AuthorTopic: Official Insect Thread  (Read 4993 times)

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Official Insect Thread
« on: July 23, 2016, 04:15:54 PM »
Kickoff post for this topic.

RE

http://wakingscience.com/2016/07/0-comments-read-%E2%86%92-not-just-bees-insects-decline-heading-extinction/


Food & Nature
Not Just Bees, All Insects are in Decline and Heading for Extinction
By Waking Science | July 23, 2016

Researchers are feverishly working to understand the global die off of the world’s bee species, and have linked colony collapse disorder to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides along with other common agrichemicals. As it turns out, the impact of modern industrial agriculture and widespread chemical contamination of our environment is not just affecting bees, but also contributing to the loss of all insects, and some scientists believe we are moving in the direction of mass extinction.

Several studies by entomologists in recent years support this notion and raise the flag for greater concern. German researchers with the Krefeld Entomological Association have since 1989 been conducting an annual experiment measuring the volume of summer insects in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Trapping migratory and mating insects in the wild has proven there is indeed a significant reduction in populations of many species of invertebrates.

    “The average biomass of insects caught between May and October has steadily decreased from 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds) per trap in 1989 to just 300 grams (10.6 ounces) in 2014.” [Source]

A decline this noteworthy should be of great concern for anyone interested in the future of food production and the survival of the ecosystem as a whole, as insects are not only needed for pollination of many staple food crops, they also provide food for many animals and birds, who would follow bugs into extinction.

    “The decline is dramatic and depressing and it affects all kinds of insects, including butterflies, wild bees, and hoverflies.” – Martin Sorg, an entomologist from the Krefeld Entomological Association

Additionally, another recent study conducted by researchers from theTechnical University of Munich and the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt supports and substantiates previous research. Observing a nature reserve in the Bavarian city of Regensburg scientists found that, “the number of recorded butterfly and Burnet moth species has declined from 117 in 1840 to 71 in 2013,” a large enough decrease to at least suggest that conservation efforts thus far have failed to contribute to the preservation of insect species.

The Frankfurt study also indicated, as a cause for such decline, the harmful, ongoing effects of the overuse of nitrogen based fertilizers and chemical pesticides which are being used in ever greater quantities around the world, produced and promoted by chemical giants like Cargill, DuPont and the globally despised Monsanto.

    “These data on species composition changes and the general trends of modifications may reflect effects from climate change and atmospheric nitrogen loads, as indicated by the ecological characteristics of host plant species and local changes in habitat configuration with increasing fragmentation.” [Source]

Furthermore, another study conducted in 2014 documented a worldwide decline in insect and invertebrate populations, reinforcing concern that this issue is not limited to any specific geographical region.

    “By combining data from the few comprehensive studies that exist, lead author Rodolfo Dirzo, an ecologist at Stanford University, developed a global index for invertebrate abundance that showed a 45 percent decline over the last four decades. Dirzo points out that out of 3,623 terrestrial invertebrate species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] Red List, 42 percent are classified as threatened with extinction.” [Source]

Seeking to identify the cause for such rapid declines in insect populations, a survey conducted in 2012 by the Zoological Society of London shows a staggering 45% decline in invertebrate abundance in the last four decades.

    “Rodolfo Dirzo, an ecologist at Stanford University, developed a global index for invertebrate abundance that showed a 45 percent decline over the last four decades. Dirzo points out that out of 3,623 terrestrial invertebrate species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] Red List, 42 percent are classified as threatened with extinction.” [Source]

The importance of the role of insects in the global ecosystem can not be understated, as ecological collapse starts form the bottom up. Geoff Boxshall, Secretary of Zoological Society of London sums it up well here:

    “Invertebrates are one of the essential foundations of healthy ecosystems that we depend on: almost every marine fi sh that forms part of the human food chain will have fed on invertebrates at some time during its development, for example. We directly consume invertebrates, such as shellfish, or their products, such as honey, but our awareness of the importance of invertebrates has generally been low, even though we rely on invertebrates to pollinate our crops, to reprocess our waste, and to deliver a multitude of other services. This situation is now changing and research has also highlighted the importance of invertebrates as regulators of ecosystem processes.” [Source]

Final Thoughts

Sadly, the burden of changing this falls squarely on the shoulders of global industry leaders, however, as individuals we can help to affect change by altering our buying habits, choosing to support organic food producers, and by creating healthy habitats for bees and other insects in our neighborhoods and communities.About the Author

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider of storable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.

**Sources embedded throughout article.

This article (Not Just Bees, All Insects are in Decline and Heading for Extinction) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement. Please contact WakingTimes@gmail.com for more info.
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Cheerios wil Save the Honeybees!
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 03:01:44 AM »
General Mills to the Rescue!

RE

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2017/0320/The-Cheerios-bee-rescue-Can-corporations-help-save-pollinators

The Cheerios bee rescue: Can corporations help save pollinators?

Many bee species have been on the decline for decades, but a new promotion from Cheerios hopes to raise awareness of their plight.


    Weston Williams
    Staff   |   @westonwolf359   

March 20, 2017 —All over the world, bees are vanishing, but not just from the wild. The Cheerios cereal mascot, a cartoon honeybee named Buzz, has also disappeared from his usual position on cereal boxes around the United States.

The missing mascot is one of the company's attempts to leverage their considerable brand recognition to raise awareness about the plight of missing pollinators, while also calling attention to their product. In addition to the vanished Buzz, the company has also been sending out packets of wildflower seeds across the country in an attempt to encourage customers to plant "bee-friendly" flowers.

The plight of bees has steadily gained public awareness in recent years, so calling attention to it makes sense from a marketing standpoint, while also raising awareness for a worthy cause. Bee species have been on the decline for the past two decades, and federal agencies and conservationists have stepped in to help. But the role of powerful corporate interests in the potential recovery of the insects is harder to define than those of their governmental and non-profit counterparts. However, with 30 percent of General Mills products reliant on insect pollination, it is certainly in their best interests to help their insect allies.

"Over 80 percent of flowering plants depend on animals to pollinate them," Elaine Evans, an entomologist and bee expert at the University of Minnesota, tells The Christian Science Monitor. "Most of these pollinators are bees."

There are more than 3,000 species of bees in the US alone. While some are doing fairly well, others are declining radically due to factors such as "loss of habitat, disease and pest problems, exposure to pesticides, and possibly effects of climate change," Dr. Evans explains.
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"With plants at the base of the structure of terrestrial ecosystems, and bees supporting most of those plants, bees are an essential to the stability of most terrestrial ecosystems," Evans adds.

According to the Cheerios website, the company has already depleted its stock of 1.5 billion seeds, which were distributed in packets that included a mix of flowers. But some controversy was kicked up online when the weblog Lifehacker accused some of the included seeds of being invasive in certain parts of the country: the California poppy, for example.

