on the insects in tropical areas of the planet as it affects all animals. At the rate of insect decline, which is about 2.5% a year, we will have 25% fewer insects in 10 years, 50% fewer insects in 50 years and no insects in 100 years.
As much as we search the stars for their cosmic relationship to us, we should search the microcosmic relationships we have with the “very small” that live inside the planet and that breathes life into our existence. Insects and other creatures have as much purpose as the moon and this solar system in the cycle of life. If we keep ignoring that, we ignore the intricate balance of life in its natural, evolving state. If we do not get this under control, there will be catastrophic consequences for the ecosystem and for the survival of our children and grandchildren.
We don’t need pesticides to control most pests. There are non-toxic methods that can be done. If you have any pest questions, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge for my pest management consultations as my purpose is to try to help save the environment. Pesticides are weapons of mass destruction.