Where have all the insects gone?

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Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Witness » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:23 am

Just what the title says: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05 ... sects-gone.

Tl; dr: it looks bad, but part of the evidence is (still) anecdotal.

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by sparks » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:38 am

Silent Spring. Rachel was wrong about the cause and a little late, but here it is.



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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Doctor X » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:51 am

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:11 am

Purely anecdotal, but I have noticed no lack of insects now that it is spring.
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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:12 am

If we're going to go anecdotal, I too have noticed a huge decrease since I stopped going outside. I suppose the folks to ask would be long haul truckers. Their ancient memories and folklore should yield a wealth of data points.

It's an interesting observation worthy of fear mongering further study.

On a serious note, even if they've never tracked it before, there ought to be some sort of proxy for the past and present measure.

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Anaxagoras » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:06 pm

They all came here.

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by sparks » Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:30 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:Purely anecdotal, but I have noticed no lack of insects now that it is spring.
Local weather conditions do not invalidate AGW. You are quite clearly living in a 'bug island'.
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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:52 pm

sparks wrote: You are quite clearly living in a 'bug island'.
Emphasis added.

A good name for a punk rock band. :P
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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Bruce » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:05 pm

Evolution.

The surviving insects went on to produce offspring with the inherited trait of knowing how not end up splattered all over my windshield. :wink:
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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:53 pm

Bruce wrote:Evolution.

The surviving insects went on to produce offspring with the inherited trait of knowing how not end up splattered all over my windshield. :wink:
Insect denier.

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by robinson » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:05 pm

Just ask Mark Hostetler. He drove 11,000 miles around the country with a net strapped to the top of his '84 Honda Accord to conduct his research. He also visited Greyhound stations at night to examine the front of more than 50 buses.
"Every third bite of food you eat has been pollinated by an insect," he said. "Fruit, veggies, even nuts. You wouldn't have them without the service of insects."

But Bill Todaro, entomologist with the Allegheny County Health Department, believes that the book on highway splats should have been written decades ago.

"Maybe in Florida there's still a lot of them, but in most of the rest of the country the bug population has been reduced drastically," he said. "You hardly ever get bugs splattered on your windshield."

The reason: "There's overbuilding, our sprawl," he said. Now in his late 50s, Mr. Todaro recalled as a child growing up in this region having the family car covered with bug splats. "Today, you hardly see that."
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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
12:00 AM JUN 4, 2006
http://www.post-gazette.com/life/lifest ... 0606040158
Last edited by robinson on Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Rob Lister » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:16 pm

robinson wrote:Just ask Mark Hostetler. He drove 11,000 miles around the country with a net strapped to the top of his '84 Honda Accord to conduct his research. He also visited Greyhound stations at night to examine the front of more than 50 buses.
"Every third bite of food you eat has been pollinated by an insect," he said. "Fruit, veggies, even nuts. You wouldn't have them without the service of insects."

But Bill Todaro, entomologist with the Allegheny County Health Department, believes that the book on highway splats should have been written decades ago.

"Maybe in Florida there's still a lot of them, but in most of the rest of the country the bug population has been reduced drastically," he said. "You hardly ever get bugs splattered on your windshield."

The reason: "There's overbuilding, our sprawl," he said. Now in his late 50s, Mr. Todaro recalled as a child growing up in this region having the family car covered with bug splats. "Today, you hardly see that."
http://www.post-gazette.com/life/lifest ... 0606040158
And now for the rest of the story, same link
Yet John Rawlins, head of invertebrate zoology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, believes the difference in what people saw in the 1950s and '60s and today in bug splats is more complicated. He agrees with Mr. Todaro that the diversity of the bug population has declined, but not so much the density.

Dr. Rawlins speculates that the change in vehicle design -- from the boxy Ford Fairlanes with upright windshields to the more aerodynamic teardrop cars introduced in the '70s -- partly accounts for the decrease in splats on the windshield. "The bug gets into the laminar airflow and goes across the vehicle. It never has contact with the vehicle."

Also, land along high-speed highways are more manicured and are farther from dense bug habitats than they were years ago, which also accounts for the decline. "This has drastically decreased the bugs that wander out in the splat zone," he said.