However, some of the post's assertions may be questionable: it said that the Chinese Forget-Me-Not, for example, which was included in the seed packet, is banned as a "noxious weed" in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The ban was actually placed on the True Forget-Me-Not, and the Chinese variety actually comes from a different genus than other Forget-Me-Nots.

"The seed varieties in the mix are not considered invasive," said General Mills in a statement, according to Fortune.

But the confusion highlights caveats around corporations' attempts at advocacy: after all, they depend on a positive public image, and emphasize promotional connections to their own products. The ad campaign surrounding the Cheerios strategy, for instance, focused on honeybees (as per the "Honey" part of the "Honey Nut Cheerios" brand). Honeybees, which are commercially managed and not native to the United States, are not in as nearly as dire a position their wild relatives. But General Mills is capitalizing on the familiarity of the honeybee to boost awareness of the plight facing wild bees.

"Although, BuzzBee and his honey bee friends may not be in danger of extinction like some other pollinators, in the interest of protecting our food supply, General Mills is committed to helping all pollinators thrive through the planting of these habitats," reads a statement from the company.

This is not to say that honeybees are entirely fine, says Evans.

"To clarify, honeybee populations are not in decline, but they have been having increasing health problems," she tells the Monitor. "The annual losses of colonies are beyond what is economically sustainable for beekeepers."

One pollinator that is in more immediate danger is the rusty-patched bumblebee, which was scheduled to become the first bee in the continental US to officially join the endangered species list. But a regulatory freeze put in place by President Trump's administration delayed the official listing of the insect, prompting a lawsuit from the environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Mr. Trump's pro-business and anti-regulation stance have concerned many conservationists, but it has also prompted some companies to step up their environmental policies. This "stepping-up" spirit in the business community was reflected in a letter signed by 365 US-based companies and investors, who declared their support for progressive action on climate change in the wake of the election last November.
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But some remain skeptical about corporations taking the reins on environmental sustainability. One skeptic is Michelle Mouton, a professor of English at Cornell College who conducts writing courses on food and sustainability.

"Education is fine, but the result must be public pressure on corporations to do more than create good publicity campaigns," Dr. Mouton, who also is the chair of the "Bee City Committee" in Mount Vernon, Iowa, tells the Monitor via email. "Commercial interests, in our current environment, have the most potential to bring about the right kind of change. Many, however, see their bottom line as incompatible with those changes."
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http://www.newsweek.com/flying-insect-numbers-plummet-ecological-armageddon-688300

Flying Insect Numbers Fall by 75 Percent: We Are Creating a 'Profoundly Impoverished World'
By Hannah Osborne On 10/19/17 at 6:31 AM


A honeybee on a shamrock flower in a garden in Hede-Bazouges, western France, July 8. DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images A honeybee on a shamrock flower in a garden in Hede-Bazouges, western France, July 8. DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images

Tech & Science
insect
Ecology
Pesticides

The total number of flying insects in protected areas in Germany has dropped by over 75 percent in the past 27 years. Scientists noted the major decline of bees, butterflies, moths and other winged creatures across 63 key areas and said it could not be explained by changes to habitat or weather, instead speculating that widespread pesticide use may be to blame.

Insects form the basis of many ecosystems, providing food for around 60 percent of bird species and playing a crucial role in pollinating wild plants. A decline in their numbers has the potential to cause huge disruption to the food chain—the valued of the “ecosystem services” provided by wild insects is estimated to be $57 billion annually in the U.S. alone.

Understanding insect numbers and the reasons behind changes to them is therefore vital to ensuring food security.

The latest research, published in PLOS ONE, looks at flying insect biomass in 63 protected areas across Germany. Scientists, led by Caspar Hallmann, from Radboud University, the Netherlands, used Malaise traps—tent-like structures—to assess their numbers each year. Researchers were aware numbers had been fallen, but they did not know to what extent.

Their findings showed that between 1989 and 2016, total flying insect biomass had fallen by 76 percent. At some points in mid-summer, the number fell by as much as 82 percent. “This decrease has long been suspected but has turned out to be more severe than previously thought,” Hallmann said in a statement.

Analysis showed there was not one main contributing factor that could explain the decline seen across the study areas—including changes to land use, weather and habitat.

“The decline in insect biomass, being evident throughout the growing season, and irrespective of habitat type or landscape configuration, suggests large-scale factors must be involved,” the team wrote. “While some temporal changes in climatic variables in our study area have taken place, these either were not of influence (e.g. wind speed), or changed in a manner that should have increased insect biomass (e.g. temperature).”

They said that they have no yet looked at the full range of climatic variables, such as prolonged droughts and lack of sunshine. They also suggested “agricultural intensification,” including the use of pesticides, increased use of fertilizers and year-round tillage, could be a “plausible cause” for the decline.


Examples of operating malaise traps in protected areas in western Germany PLOS ONE/Hallmann et al

Concluding, they add: “Whatever the causal factors responsible for the decline, they have a far more devastating effect on total insect biomass than has been appreciated previously.”

One of the study authors, Dave Goulson, from the University of Sussex, U.K., said the rates of loss recorded are not sustainable. “Insects make up about two thirds of all life on Earth,” he said. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. On current trajectory, our grandchildren will inherit a profoundly impoverished world.”

Project leader Hans de Kroon, from the Radboud University in Nijmegen in The Netherlands, said the only thing we can do is exercise extreme caution by using fewer pesticides and maintaining wildflowers wherever possible.

“The fact that flying insects are decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an alarming discovery,” he said. “As entire ecosystems are dependent on insects for food and as pollinators, it places the decline of insect eating birds and mammals in a new context. We can barely imagine what would happen if this downward trend continues unabated.”
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Bugpocalypse: Environmental Collapse Continues
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2017, 02:41:40 AM »
http://www.ianwelsh.net/bugpocalypse-environmental-collapse-continues/

Bugpocalypse: Environmental Collapse Continues
2017 October 22
tags: climate change, Ecological Collapse
by Ian Welsh

There are two major inter-related environmental problems today. The first is climate change, the second is environmental collapse. The ecosystem is a very complicated web, from single celled organisms on up to apex predators and humans. When you unbalance it; when you take out chunks, the consequences cascade thru the ecosystem, and it is possible for ecosystems to collapse, losing the ability to support higher forms of life, while the makeup of the lower parts changes significantly.

(For example, predictions of jellyfish taking over the oceans, or in bio-habitats, slimes becoming dominant.)

Climate change will be catastrophic, and it feeds into ecosystem problems by changing climate faster than animals and plants can adjust, but it’s probably survivable for humanity. (Just because humans will survive does not mean you and your kids will survive.)

Probably doesn’t mean certainly, there are outside scenarios where some system goes into exponential overdrive and renders the Earth unsuitable for humans.

