It is very difficult to show what is not there. In my travels around Halifax Nova Scotia over the past summer i saw almost bees. But I definitely did not see any insects. I could not even find any ants.
I did not see any spiders webs.
All the insects are disappearing and that explains why the bird population has diminished.
Sep 14th 2014 Literally No Insects Along Port Alberni Highway West Coast Vancouver Island
Published on Sep 14, 2014
There is still a few insects left i,m sure , so don,t bother me with the ninny song and dance because you seen a insect . In 8 km of heavy forest along side the highway I found a single dead bee and a single dead dragon fly and I never seen nothing else . How is that possible without considering radiation from Fukushima 3 nuclear reactors 100 percent meltdowns melt-outs hemorrhaging into the pacific ocean all day after 3 1/2 years
Pollinating insects disappear as GMOs proliferate: What will become of our food supply?
Thursday, March 21, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A pair of studies recently published in the journal Science raises fresh and dire warnings about the continued decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and what this means for the future of the world’s food supply. Both studies highlight the fact that wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing, and that industrial agriculture, which includes genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), are a major factor causing this insect genocide.
The two studies are hardly groundbreaking, as at least half a dozen other studies published just in the last couple of years have arrived at similarly disturbing findings. They do, however, shed further light on how the situation has progressed throughout the decades, pointing to corporate monoculture practices, shrinking forests and wild lands, and general changes in physical landscapes as some of the primary culprits in promoting this ruinous trend.
In one of the studies, researchers from Montana State University (MSU) compared insect data collected in the late 1800s to similar data collected in the same test location in the 1970s. They then compiled current data from the same area to compare to both of these other two data sets, upon which they discovered that the number of unique wild bee species had dropped by nearly half.
What is perhaps more disturbing, however, is the fact that researchers observed modern bees to be generally interacting less with plants than they used to in previous generations. According to the data, the overall number of interactions between bees and plants has also dropped by roughly half, indicating a serious problem as far as the general food supply is concerned, as about 75 percent of global food crops rely on pollination by animals.
Managed honeybees do not pollinate crops as well as wild honeybees
The second study is equally troubling, having found that pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, are simply vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas. Based on field trials conducted in 20 different countries, wild insects are clearly on the decline everywhere, and managed honeybee colonies established to replace them in many areas are failing to pick up where the wild honeybees left off.
“In landscapes with lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects, the crops had less fruits,” explains Lucas Garibaldi, author of the second study. “Wild insects pollinated way more efficiently: Flowers produced twice as many fruits after being visited by wild insects and were more consistent in their production than when visited by honeybees.”
Some are blaming “global warming” and other outside factors for this mysterious decline in crop pollinators. But the major elephant in the room, and the one that the mainstream media is desperately trying to avoid, is GMOs and the chemical-based technologies used to grow them. As we have covered time and time again, neonicotinoids and other pesticide and herbicide products are directly responsible for weakening and killing off bees and other crop pollinators, particularly in North America where GMOs are most widely cultivated.
“The proof is obvious that one of the major reasons of the bees’ decline is by the ingestion of GMO proteins,” explains a report by Brit Amos from Global Research about the decline of bee colonies. “The truth is that organic farming is relatively untouched as the bee crisis is concerned. Organic farming maintains the diversity of the eco-system and preserves the quality of the foods produced.”
Sources for this article include:
The Year the Monarch Didn’t Appear
By JIM ROBBINS
Published: November 22, 2013
ON the first of November, when Mexicans celebrate a holiday called the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned.
This year, for or the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn’t come, at least not on the Day of the Dead. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Last year’s low of 60 million now seems great compared with the fewer than three million that have shown up so far this year. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse.
“It does not look good,” said Lincoln P. Brower, a monarch expert at Sweet Briar College.
It is only the latest bad news about the dramatic decline of insect populations.
Another insect in serious trouble is the wild bee, which has thousands of species. Nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids are implicated in their decline, but even if they were no longer used, experts say, bees, monarchs and many other species of insect would still be in serious trouble.
That’s because of another major factor that has not been widely recognized: the precipitous loss of native vegetation across the United States.
“There’s no question that the loss of habitat is huge,” said Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, who has long warned of the perils of disappearing insects. “We notice the monarch and bees because they are iconic insects,” he said. “But what do you think is happening to everything else?”
A big part of it is the way the United States farms. As the price of corn has soared in recent years, driven by federal subsidies for biofuels, farmers have expanded their fields. That has meant plowing every scrap of earth that can grow a corn plant, including millions of acres of land once reserved in a federal program for conservation purposes.
Another major cause is farming with Roundup, a herbicide that kills virtually all plants except crops that are genetically modified to survive it.
As a result, millions of acres of native plants, especially milkweed, an important source of nectar for many species, and vital for monarch butterfly larvae, have been wiped out. One study showed that Iowa has lost almost 60 percent of its milkweed, and another found 90 percent was gone. “The agricultural landscape has been sterilized,” said Dr. Brower.