Introduction of invasive species over the years also has reduced the mix of bugs. "But overall, we still have a rich, healthy diverse community of native bugs," he said.
So, yea, much ado 'bout little bugs. Perhaps we need a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Bug Change

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:39 pm

Whatever the problem with the environment, the solution is always more power in fewer less accountable hands.
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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by ed » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:25 pm

Rob Lister wrote:
robinson wrote:Just ask Mark Hostetler. He drove 11,000 miles around the country with a net strapped to the top of his '84 Honda Accord to conduct his research. He also visited Greyhound stations at night to examine the front of more than 50 buses.
"Every third bite of food you eat has been pollinated by an insect," he said. "Fruit, veggies, even nuts. You wouldn't have them without the service of insects."

But Bill Todaro, entomologist with the Allegheny County Health Department, believes that the book on highway splats should have been written decades ago.

"Maybe in Florida there's still a lot of them, but in most of the rest of the country the bug population has been reduced drastically," he said. "You hardly ever get bugs splattered on your windshield."

The reason: "There's overbuilding, our sprawl," he said. Now in his late 50s, Mr. Todaro recalled as a child growing up in this region having the family car covered with bug splats. "Today, you hardly see that."
http://www.post-gazette.com/life/lifest ... 0606040158
And now for the rest of the story, same link
Yet John Rawlins, head of invertebrate zoology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, believes the difference in what people saw in the 1950s and '60s and today in bug splats is more complicated. He agrees with Mr. Todaro that the diversity of the bug population has declined, but not so much the density.

Dr. Rawlins speculates that the change in vehicle design -- from the boxy Ford Fairlanes with upright windshields to the more aerodynamic teardrop cars introduced in the '70s -- partly accounts for the decrease in splats on the windshield. "The bug gets into the laminar airflow and goes across the vehicle. It never has contact with the vehicle."

Also, land along high-speed highways are more manicured and are farther from dense bug habitats than they were years ago, which also accounts for the decline. "This has drastically decreased the bugs that wander out in the splat zone," he said.

Introduction of invasive species over the years also has reduced the mix of bugs. "But overall, we still have a rich, healthy diverse community of native bugs," he said.
So, yea, much ado 'bout little bugs. Perhaps we need a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Bug Change
I'm on it.
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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Bruce » Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:55 am

I'm not planting a garden this summer, therefore no insecticides.

There, I did my part in this global effort. Can I have my ribbon now?

We need a ribbon of course. I recommend a yellowish-green color to match the bug-splat color.

I want a bumper sticker too, so I can feel superior to other people.
Such potential!

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Witness » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:15 am

Bruce wrote:Can I have my ribbon now?
Image

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Bruce » Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:38 am

And my bumper sticker? It's not a really a cause if it doesn't have a bumper sticker.
Image

I would also like to earn carbon bug credits that I can trade in for free coffee at Starbucks. I think one credit per hundred bug splats sounds fair.

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Yes, I'm about to take a sip of my [ahem] FREE coffee. My coffee is FREE because I'm saving the planet, unlike these other losers in line behind me.
Such potential!

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:15 pm

You all didn't think this was just going to go away, did you?
Insects Are In Serious Trouble

In western Germany, populations of flying insects have fallen by around 80 percent in the last three decades.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/arc ... no/543390/

Same story outline, pretty much. Different country focus, this time Germany. More evidence we are doomed. Your windshield be damned.

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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by gnome » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:53 pm

I've noticed a difference in one big way--twice a year around where I live now used to be massive "love bug" season. The air would be literally filled with connected pairs of little black bugs with orange eyes that were still flying while having fun.

It wasn't a huge deal because they were quiet and didn't bite, but they'd sure get on your car. Now it's been a very long time since I've seen even one.
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Re: Where have all the insects gone?

Post by Rob Lister » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:06 pm

gnome wrote:I've noticed a difference in one big way--twice a year around where I live now used to be massive "love bug" season. The air would be literally filled with connected pairs of little black bugs with orange eyes that were still flying while having fun.

It wasn't a huge deal because they were quiet and didn't bite, but they'd sure get on your car. Now it's been a very long time since I've seen even one.
Not the best anecdotal example. Lovebugs are recent immigrants to the U.S (circa 1911). To quote wiki
The species was first described in 1940 by D. E. Hardy, but was seen in Louisiana as early as 1911.[4] At that time, he reported the incidence of lovebugs to be widespread, but most common in Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.[2] ...

management
While it often took decades, lovebug flights are no longer present in the huge numbers that once existed simply because their natural controls (mostly fungi) caught up with established populations. In many areas, local lovebug flights may only be present in excessively large numbers due to occasional local conditions that may not be repeated in successive years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovebug#Management