Ecological collapse has its own nightmare scenarios. Traditionally the apex predators (and, yeah,that’s effectively us), don’t survive great die-offs, and we have induced a great die-off.  We’re losing, basically, all the fish; we have spreading areas of oxygen drought in the ocean, and anecdotal reports of insect die-offs now have some scientific confirmation:

    The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years

    The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for all landscapes dominated by agriculture, the researchers said.

This amounts to a six percent decrease per year, and it’s happening in nature preserves, which are the places one might expect to be effected least.

(I am fundraising to determine how much I’ll write this year. If you value my writing and want more of it, please consider donating.)

Anecdotally, as someone who’s almost 50, I remember a lot more insects in cities when I was a child. I see hardly any now.

As humans we have taken over so much of the land’s surface and replaced it with farms and a very few animals (domesticated animals like cattle, chicken, sheep, llamas and so on). We’ve removed most of the great forests and jungles, and replaced them with plants and animals that are very close to being monocultures (especially as the animal and plant breeds have been reduced to a few strains, with heirloom strains being phased out.)

58% of all vertebrate wildlife was lost just between 1970 and 2012.

On top of this, massive use of pesticides; mass release of chemicals into the environment in general, and the vast pools of plastics which have become ubiquitous throughout the environment, including microscopic particles in our drinking water.

We’re pushing environmental collapse, in other words.

It’s not as obvious as wolves growing too numerous and taking too many dear, then dying off themselves, because we have the ability to modify the environment, but it’s very close to the same thing.

It isn’t, well, necessary. We could do agriculture in ways that didn’t create monocultures, didn’t use mass pesticides, and made farmlands not be wastelands for everything but our few chosen animals and plants, but we don’t. Our cities could be full of green things and life that isn’t harmful (or not very) to humans, but they aren’t.

In most cases, though this might be more expensive and more work, it would also be better for us. We do better where there are more micro-organisms, not less. We do better where there are more plants, and especially trees, not less. A flourishing biome is in our interest, despite some challenges.

But we haven’t. Driven by efficiency and the profit motive, we have chosen instead to strip ecosystems bare, and not create new ones or work to keep those remaining healthy.

This is a great danger to us, and to most other living beings on the planet. We are foolish to think we will escape severe consequences: we will not.

In this intersection of ecosystem collapse and climate change is the highest chance of humans causing their own apocalypse, the only other threat which is as large is use of nuclear weapons.

It may be that humans are simply incapable of handling the technology we can create.

We shall see. It is clear, at the least, that we will need a harsh lesson, with deaths of a billion or more, as a corrective.

Let us hope that’s all that happens, and that those who survive, learn from it and change, permanently.
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🐝 Bees in France are dying at an alarming rate
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2018, 12:57:07 AM »
http://www.france24.com/en/20180607-bees-dying-beekeepers-paris-protest-pollution-pesticides

Bees in France are dying at an alarming rate, say beekeepers who staged a mock funeral in central Paris on Thursday, calling on the government to take urgent action to stave off an ecological disaster.


French beekeepers say an average of 30 percent of bee colonies died following the last winter, a devastating blow they blamed on the use of pesticides across the country.

Numbering 70,000, most of them small producers, the beekeepers say the ravaged bee population has severely affected the honey harvest, threatening their livelihood. The colonies have deteriorated so badly that some beekeepers may not be able to carry on, demonstrators said.

A small delegation marched towards the Elysée Palace, the president’s residence in Paris, but were stopped by police.

Pesticides destroy insects and other organisms harmful to cultivated plants and crops, with knock-on effects through the food chain.

“Eighty percent of the insects have disappeared in the past 30 years, and 30% of birds in the last 15 years, we're witnessing the collapse of wildlife,” said François Le Dudal, a beekeeper from Brittany.

“We're at a turning point with our environment, nature, and we're going to pay a dear price for this and that'll come very soon,” Le Dudal added.

An EU court upheld last month a partial ban on three insecticides known as neonicotinoids, saying that the European Commission had been right in 2013 to restrict their use to protect bees.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
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🐝 French Beekeepers Sue Bayer/Monsanto on Glyphosate in Honey
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2018, 12:47:15 AM »
https://beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/2018/06/french-beekeepers-sue-bayer-monsanto-glyphosate-honey-u-s-court-allows-glyphosate-contamination-honey-labeled-100-pure/

French Beekeepers Sue Bayer/Monsanto on Glyphosate in Honey; U.S. Court Allows Glyphosate Contamination of Honey Labeled “100% Pure”

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2018) Some 200 members of a French beekeeping cooperative in the northern Aisne region have sued Bayer — on the same day the giant chemical company’s acquisition of Monsanto was finalized — after discovering that their honey was contaminated with toxic glyphosate, a known endocrine disruptor and probable human carcinogen (according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer). Monsanto is the long-time manufacturer of Roundup, the popular glyphosate pesticide; Bayer now owns not only the company, but also, the liabilities that come with it, including the “Monsanto” name. Environmental activists had denounced the merger, which creates an agrichemical leviathan that promotes use of chemical herbicides and genetically engineered/modified (GE/GMO) seeds.

The beekeepers’ suit was filed in early June after Famille Michaud, a large French honey marketer, detected glyphosate contamination in three batches from one of the coop’s members — whose hives happen to border large fields of rapeseed, beets, and sunflowers. Glyphosate is commonly used in French agriculture; President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to ban its use by 2021.

Emmanuel Ludot, a lawyer for the cooperative, is looking for an outcome that includes mandated investigation of the extent of glyphosate contamination of honey, and of health consequences the pesticide represents for people. Mr. Ludot said, “It’s also a matter of knowing how widespread this might be. Famille Michaud tells me this isn’t an isolated case.” Familles Michaud president Vincent Michaud noted that “we regularly detect foreign substances, including glyphosate. Usually, beekeepers will say, ‘In that case I’ll sell the honey at a roadside stand or a market,’ where there’s no quality control. But this beekeeper had the courage to say, ‘I’m not going to be like everyone else, I’m going to file suit against Monsanto.’”

French beekeepers are not alone in pushing back on glyphosate contamination of honey. Stateside, several organizations and individuals have approached the issue with a different strategy. Rather than suing the manufacturer, in November 2016, Beyond Pesticides, along with the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), brought suit against Sioux Honey Association (Sue Bee Honey) in Superior Court in Washington, DC for deceptive and misleading labeling of its products. The suit, which followed revelations that Sue Bee honey products labeled “100% Pure” and “Natural” tested positive for glyphosate residue, claimed that Sioux Honey’s labeling and marketing practices violated the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act. Plaintiffs’ argument was that consumers expect a product labeled “100% Pure” and “Natural” to contain only honey, and that contamination of the product makes that labeling deceptive and misleading.

