A Silent Summer: Why insects are in danger


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There is a growing concern over the slow decline of flying insects (/stock)

Natalia Welzenbach-Marcu | June 19th, 2018

Insects and bugs are not everyone’s favorite creatures. They are, however, essential to a healthy and balanced ecosystem. And some of them may be in danger of declining.

The decline in the number of flying bugs was spotted first in Britain, where casual observers started noting a lack of bug debris on their windshields. Known as the “windscreen phenomenon“, citizens started writing letters to The Telegraph, noting the strange lack of insect bodies on their windshields as they drove through the countryside.

Where have all my insects gone?” one citizen wrote.

This strange insect silence has been attributed to everything from pesticides to climate change, but the answers are still unclear. The absence of these flying bugs is eerily reminiscent of the honey bee decline that struck the United States back in 2007, when Colony Collapse Disorder was threatening to severely impact the honey bee population.

While anecdotes about the sudden lack of insects on car windows are frequent, proving definitively that these insects are declining is a bit more difficult. A State of Nature 2016 report released in the UK details the decline of flora and fauna, and the volunteer-run data collection site suggests that insects in the UK have declined roughly 59% since 1970.

State of Nature and other similar nature and environment report sites rely on volunteers most of the time to data-gather, and the hope is that this collection of data can help trace the causes of animal and plant declines.

 

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