Climate change linked to fewer bugs, study finds


Via Flickr

Simone Garza | April 25, 2022

A new study shows insects that are vital for supporting food chains and pollinating plants are declining in population.

On April 20, Nature journal reported factors like agriculture and global warming are affecting a wide variety of insects. Regions that were documented with climate change and redeveloped for agriculture, including the use of monoculture of pesticides, had less than 50 percent of insects. An average slightly over 25 percent of species were also found.

The study included collected data from 264 formerly published biodiversity studies. The studies had about 18,000 species, like grasshoppers, butterflies, beetles and bees. Insects such as Ladybugs and Praying Mantis, can limit plant pests

Other insects, like ants and caterpillars, can provide vitamins, minerals and protein.

David Wagner, a University of Connecticut entomologist who is not connected to the study, said insects tether everything together.

“If you remove the insects from the planet, basically life as we know it would grind to a halt. We would not have as much soil manufacture,” Wagner said. “There would be no bird life. There would be little food produced on land. We would lose many of our fruits and agricultural crops.”  Wagner has done previous research on decreasing insect populations, reporting that one percent to two percent of insects are decrying due to invasive species, herbicides, insecticides and mild pollution.

Pesticides can affect reproduction of pollinators on memory-loss and navigation. Pesticides can also contaminate the environment, like water and soil, becoming an unsafe host to birds, fish, and untargeted plants.

More pest projections based on Iowa’s warm winter


Photo by servitude, Flickr.

Two weeks ago, we linked to a Des Moines Register article suggesting that Iowa’s mild winter could lead to an increase in pests. The Des Moines Register released a new, more in-depth, article today indicating that this year’s pest population may actually be close to normal.

An entomologist quoted in the article explained that spring weather affects insect populations more than the winter because most insects reproduce in the spring. Therefore, although there are more insects out now than most years at this time, the overall amount of insects will likely be similar to the norm.

The article also notes that the warm winter could help Iowa’s bee colonies, giving a boost to honey production.

Read more about this year’s pest projections here.

Mild winter could mean more pests this spring in Iowa


Photo by Frank. Vessen, Flickr

The warm winter could mean an increase in pests this spring in Iowa. Some pests that normally freeze during the winter did not, and therefore bugs are appearing earlier than usual.

Some farmers are worried about the increase in pests. Consequently, some are planning to spray their crops with pesticide earlier this year than they otherwise would.

On the other hand, some entomologist argue that there will be little difference in the number of pests this spring because some insects need snow cover to survive the winter – many of these insects likely did not survive the mild winter.

Read more about this spring’s pest projections from the Des Moines Register here.