The introduction to the filed complaint says, “Beekeepers are often the victims of, and have little recourse against, contamination of their hives caused by pesticide applications in the fields where bees forage. Given the failure of current law to protect beekeepers, retailers like Sioux Honey can and should use their market power to promote practices that protect beekeepers from contamination to ensure that consumers are provided products free of glyphosate and other pesticide residues. . . . Unless the paradigm of modern agriculture is shifted, however, synthetic chemicals will continue to contaminate everyday consumer products, and until that time, producers, distributors, and retailers of food products must be mindful of the fact that products containing such contaminants are not ‘natural’ or ‘pure,’ as a reasonable consumer would define the terms, and it is unlawful to label or advertise them as such.”

The intent of the suit was, broadly, to highlight the issue of pesticide contamination in the food supply. OCA director Ronnie Cummins said, “Regardless of how these products came to be contaminated, Sioux Honey has an obligation to . . . prevent the contamination, disclose the contamination, or at the very least, remove these deceptive labels.” Beyond Pesticides and OCA lost the case. In March 2017, Associate Judge William Jackson of the DC Superior Court granted Sioux Honey’s motion to dismiss, finding that there was no evidence consumers had been misled by Sioux’s labeling on the honey. He also found that the trace amounts of glyphosate in the honey “were not ingredients or additives because the chemical had been introduced into the products by bees carrying it back to the hive rather than something the company added during production.” The judge found that the court did not believe that consumers expect “pure” honey to be free from small amounts of glyphosate. Beyond Pesticides has not yet announced next steps in the case, but is determined, on all fronts, to highlight the fact that our food supply is being contaminated by glyphosate (and other pesticides).

In a similar case brought before a District Court in California — Susan Tran v. Sioux Honey Association, Cooperative — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded to an order by Judge Josephine Staton, of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, asking FDA to determine whether and in what circumstances honey containing glyphosate may or may not be labeled “Pure” or “100% Pure.” The FDA declined to provide a determination, saying “FDA’s role is to ensure that pesticide chemical residues on or in food are lawful because they do not exceed the limits established by EPA or, if present on or in foods without a tolerance, EPA has established an exemption from the need for a tolerance. . . . Any food that bears or contains a pesticide chemical residue that is not within the limits of a tolerance established by EPA, or is not exempted from the need for a tolerance, is adulterated. . . . EPA has established tolerances for glyphosate on such crops as corn, soybean, oil seeds, grains, and some fruits and vegetables, EPA has not established any tolerances or exemptions for glyphosate in honey. FDA understands that EPA’s review of the safety of glyphosate is ongoing. FDA intends to consider the need for any appropriate actions with regard to glyphosate findings in honey in consultation with EPA.”

Essentially, FDA declined to issue a determination based on a lack of clarity about whether or not the presence of glyphosate residues in honey is lawful. Because EPA has issued neither a tolerance level, nor an exemption from such tolerance, for glyphosate, FDA asserts that its presence is in a sort “legal limbo” until, apparently, EPA decides to take up the matter. Beyond Pesticides contends that the lack of an established tolerance means that glyphosate should not be present in honey. Oddly, one of FDA’s points in its letter — “Any food that bears or contains a pesticide chemical residue that is not within the limits of a tolerance established by EPA, or is not exempted from the need for a tolerance, is adulterated” — would appear to support the contention of the plaintiffs.

The real and lasting solution is, of course, to disallow EPA registration of pesticides that will (or can) contaminate the food supply. Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman notes, “It is our hope that beekeepers in the U.S. will, as did those in France, join the effort to push back against the registration of pesticides that invade the environment and cause indiscriminate poisoning and contamination. Until that is achieved, it is misleading to label contaminated food — especially food without a tolerance — as ‘100% pure’ or ‘natural.’”

Beyond Pesticides works to educate the public and policy makers about the issues that attend pesticide use, and the multiplicity of impacts pesticides cause, or to which they contribute. See these Beyond Pesticides website pages, in particular: Center for Community Pesticide and Alternatives Information, Organic Agriculture, the Daily News Blog, and its journal, Pesticides and You. For more on pollinators and action steps you can take to protect them, go to Beyond Pesticides’ National Pollinator Week actions.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: https://www.afp.com/en/news/826/french-beekeepers-accuse-bayer-after-glyphosate-found-honey-doc-15q7rk1
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🐛 The Bugs Are Coming, and They’ll Want More of Our Food
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2018, 12:01:03 AM »
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/climate/insects-eating-more-crops.html

The Bugs Are Coming, and They’ll Want More of Our Food

Climate change is expected to make insect pests hungrier, which could encourage farmers to use more pesticides.

A European corn borer caterpillar. Many insects get hungrier and reproduce more quickly in warmer temperatures.CreditCreditScott Camazine/Science Source

Kendra Pierre-Louis

By Kendra Pierre-Louis

    Aug. 30, 2018

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Ever since humans learned to wrest food from soil, creatures like the corn earworm, the grain weevil and the bean fly have dined on our agricultural bounty. Worldwide, insect pests consume up to 20 percent of the plants that humans grow for food, and that amount will increase as global warming makes bugs hungrier, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

That could encourage farmers to use more pesticides, which could cause further environmental harm, scientists said.

For every degree Celsius (two degrees Fahrenheit) that temperatures rise above the global historical average, the amount of wheat, corn, and rice lost to insects will increase by 10 to 25 percent, the study says. Temperate agricultural regions, like those in the United States and Western Europe, would be particularly hard hit.

The international Paris Agreement is designed to keep warming below two degrees Celsius, but the world’s countries are far off track from meeting that goal.

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By eating such a large amount of crops in the field, “insects have consumed something like one out of every eight loaves of bread before it even gets made,” said Curtis Deutsch, a professor of chemical oceanography at the University of Washington and an author of the study. “If we warmed four degrees, which is what climate models typically predict for the end of this century, then that amounts to insects eating two of our eight loaves of bread instead of one.”

Higher temperatures speed many insects’ metabolisms, making them eat more. Their life cycles also get faster, causing them to reproduce more quickly. Both effects would diminish crop yields even as the human population continues to increase, putting additional strains on the global food supply, the study says.
More on Climate Change and Food
How More Carbon Dioxide Can Make Food Less Nutritious
May 23, 2018
How Climate Change Is Playing Havoc With Olive Oil (and Farmers)
Oct. 24, 2017

To arrive at their estimates, Dr. Deutsch and his colleagues used statistical models to simulate the effects of global warming on insect feeding and reproduction. They focused on wheat, corn and rice crops because they account for 42 percent of the calories directly consumed by humans.

Other factors could help mitigate crop losses. Beneficial insects could also thrive in a warmer climate, said Michael Hoffmann, a professor of entomology and executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, who was not involved in the study. Those insects could end up “offering some suppression of the pests, so that the damage may not be as great as they are suggesting,” Dr. Hoffmann said.

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Still, higher temperatures can spell bad news for thirsty crops regardless of insect activity. A study last year in the journal Nature Communications found that the pressures from increased summer temperatures could lead to a significant decline in agricultural yields. This summer’s European heat wave, which is in keeping with patterns of climate change, reduced Germany’s grain production by roughly 20 percent.