The loss of bugs is no small matter. Insects help stitch together the web of life with essential services, breaking plants down into organic matter, for example, and dispersing seeds. They are a prime source of food for birds. Critically, some 80 percent of our food crops are pollinated by insects, primarily the 4,000 or so species of the flying dust mops called bees. “All of them are in trouble,” said Marla Spivak, a professor of apiculture at the University of Minnesota.
Farm fields are not the only problem. Around the world people have replaced diverse natural habitat with the biological deserts that are roads, parking lots and bluegrass lawns. Meanwhile, the plants people choose for their yards are appealing for showy colors or shapes, not for their ecological role. Studies show that native oak trees in the mid-Atlantic states host as many as 537 species of caterpillars, which are important food for birds and other insects. Willows come in second with 456 species. Ginkgo, on the other hand, which is not native, supports three species, and zelkova, an exotic plant used to replace elm trees that died from disease, supports none. So the shelves are nearly bare for bugs and birds.
Native trees are not only grocery stores, but insect pharmacies as well. Trees and other plants have beneficial chemicals essential to the health of bugs. Some monarchs, when afflicted with parasites, seek out more toxic types of milkweed because they kill the parasites. Bees use medicinal resins from aspen and willow trees that are antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral, to line their nests and to fight infection and diseases. “Bees scrape off the resins from the leaves, which is kind of awesome, stick them on their back legs and take them home,” said Dr. Spivak.
Besides pesticides and lack of habitat, the other big problem bees face is disease. But these problems are not separate. “Say you have a bee with viruses,” and they are run-down, Dr. Spivak said. “And they are in a food desert and have to fly a long distance, and when you find food it has complicated neurotoxins and the immune system just goes ‘uh-uh.’ Or they become disoriented and can’t find their way home. It’s too many stressors all at once.”
There are numerous organizations and individuals dedicated to rebuilding native plant communities one sterile lawn and farm field at a time. Dr. Tallamy, a longtime evangelizer for native plants, and the author of one of the movement’s manuals, “Bringing Nature Home,” says it’s a cause everyone with a garden or yard can serve. And he says support for it needs to develop quickly to slow down the worsening crisis in biodiversity.
When the Florida Department of Transportation last year mowed down roadside wildflowers where monarch butterflies fed on their epic migratory journey, “there was a huge outcry,” said Eleanor Dietrich, a wildflower activist in Florida. So much so, transportation officials created a new policy that left critical insect habitat un-mowed.
That means reversing the hegemony of chemically green lawns. “If you’ve got just lawn grass, you’ve got nothing,” said Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society, a leading organization in insect conservation. “But as soon as you create a front yard wildflower meadow you go from an occasional honeybee to a lawn that might be full of 20 or 30 species of bees and butterflies and monarchs.”
First and foremost, said Dr. Tallamy, a home for bugs is a matter of food security. “If the bees were to truly disappear, we would lose 80 percent of the plants,” he said. “That is not an option. That’s a huge problem for mankind.”
Insects are disappearing and your dinner is going to suffer.
by Robert Ferris. Feb 28 2013
Wild insects are better at pollinating crops than captive honeybees trucked into fields by humans, new research suggests. Crashing populations of wild insects could spell disaster for our food supply, the researchers suggest.
The new study was published online in the journal Science Thursday, Feb. 28.
Flowering plants produce “male” and “female” varieties. Male plants produce pollen, and female grow flowers, which when pollinated, become fruit. Since plants can’t move, insects or other animals are needed to carry pollen from the male plant to the female.
(Some plants use wind, but they have specialized pollen.)
Without insects to pollinate them, crops can’t make food. To see which were the most important and efficient pollinators, scientists collected and analyzed data from 600 fields of 41 crops, which included fruit, nuts, seeds, and coffee.
They counted the number of times different insect species visited different flowers, and how much pollen each insect left on the plant.
They also measured how many flowers on each plant eventually turned into fruit (which happens when pollination is successful).
Insects to the rescue
They found that pollination by wild insects (instead of those trucked into the fields, like bees in hives) produces a greater variety and abundance of crops.
Specifically, wild insects increased productivity in every crop system studied. Farmed bees only increased fruit production in 14 percent of crops.
People seem to think that we can rely on farmed insects to pollinate our crops, but the data indicates that wild insects are badly needed for continued crop productivity.
That’s bad news for farmers, because habitat loss and pesticides — mostly from agriculture — have led to declines in wild insect populations.
Some species are undergoing local extinctions — for example parts of Illinois have lost some of their wild bee species.
“Paradoxically, most common approaches to increase agricultural efficiency, such as cultivation of all available land and the use of pesticides, reduce the abundance and variety of wild insects that could increase production of these crops,” study researcher Lawrence Harder, of University of Calgary, said in a press release.
Future of food
Three quarters of the world’s food comes from pollinated crops like those in the study, and these insect declines will likely lead to worldwide crop shortages and future food instability.
In the Sichuan region of China, pollinator decline has grown so severe that farmers now pollinate apple flowers with “pollinator sticks” made from cigarette filters and chicken feathers, according to information published online by the European Commission, the central government for the European Union.
Some popular crops might be hit particularly hard, the scientists said.
