Collectors find plenty of bees but far fewer species than in the 1950s

Image of Bombus dahlbomii bumblebee in Chile.

Declines in the number of species occurred on nearly every continent, starting at various points in the last four decades but largely in the 1990s on most continents. One exception was Australia and nearby islands, where the number of bee species estimated from observations spiked in the 2000s before dropping back down in the 2010s. Globally, thousands of bee species have become so rare that they are difficult to find or have gone extinct.

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.

Light pollution is key “bringer of insect apocalypse”

Image of insects swarming around light at night.

(The Guardian) “We strongly believe artificial light at night – in combination with habitat loss, chemical pollution, invasive species, and climate change – is driving insect declines,” the scientists concluded after assessing more than 150 studies. However, unlike other drivers of decline, light pollution is relatively easy to prevent by switching off unnecessary lights and using proper shades.

Insect decline more extensive than suspected

Image of farmland.

(Technical University of Munich) Researchers collected more than one million insects at 300 sites. They were able to prove that many of the nearly 2,700 investigated species are in decline. In recent years, certain rare species could no longer be found in some of the regions studied. Both in forested areas and grasslands, the scientists counted about one third fewer insect species after 10 years.

Robust evidence of declines in insect abundance and biodiversity

Image of meadow plant bug on leaf.

(Nature) Rumors of insect declines have been around for some time. However, much of this evidence has come from biodiversity databases — records of species sightings, mostly collected by volunteers, and usually gathered in a haphazard fashion. Seibold and colleagues finally fill the gap by reporting species richness, abundance and biomass for a wide range of arthropod taxa recorded using standardized sampling. The results show clear evidence of substantial declines in arthropod abundance and biodiversity.