That study found that improved irrigation could offset at least some of the losses. But it is less clear if insecticides could help stave off multiplying pests.

“The one out of eight loaves of bread that we currently lose already reflects what we can do to manage crop losses to insects,” said Dr. Deutsch. Pesticides could help where they’re not already in use, but in other regions, “there’s a real question as to whether or not they’re already at their maximum effectiveness,” he said.

In addition, pesticides can unintentionally harm other organisms, and some have been linked to human health problems. Their manufacture, transport and use also contribute to global warming.

Dr. Deutsch said the real solution was to drastically reduce the level of greenhouse gases that humans emit. “If you want to solve a big problem with a million tendrils, you have to go to the root of it,” he said. “Otherwise, you’re manufacturing a million Band-Aids. I don’t think that’s feasible. It’s also much harder.”

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.
EDITORS’ PICKS
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Kendra Pierre-Louis is a reporter on the climate team. Before joining The Times in 2017, she covered science and the environment for Popular Science. @kendrawrites
A version of this article appears in print on Aug. 30, 2018, on Page A9 of the New York edition with the headline: The Bugs Are Coming And Want Our Food. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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🦟 Giant mosquitoes emerge in North Carolina post-Florence
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2018, 05:18:07 PM »
https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/09/health/giant-mosquitoes-north-carolina-hurricane-bn/index.html

Giant mosquitoes emerge in North Carolina post-Florence

By Susan Scutti, CNN

Updated 1:59 PM ET, Tue October 9, 2018


Giant mosquitoes multiplying after Florence

 
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Story highlights

    The giant mosquitoes have zebra legs and are two to three times as big as normal bloodsuckers
    They are not known to carry human diseases

(CNN)Ouch! The floodwaters that followed Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in North Carolina on September 14, have spawned thousands of mega-mosquitoes across the state, according to entomologists.
These giants have zebra-striped legs and are two to three times as big as the normal bloodsuckers encountered during summer, said Michael H. Reiskind, an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University. "Definitely noticeably bigger," he said. "If you see mosquitoes often, then you're going to say, 'Wow, that's a big mosquito.' "
A gallinipper compared with a penny.
A gallinipper compared with a penny.
The good news is that this species, called Psorophora ciliata by scientists but commonly known as "gallinippers," are not likely to make anyone sick, Reiskind said. "They can carry dog heartworm, but in general, they don't actually carry human diseases."

"That being said, being bitten by a giant mosquito or being bitten hundreds of times by a giant mosquito can be, in and of itself, a public health issue," he said. Some people also have more severe reactions to bites. "It can be truly disturbing. I have an 8-year-old son who reacts really badly to mosquito bites."
Reiskind explained that whether mosquito bites are painful or lasting varies between people for such reasons as individual immune system responses and previous experience with a mosquito species. In the case of the gallinippers, though, "big mosquito, big proboscis -- that's the mouth part that bites," he said. "It's a painful bite."
The species is native throughout the eastern United States, all the way up to southern Ontario, according to Reiskind. "In general, they're pretty rare, I would say, under normal circumstances. But when you get hurricanes, you get such a large boom in the population from the flood that suddenly, everybody notices them."
Experts are waiting to see whether Hurricane Michael has any effect on the gallinippers.
Experts are waiting to see whether Hurricane Michael has any effect on the gallinippers.
The species breeds more when there's more standing water, and generally, they prefer "grassy areas that flood, so that could be agricultural fields, wet meadows, marshes," said Reiskind, who believes that the species has "probably adapted to these periods of time when you have massive flooding on the landscape."
In most years, the females will produce lots of eggs, but most of those will die. "But they can withstand drying out really well, so when it does flood, the eggs are out there waiting to hatch," he said.
Military research raises concerns about bioterror attack ... by insects
Military research raises concerns about bioterror attack ... by insects
Scientists are waiting to see what happens if North Carolina get hits by another hurricane, Reiskind said. It could be that all the eggs laid as a result of Hurricane Florence will hatch and the state will have twice the problem it has now, or the eggs may not until after winter, which is not uncommon in a lot of insects.
"We really don't know what will happen," he said. "This species have not been well-studied in this situation."
There are close to 4,000 species of mosquitoes in the world and at least 61 species in North Carolina alone, and each is slightly different, so there's a lot that remains unknown about these bloodsucking pests.
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What is known is that last month, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered $4 million to fund mosquito control efforts.
Reiskind said that funding is "important" because often, after an initial wave of giant mosquitoes, a second wave occurs of other mosquitoes: "The kind we worry about more for the transmission of human disease," including West Nile virus. "They often come out after that initial wave, so right now, essentially.

"If Hurricane Michael hits us again really hard, I don't know what that is going to do."
Hurricane Michael is forecast to bring tropical winds and rain to North Carolina on Thursday. That's why we need entomologists, he said. "It's not important till something happens, and then suddenly, it's like, 'We need to know this stuff!' "
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🦋 California Monarch Butterfly Numbers Decline 86% in 2 Years
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2019, 12:53:49 AM »
https://ktla.com/2019/01/06/california-monarch-butterfly-numbers-decline-86-in-2-years/

California Monarch Butterfly Numbers Decline 86% in 2 Years
Posted 1:00 PM, January 6, 2019, by Associated Press


A Monarch butterfly rests on a flower in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, 2010. (Credit: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Researchers with an environmental group have labeled as “disturbingly low” the number of western monarch butterflies that migrate along the California coast.

A recent count by the Xerces Society recorded fewer than 30,000 butterflies, which it said is an 86 percent decline since 2017.

By comparison, the group in 1981 counted more than 1 million western monarchs wintering in California, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The Xerces Society conducts annual Thanksgiving and New Year’s counts and was not certain what caused the numbers to drop. It said there is no substantial evidence of a delayed migration and butterflies are not being reported in other parts of the country.

A 2017 study by Washington State University researchers found the species likely will go extinct in the next few decades if nothing is done to save it.

Scientists say the butterflies are threatened by pesticides, herbicides and destruction along their migratory route. They also have noted climate change impacts.

University of Michigan and Stanford University researchers found carbon dioxide from car and factory exhaust reduced a natural toxin in milkweed that feeding caterpillars use to fight parasites.

Western monarch butterflies are typically seen from November to March in forested groves along the California coast.
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Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2019, 06:00:15 AM »
Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’
Scientist returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished.



El Yunque national forest in Sierra de Luquillo, Puerto Rico. Photograph: Stuart Westmorland/Corbis/Getty Images

Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished

Environment editor

“We knew that something was amiss in the first couple days,” said Brad Lister. “We were driving into the forest and at the same time both Andres and I said: ‘Where are all the birds?’ There was nothing.”

His return to the Luquillo rainforest in Puerto Rico after 35 years was to reveal an appalling discovery. The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming.