“Production of many fruit and seed crops that make diets interesting, such as tomatoes, coffee, and watermelon, is limited because their flowers are not adequately pollinated,” said Harder. “We also show that adding more [captive] honey bees often does not fix this problem, but that increased service by wild insects would help.”
The researchers recommended preserving patches of wild area among farmland, adding places for insects to nest, and rethink how farmers use pesticides. These changes would have “financial and opportunity costs”, but are in the end well worth it.
Without such changes the scientists said, “the on-going loss of wild insects is destined to compromise agricultural yields worldwide.”
Mass Extinction of Insects May Be Occurring Undetected
|John Pickrell in England
for National Geographic News
|September 20, 2005|
|The term “endangered species” typically conjures up images of charismatic animals—tigers, pandas, orangutans, whales, condors. But a new study says that the vast majority of species on the verge of extinction is in fact humble insects.The study estimates that up to 44,000 bugs of all varieties could have been wiped off the face of the Earth during the last 600 years. And hundreds of thousands more insect species could be lost over the next 50 years.Only about 70 insect extinctions have been documented since the 15th century, possibly because many insects have been poorly studied.”Most extinctions estimated to have occurred in the historical past, or predicted to occur in the future, are of insects,” argues entomologist Robert R. Dunn of North Carolina State University in Raleigh.The finding is significant, because insects play vital roles in plant pollination, decomposition, and soil processing. They also form essential links in ecological chains as plant-eaters, predators, and parasites.
The loss of keystone insect species—those on which a large number of other species depend—could be especially detrimental for ecosystems and people.
Multitude of Missing Species
“Most entomologists I know have some species they haven’t seen in years, but [they don’t] have the time or money to look for them,” said Dunn, who reports his findings in the current issue of the journal Conservation Biology.
“It wouldn’t be hard to come up with a list, for example, of 50 ant species in the Americas that haven’t been seen for 50 years—many in urban areas that used to be wild,” he said.
Insects make up 80 percent of all known animal species. Though only 900,000 insects have been identified, experts agree that there are still vast numbers of undocumented species. Estimates vary, but some researchers believe that as many as 2 to 100 million insect species could exist.
To estimate how many insects may have become extinct in recent history, Dunn first looked at figures for well-documented birds and mammals. He found that, over the last 600 years, 129 bird species have gone extinct, or 1.3 percent of all existing bird species.
Dunn then assumed that 3.4 million insect species live on Earth. If insects go extinct at a similar rate as birds do, then about 44,000 species could have disappeared over the same time period.
Few of these extinctions are documented because insects in general are poorly studied, Dunn notes. In addition, insects are small and difficult to find, making it difficult to confirm whether species have vanished for good.
In some cases it’s even difficult to demonstrate that larger species are totally extinct, said entomologist Jeff Boettner of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. For example, Boettner points to the ongoing controversy over the recently rediscovered ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis).
“It might not be so easy to confirm that birds are extinct, let alone insects, when we don’t even know about the status of one of the largest woodpeckers in the U.S.,” he said.
Most of the 70-odd insect extinctions that have been officially recorded are of charismatic species, such as butterflies, or from small habitats that could be exhaustively searched, such as the Hawaiian islands, or from parts of the world that have been extensively studied, such as the United States.
Some insects may be lost in ways that aren’t considered for larger species.
For example, research suggests that many insects have narrower geographic ranges than larger animals and plants, meaning that it is much easier to totally obliterate the habitats these insects need to survive.
One extinct species of insect, the Rocky Mountain locust (Melanoplus spretus), was once so numerous that in the 1800s it was described as the single largest barrier to westward expansion in the U.S., Dunn says.
The locusts migrated by the millions between breeding and feeding grounds. Their swarms averaged six feet (two meters) high and hundreds of feet (tens of meters) across.
But the bug’s breeding ground was a small, restricted type of floodplain habitat. Destruction of these habitats to create new cattle pasture was enough to drive the species to extinction by the turn of the 20th century.
Another way insects may be lost is through a process known as co-extinction, Dunn said. Many insects go extinct when species they rely on disappear. Most fish, birds, lizards, and other animals have their own specialized mites and lice, so when the host species die, their parasites die with them.
Also, plant-eating insects are likely to go extinct when the plants they feed on die. A massive population decline in chestnut trees due to chestnut blight in the 20th century took at least three species of butterfly with it.
Boettner agrees that co-extinction could be a major factor. “In ecology you rarely lose one thing. For every species of mammal, bird, plant, insect, and so on, there are at least two species of parasites that specialize on them as hosts.”
Similarly, losing some species of insects could have surprising effects for people.
One 1997 study estimates that a third of world crop production depends on pollination by wild insects. Without these bugs in the ecosystem, an estimated 117 billion dollars (U.S.) worth of crops would fail.
However, “many insects, just like many vertebrates, don’t have a role that we would miss if they were to go extinct,” Dunn noted. “For these species, the reason for conservation cannot simply be utilitarian, just as it is not for many vertebrates.”
“We conserve tigers and pandas because we value them culturally and aesthetically, and because it seems wrong to let them go extinct due to solely human factors,” he said.