Why we need to care about insects!
Why we need to care about insects
Distinguished Harvard biologist Edward O Wilson once observed: “If all humankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed 10,000 years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
Three statements that confirm that insects are in trouble
1. Flying insect populations in nature protection areas around Germany declined by up to 82 per cent in the past 27 years.
2. 98 per cent of ground insects disappeared in the last 35 years in the Puerto Rican rainforest.
3. worldwide insect numbers appear to be falling by 2.5 per cent a year, with 40 per cent of insect species in decline and a third now endangered.
Why is that important?
1. Insects are the base of the food chain. The decline of insects has been proven to cause the decline of other animals. For example:
“Britain’s farmland birds have more than halved in number since 1970,”
2. Insects (not just bees!) pollinate our fruit and vegetables. No insects, no food! There are however some farmers who are now attempting to hand pollinate their crop due to the loss of insects doing the job!
3. Not everyone’s a fan of insects, but most of us don’t want butterflies, dragonflies, fire flies etc to go extinct!
the decline, which could herald the loss of most insects within the next century unless changes are made, is due to intensive agriculture that both destroys insect habitats and kills them with broad-spectrum insecticides.
What’s causing it?
Pesticides, intensive farming, human population growth, roads.
52.5% of Germanys land is used for agricultural purposes. Which means that a large proportion of Germany is nearly insect free (intensive farming is proven to nearly eradicate all insects).
Pesticides have been found in high concentrations in nectar and pollen in wildflowers near treated fields. Meaning that the farmed areas damage the non-farmed areas.
What can we do?
1. Garden owners can plant native plants that benefit insects and refrain from using pesticides. If you have slug problems, remember that the insecticides have been killing the insects that eat the slugs!
2. Don’t buy an insect hotel!! Most insect hotels have become fashion accessories and aren’t actually well designed for insects. An insect hotel could potentially help if you’ve done your research (large insect hotels lead to an unnatural concentration of insects that in turn lead to the spread of infections and parasite infestations. Ultimately killing all of the insects in the hotel! Insect hotels are also meant to be cleaned after winter when the insects have left, to prevent spread of disease and mould. Research should be taken to find out what insects live in your area and what size the holes need to be for them/how far up the hotel should be placed etc).
3. Grow your own fruit and vegetables or buy organic where possible (bearing in mind that there are different levels of organic. Some vegetables marked as organic are nearly as bad as non-organic vegetables!)