“It was just astonishing,” Lister said. “Before, both the sticky ground plates and canopy plates would be covered with insects. You’d be there for hours picking them off the plates at night. But now the plates would come down after 12 hours in the tropical forest with a couple of lonely insects trapped or none at all.”

“It was a true collapse of the insect populations in that rainforest,” he said. “We began to realise this is terrible – a very, very disturbing result.”

The El Yunque national forest
The El Yunque national forest. Photograph: Alisha Bube/Getty Images

Earth’s bugs outweigh humans 17 times over and are such a fundamental foundation of the food chain that scientists say a crash in insect numbers risks “ecological Armageddon”. When Lister’s study was published in October, one expert called the findings “hyper-alarming”.

The Puerto Rico work is one of just a handful of studies assessing this vital issue, but those that do exist are deeply worrying. Flying insect numbers in Germany’s natural reserves have plunged 75% in just 25 years. The virtual disappearance of birds in an Australian eucalyptus forest was blamed on a lack of insects caused by drought and heat. Lister and his colleague Andrés García also found that insect numbers in a dry forest in Mexico had fallen 80% since the 1980s.

“We are essentially destroying the very life support systems that allow us to sustain our existence on the planet, along with all the other life on the planet,” Lister said. “It is just horrifying to watch us decimate the natural world like this.”

It was not insects that drew Lister to the Luquillo rainforest for the first time in the mid-1970s. “I was interested in competition among the anoles lizards,” he said. “They’re the most diverse group of vertebrates in the world and even by that time had become a paradigm for ecology and evolutionary studies.”

La Mina river cascades over rocks in El Yunque national forest
La Mina river in El Yunque national forest. Photograph: Raul Touzon/NG/Getty Images

The forest immediately captivated Lister, a lecturer at Rensselaer Polytechnic University in the US. “It was and still is the most beautiful forest I have ever been in. It’s almost enchanted. There’s the lush verdant forest and cascading waterfalls, and along the roadsides there are carpets of multicoloured flowers. It’s a phantasmagoric landscape.”

It was important to measure insect numbers, as these are the lizards’ main food, but at the time he thought nothing more of it. Returning to the national park decades later, however, the difference was startling.

“One of the things I noticed in the forest was a lack of butterflies,” he said. “They used to be all along the roadside, especially after the rain stopped, hundreds upon hundreds of them. But we couldn’t see one butterfly.”

Since Lister’s first visits to Luquillo, other scientists had predicted that tropical insects, having evolved in a very stable climate, would be much more sensitive to climate warming. “If you go a little bit past the thermal optimum for tropical insects, their fitness just plummets,” he said.

As the data came in, the predictions were confirmed in startling fashion. “The number of hot spells, temperatures above 29C, have increased tremendously,” he said. “It went from zero in the 1970s up to something like 44% of the days.” Factors important elsewhere in the world, such as destruction of habitat and pesticide use, could not explain the plummeting insect populations in Luquillo, which has long been a protected area.

Data on other animals that feed on bugs backed up the findings. “The frogs and birds had also declined simultaneously by about 50% to 65%,” Lister said. The population of one dazzling green bird that eats almost nothing but insects, the Puerto Rican tody, dropped by 90%.

A Puerto Rican tody
A Puerto Rican tody. Photograph: W arissen/Getty Images

Lister calls these impacts a “bottom-up trophic cascade”, in which the knock-on effects of the insect collapse surge up through the food chain.

“I don’t think most people have a systems view of the natural world,” he said. “But it’s all connected and when the invertebrates are declining the entire food web is going to suffer and degrade. It is a system-wide effect.”

To understand the global scale of an insect collapse that has so far only been glimpsed, Lister says, there is an urgent need for much more research in many more habitats. “More data, that is my mantra,” he said.

The problem is that there were very few studies of insect numbers in past decades to serve as a baseline, but Lister is undeterred: “There’s no time like the present to start asking what’s going on.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Official Insect Thread
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2019, 03:19:53 PM »
Typically when we have a wet winter here in the Mohave, we have an abundant spring.

Loads of wild flowers & insects for the food chain.

This year, so far we've had a wet winter. If the trend continues the animals should fair well. We shall see.

My thoughts are watching the UV index to see how much radiation damage comes with the spring warmth. This is where the insects loose out.

High UV, minimal insect procreation.
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Ants build superhighways without bosses or blueprints
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2019, 08:24:22 AM »



Leafcutter ants need neither a master plan nor a leader to build lengthy trails. The construction and clearing of their sophisticated highways, it turns out, relies mainly on independent efforts that add up to unintentional teamwork.

Many leafcutter ants of the genus Atta use a complex trail system — which can include many kilometres of paths — to transport pieces of leaf to their nests. The ants create these highways by removing debris from prospective trails and flattening the soil.

To better understand this feat of engineering, Thomas Bochynek at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and his colleagues used paper barricades to block ant trails in the lab and in a tropical rainforest in Costa Rica. The team observed the insects’ reactions and recreated their behaviour on a computer.

The scientists did not observe any ‘boss’ ants telling others to pick up litter. Instead, the clean-up seemed to result from many ants making an independent decision to tackle the mess.



https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00227-5
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Re: Official Insect Thread
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2019, 11:28:14 AM »


The Wallace’s Giant Bee and Galápagos Giant Tortoise have both been rediscovered in a matter of weeks.

While completely unrelated, 2 synchronistic wildlife discoveries have been made related to giant animals which were thought to be extinct.

https://truththeory.com/2019/02/23/extinct-giant-bee-and-tortoise-both-rediscovered-in-a-matter-of-weeks/
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🐝 Of Insects and Men
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2019, 12:51:12 AM »
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2019/02/27/of-insects-and-men/

Of Insects and Men

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.
We share this planet; we do not own it.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HELP THE PLANET TODAY?

DATELINE: 02/27/2019


(Javier Aznar)

by EVAGGELOS VALLIANATOS

Invisible denizens — everywhere

Insects are all over the world – in and over the waters at the edge of the seas, in and over the waters of lakes, rivers and creeks and swamps and irrigation ditches. They thrive in the forests, mountains, deserts, land, cities, villages, in the tropics and in the homes of the poor and the powerful. Their populations are the largest of all other species. They have been occupying the Earth for 400 million years.

However, insects are tiny, short-lived organisms, hiding for the most part under the surface of the land, crawling in the floor, among rocks, and on everything that has roots, trunk or leaves. So, unless they are beautiful like the Monarch butterflies and obviously very useful like honeybees, insects are invisible.

We call scientists who study insects entomologists from the Greek word for insect, entomon, something that is divided in parts. Aristotle gave this name to insects, saying these parts or notches are on the bellies or the backs and bellies of insects. He studied honeybees and mayflies and some other five-hundred animals in his pioneering zoological research. He founded science and biology as we know them.He urged us to study and love animals because we live in their midst. They make up the natural world, which is absolutely essential for human survival and happiness.

