More scientists warn about worldwide insect decline

Image of red and black moth.

(University of Helsinki) Humanity is pushing many ecosystems beyond recovery. As a consequence, unquantified and unquantifiable insect extinctions are happening every day. Two scientific papers by 30 experts from around the world discuss both the perils and ways to avoid further extinctions, intending to contribute towards a necessary change of attitude for humanity’s own sake.

The pesticide industry’s playbook for poisoning the Earth

Illustration of a swarm of pollinators.

(The Intercept) Lobbying documents and emails obtained by The Intercept show a vast strategy by the pesticide industry to influence academics, beekeepers, and regulators, and to divert attention away from the potential harm caused by neonicotinoids. As a result, the global neonics industry generated $4.42 billion in 2018. In the meantime, the effects are being seen in massive insect die-offs. Certain insects are nearing extinction.

Urgent new ‘roadmap to recovery’ could reverse insect apocalypse

Image of moth on thistle.

(The Guardian) The call to action by more than 70 scientists from across the planet advocates immediate “no-regret” actions on human stress factors to insects which include habitat loss and fragmentation, the climate crisis, pollution, over-harvesting and invasive species. The paper comes amid repeated warnings about the threat of human-driven insect extinction causing a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, with more than 40 percent of insect species declining and a third endangered.

Leaf blowers fatal to declining insects, Germans warned

Image of person blowing leaves.

(BBC) Germany’s Ministry for the Environment said leaf blowers were too loud, polluted the air and posed a fatal threat to insects. The ministry issued the guidance in response to a request by a Green MP. Leaf blowers should not be used unless they are “indispensable”, the ministry said. However, the ministry said it was not planning to ban the devices.

UK insects struggling to find a home make a bee-line for foreign plants

Image of Burnet moth on non-native flower.

(University of York) Researchers at the University of York discovered that foreign plants – often found in gardens and parks – were supporting communities of British insects, including pollinators. For example, solitary bees were found visiting the flowers of non-native agave-leaved sea holly plants. Not surprisingly, however, the greatest numbers and diversity of insects were typically found on native plant species. “It is important to ensure that at least a third of plants are native, as the research suggests that these plants provide the best home for most insects. However, the presence of some non-native plants may help provide a home for unusual or rare British insects that may be struggling to find a home on our native plants.”