Entomologists are confirming the science and wisdom of Aristotle. They have been saying insects hold ecosystems together. By ecosystems they mean large parts of the natural world: mountains, lakes, rivers, creeks, swamps, seas, deserts, and land. Insects work hard to survive and, in that process, they keep the natural world healthy.

For example, honeybees, wild bees, bumblebees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies pollinate wild flowers and crops. Dragonflies and damsel flies feast on water bugs, mosquitoes, and insects causing damage to crops. Dung beetles keep grasslands fertile. Other beetles decompose wood, thus recycling its nutrients.

Ground beetles eat weed seeds. And along with tiger beetles — like butterflies – they mirror biodiversity. In other words, if they are thriving, the entire ecosystem is healthy. But if their numbers are declining, watch out. A bigger problem is threatening nature.

The staggering decline of insects

A recent study reviewed 73 reports that focused on that bigger problem: the dramatic and staggering worldwide decline of insects, especially in the twenty-first century.

This timely and extremely important review appeared in the January 2019 issue of Biological Conservation. The scientists who reviewed the data on the global decline and extinction of insects work at the University of Sydney, Australia, and the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, China.

This study speaks of the “alarming… demise” of insects: something like 41 percent being in decline and about a third going extinct.

This decline affects all insects everywhere. It is the largest extinction on Earth since the Permian and Cretaceous periods, 299 million years ago and 145 million years ago respectively. This catastrophic decline and extinction of insects are bad omens for  civilization.

Fewer bugs and a continuing extinction of bugs disrupt pollination, the raising of food, the recycling of nutrients, and the fertility of grasslands. Furthermore, they are damaging and crippling natural pest control, whereby insects eat other insects, usually those insect pests that cause damage to crops grown for human food.

Another deadly consequence of the man-made destruction of insects is the starvation and extinction of several animals feeding on insects: shrews, moles, hedgehogs, anteaters, lizards, amphibians, several birds, bats and some fish. Not a few humans are also affected. In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that about 2 billion people include insects in their traditional diet.

The deadly ecological effects of wiping out insects became obvious in the UK when grey partridges starved to death. They could not find insects to feed their chicks.

The 2019 review rightly identifies “intensive farming” and its deleterious pesticides as one of the main “drivers” of insect decline and extinction.

But what is intensive farming? It’s the violent metamorphosis of peasant farming to a factory armed with chemicals and  giant mechanical implements. It entails the growing of genetically engineered crops requiring, usually, the heavy and repeated application of synthetic fertilizers and weed killers, the removal of hedgerows and trees and, otherwise, the landscaping of large flat fields to accommodate irrigation, drainage, and large machines.

However, this kind of farming produces a great deal of the same food in great expanses of land, which attracts hordes of insects. Thus intensive farming is a heaven, though laced with poisons, for billions of flying and crawling insects and a hell for beneficial insects: pollinators, insect natural enemies, and nutrient recyclers.

For example, wild bees and bumblebees need flowers and places to nest and hibernate. No such necessities and comforts exist in modern industrialized farms. Is there any wonder the mechanized chemical plantation is the enemy of insects? It is devoid of flowers and safety. It is killing pollinators and leading them to extinction.

Some synthetic pesticides are nerve poisons. They are primarily responsible for driving honeybees to dramatic declines and, eventually, extinction.

Pesticides are destroying insects

The 2019 report concludes its review with this unsettling message:

The state of insect biodiversity in the world is “dreadful.” Almost half of the insects are “rapidly declining” and “a third are threatened with extinction.” Such a prospect, now in the arms of global warming, will have catastrophic effects on the ecosystems of the planet: in time, there probably will not be any more pollinators; land is increasingly becoming toxic and toxified; no more recycling of nutrients; extinction of birds and animals feeding on insects, and the eventual impossibility of farming.

The more farm chemicals, the more crop infestations by insect pests, including weeds, tolerant of pesticides. The root cause of this gigantic problem, the report admits, is the “intensification of agriculture.”

Ecological engineering

The authors then resort to recommending some measures that, if taken, could perhaps slow down the decline and extinction of insects. These include: strips of flowers and grassland at the edges of the farms. The hope here is to attract pollinators.

Second, crop rotation with clover to resurrect bumblebees. Sowing clover also fights erosion, fixes nitrogen, improves soil quality and attracts beneficial insects.

These ecological engineering modifications might also revitalize biological control: good insects eating bad insect pests. But these limited measures would go nowhere with constant sprays. So, the report urges that “current pesticide usage patterns, mainly insecticides and fungicides, are reduced to a minimum.”

The report recognizes that reducing pesticides, even cutting down drastically the amounts of sprayed insecticides, will have very little if any effects on crop yields.

The report also recommends the regulation of pollution for the rehabilitation of marshlands. Cleaner water would do wonders for aquatic insects.

No more pesticides
These suggestions are a first step in the management of the decline and extinction of insects and, therefore, the potential recovery of beneficial insects that have been serving the natural world and civilization.

A beekeeper from Colorado named Tom Theobald spent 44 years fighting the excessive use of pesticides harming his honeybees. However, he lost all his hives. He blames the neonicotinoid insecticides (made in Germany) for the death of his bees. He is very disillusioned and angry.

In a mid-February 2019 message, he lashed at the industry and the government. He went further, accusing government employees of potential malfeasance. And he suggested that the 1970 federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act might just be the legal means by which to judge corruption associated with the manufacture, use, and regulation of pesticides.

Unless we face what these pesticides do to the natural world and human health, in other words, address the problem at its most fundamental, he said, nothing will happen. The profit motive is so strong that the chemical industry will keep churning these poisons forever. The next generation will confront similar pain, disease and loss.

I sympathize with Theobald. He fought the good fight all his life and for that virtue he was crushed. However, he has it all wrong about government workers. Federal employees have nothing to do with any “chemical mafia” or why neurotoxic neonicotinoids are devastating honeybees. The only bureaucrats at EPA who decide the fate of pesticides are presidential appointees.

Pesticides, however, are inherent toxic and problematic. Those who own them, those who test them, and those who sell them, are most likely wrapped in unethical actions. It’s the nature of the beast. You can’t convert a neurotoxin to anything other than a neurotoxin. It does not matter what tests you perform or what grades you get from the regulators.

Yet, the US Environmental Protection Agency has been “regulating” these chemicals since 1970. Scientists and administrators know what is going on.

Even the law that gives pesticides legal standing, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, was drafted by polluters. It has loopholes that cover up and legitimize actions and policies that turn out to be hazardous, nay dangerous. After all, pesticides are chemicals designed to kill and, no less significant, chemicals spawned by chemical warfare.

Politics of change
Banning pesticides would be a first step in reversing the insect collapse. Much more is necessary to settle the war between civilization and the insects. The deadly conflict must end. Man must learn if not to love insects, but to respect them. They have been on Earth about 390 million years longer than man. They know things he does not.

This philosophy is incompatible with the prevailing chemical and political orthodoxy that the best insect is a dead insect. Intensive farming wants all insects dead. Thousands of urban “pest-control” businesses are killing insects every day. Add the rest of the world, and you have millions of such businesses killing insects. This is foolish and dangerous.

In 2019, the Trump administration is fueling the politics and economics of the rapacious one tenth of one percent oligarchy. This is a tiny class of billionaires that have been making this country the mother of extreme inequality.

Much of this ignorance has been entering the EPA, converting it to be even more than in the past the best friend of polluters. The Trump EPA administrators embraced deregulation, which means they are telling polluters they are free to dump their toxic stuff everywhere. They also deny climate change. They even encourage bizarre schemes like small amounts of toxic chemicals are good for you.

If the Democrats win the White House and the Senate in 2020, they could order EPA to ban pesticides and the genetic engineering of crops. EPA then could support its environmental and public health mission: helping farmers to return to non-chemical, small-scale, sustainable family farming. The US Department of Agriculture could use its enormous agribusiness subsidies to help in the necessary transition from giant agriculture to family farming. Such reform would increase the number of farmers to millions; it would also revitalize rural America with democratic small farms and a variety of crops that would also allow the insects to return and embark, once again, to the restoration of ecosystems.

Agroecology

Agroecology would be essential in this transition. It’s the technical part of policy.

Miguel Altieri, professor of agroecology at the University of California-Berkeley, speaks of the “uncanny ability of pests to overcome [the] single-tactic control strategies” of large industrialized farms. He says agroecology is the science of sustainable agriculture.

This science explains and guides how to protect and conserve biological diversity and integrate it with food production. This means the farmer is thinking and doing ecological pest management: worrying about the whole farm, not exterminating all pests, but managing them at reasonable levels: using “many little hammers or strategies, rather than one big hammer.”

After all, beneficial insects are protecting the farm: they attack crop insects and mites; good parasites “commandeer” bad insects for food and habitat; beneficial fungi and bacteria making their homes in root surfaces, which they protect from disease.

So, we have the knowledge and the tools to return to  sustainable farming that will take advantage of the “built-in defenses” in the natural world. Insects are part of this equilibrium and strategy.

Now it’s a matter of political choice to work with nature, in which case, we can probably end the decline and extinction of insects and face, with equal determination, our next nemesis of rising global temperatures.

NOTE: These extraordinary images were taken by Spanish biologist/conservationist Javier Aznar, who obviously is as much a scientist as he is an artist. He can be reached at http://javieraznarphotography.com/index.php/portfolio/
and info@javieraznarphotography.com

About the Author
Evaggelos Vallianatos is a historian and environmental strategist. Educated in zoology and history at the University of Illinois, receiving a BA in zoology and a MA in Medieval Greek history. He earned a doctorate in European-Greek history at the University of Wisconsin. He did postdoctoral studies in the history of science at Harvard. He worked on Capitol Hill for 2 years and at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. He is the author of hundreds of articles and 6 books, including “Poison Spring,” with Mckay Jenkings.
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Re: Official Insect Thread
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2019, 12:50:12 PM »

Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why
POSTED ON FEBRUARY 12, 2019
By Michael Snyder

Scientists are telling us that we have entered “the sixth major extinction” in the history of our planet.  A brand new survey of 73 scientific reports that was just released has come to the conclusion that the total number of insects on the globe is falling by 2.5 percent per year.  If we stay on this current pace, the survey warns that there might not be “any insects at all” by the year 2119.  And since insects are absolutely critical to the worldwide food chain, that has extremely ominous implications for all of us.

I write a lot about the inevitable collapse of our economic systems, but it could definitely be argued that our environment is already in a very advanced stage of “collapse”.  According to this new research, insects are going extinct at a rate that is “eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles”…

    The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

    More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

Perhaps the entire world will come together and will stop destroying the planet and we can reverse this trend before it is too late.

Unfortunately, you and I both know that this is extremely unlikely to happen.

And if it doesn’t happen, the researchers that conducted this scientific review insist that the consequences will be “catastrophic to say the least”…

    The researchers set out their conclusions in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper: “The [insect] trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting [on] life forms on our planet.

    “Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” they write. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”

The clock is ticking, and time is running out for our planet.

Assuming that we could somehow keep the global insect decline from accelerating even more, we probably only have about 100 years before they are all gone…

    Chillingly, the total mass of insects is falling by 2.5 percent annually, the review’s authors said. If the decline continues at this rate, insects could be wiped off the face of the Earth within a century.

    “It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none,” study co-author Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, an environmental biologist at the University of Sydney, Australia, told The Guardian.

So what would a planet without insects look like?

Well, according to Francisco Sánchez-Bayo of the University of Sydney, millions upon millions of birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish would “starve to death”…

    One of the biggest impacts of insect loss is on the many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that eat insects. “If this food source is taken away, all these animals starve to death,” he said. Such cascading effects have already been seen in Puerto Rico, where a recent study revealed a 98% fall in ground insects over 35 years.

And without bees and other pollinators, humans would be in a world of hurt.  You may have heard that Albert Einstein once said the following…

    If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.

With that statement in mind, I would like for you to consider what this new study discovered about the decline of bee colonies in the United States…

    The study suggested that bee species in the UK, Denmark, and North America have taken major hits — bumblebees, honey bees, and wild bee species are all declining. In the US, the number of honey-bee colonies dropped from 6 million in 1947 to 2.5 million just six decades later.

We aren’t there yet, but a food chain cataclysm is literally right around the corner.

So why is all of this happening?

Modern methods of agriculture, urbanization and pesticides are some of the factors being blamed, but the truth is that scientists don’t actually know exactly why insects are dying off so quickly.

And none of those factors directly impact our oceans, and yet scientists have discovered that phytoplankton is declining at an exponential rate.  As a result of that decline, seabird populations have been plummeting at a pace that is extremely alarming.  The following comes from Chris Martenson…

    Fewer phytoplankton means less thiamine being produced. That means less thiamine is available to pass up the food chain. Next thing you know, there’s a 70% decline in seabird populations.

    This is something I’ve noticed directly and commented on during my annual pilgrimages to the northern Maine coast over the past 30 years, where seagulls used to be extremely common and are now practically gone. Seagulls!

    Next thing you know, some other major food chain will be wiped out and we’ll get oceans full of jellyfish instead of actual fish.

A global collapse is not something that is coming in the distant future.

A global collapse is here, and it is happening right in front of our eyes.

Our environment is literally dying all around us, and without our environment we cannot survive.

If humanity cannot solve this crisis, and we all know that they cannot, then an extremely apocalyptic future awaits for all of us.


https://www.naturalblaze.com/2019/02/insect-apocalypse-the-global-food-chain-is-experiencing-a-major-extinction-event-and-scientists-dont-know-why.html
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