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Old 01-07-2019, 07:39 PM
 
5,507 posts, read 1,578,977 times
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A lot of buzz on this - no pun intended - with people chiming in about their own garden experiences.


The Insect Apocalypse Is Here
By Brooke Jarvis

In the United States, scientists recently found the population of monarch butterflies fell by 90 percent in the last 20 years, a loss of 900 million individuals; the rusty-patched bumblebee, which once lived in 28 states, dropped by 87 percent over the same period. With other, less-studied insect species, one butterfly researcher told me, ďall we can do is wave our arms and say, ĎItís not here anymore!í Ē Still, the most disquieting thing wasnít the disappearance of certain species of insects; it was the deeper worry, shared by Riis and many others, that a whole insect world might be quietly going missing, a loss of abundance that could alter the planet in unknowable ways.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/magazine/insect-apocalypse.html
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:14 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
2,133 posts, read 763,532 times
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I'm relieved to see that that has appeared in the NYT-- that means it's almost certainly not true.


Several poorly done studies have been published in recent years warning of falling insect populations. The studies are so poorly done that I'm not sure it's true or not....Invariably these studies claim GW must be the reason-- without even considering the obvious loss of habitat or light pollution (disrupts mating behavior) as more likely causes.


We blame ourselves here in The States for the fall in Monarch numbers-- but for the wrong reason- it's not our lack of milkweed plants here, it's our new found love of avocado dip. To supply our need for that, Mexicans are deforesting the relatively small Central American habitat required for the bugs' winter home, and replacing it with avocado trees. https://www.treehugger.com/green-foo...archs-too.html


Insects are terribly important to the web of life. We always joke about "why did Noah have to take those two mosquitoes along?" but without mosquito larvae for food, there'd be a lot of pretty skinny frogs, salamanders & minnows in our ponds.


BTW- which came first, the flowering plants or the insect pollinators?


In the US, we turn 1500 sq mi each year into buildings & parking lots as our urbans continue to sprawl. There's certainly extirpation (local extinction) of species going on as we develop natural habitat for human use.


Is there a simple solution to this complex problem?
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:29 AM
 
10,006 posts, read 7,730,193 times
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So if something doesn't come from a right wing news source, it's automatically not true? Sigh.
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Old 01-08-2019, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Maryland
1,134 posts, read 336,652 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlygal View Post
So if something doesn't come from a right wing news source, it's automatically not true? Sigh.
No, it should probably come directly from whatever source is referenced. The press rarely understands scientific studies adequately enough to explain them well. They often run with some headline as if it’s some revelation when instead the actual journal article, if there was one, is usually one of much more cautious statements. I didn’t read this particular one so I don’t know but I do not trust the general press (right, middle or left) to accurately report much of anything highly technical or scientific.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:23 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
2,133 posts, read 763,532 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlygal View Post
So if something doesn't come from a right wing news source, it's automatically not true? Sigh.
So I present a concise critique of the piece, then state four points of fact pertinent to the subject and ask an important question, and all you think is important is that I find the NYT unreliable?


Deep thinking. Keep up the good work.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:12 PM
 
2,863 posts, read 1,085,530 times
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I'm not going to argue science or journalism, but the core idea of the article is very chilling. I don't need a scientific study to tell me there are fewer insects than when I was a child. Fewer whales, smaller fish, tiny and desperate populations of large mammals.

Thanks for the link, OP.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:31 PM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
6,431 posts, read 6,064,480 times
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It's six of one and half a dozen of the other. On the other side of the coin, with warming temperatures (at least in the northern hemisphere for sure) there's the increase of other types of insects like bark beetles and emerald ash borers for example, which are becoming more active and more able to reproduce and faster to spread through temperate regions decimating swaths of trees as they advance. Then there's the introduced species of insects which are flourishing and pushing out the native species, like Asian ladybugs for example. The list goes on, all thanks to the evolution and devolution of insects, many with a helping hand from humanity.

Quote:


BTW- which came first, the flowering plants or the insect pollinators?
I haven't researched it but I'm pretty sure it was the flowering plants came first before the pollinators. Plants were here first to start with anyway, before other living things came into existence. Flowering plants came along evolving their own methods of self-pollination and pollination by wind and by other mechanisms the plants created for themselves and for other plants so that the plants worked together cooperatively and sometimes symbiotically. Pollinators are opportunistic, but so are plants. Pollinating insects came along later after the plants offered them an opportunity they could take advantage of. Then plants evolved to further take advantage of the pollinating opportunity insects offered by enticing the insects with more attractants.

.
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Old 01-20-2019, 03:54 PM
 
5,507 posts, read 1,578,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LesLucid View Post
No, it should probably come directly from whatever source is referenced. The press rarely understands scientific studies adequately enough to explain them well. They often run with some headline as if itís some revelation when instead the actual journal article, if there was one, is usually one of much more cautious statements. I didnít read this particular one so I donít know but I do not trust the general press (right, middle or left) to accurately report much of anything highly technical or scientific.


I'm sure you're right that the general press rarely understands scientific studies. So people should be all the more grateful for any newspaper that keeps a reporter or editor specifically on the science beat, in the hopes that this person might do a little better job (especially ones who directly interview or quote sources)- and we should all be grateful for any general interest newspaper or magazine that tries in any way to bring scientific issues to the broader public.
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Old Yesterday, 06:14 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
2,133 posts, read 763,532 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarallel View Post
I'm sure you're right that the general press rarely understands scientific studies. So people should be all the more grateful for any newspaper that keeps a reporter or editor specifically on the science beat, in the hopes that this person might do a little better job (especially ones who directly interview or quote sources)- and we should all be grateful for any general interest newspaper or magazine that tries in any way to bring scientific issues to the broader public.

If only that were true.


Having been trained as a scientist and worked for 40+ years in a field where evaluation of scientific research was an integral part of the job, "science journalists" are as a rule a pretty sorry lot, rarely even understanding the principles of scientific research let alone the specific subject at hand or being able to evaluate and communicate it properly. They need to sell crisis, not boring truth.


Back to the OP-- most of us here have formed opinions about insect populations based on our personal experiences, usually limited to viewing our suburban backyards or the occasional stroll thru an urban park-- hardly good examples of Nature. The suburban yard on the edge of the city in which you played as a child probably had a few butterflies, many mosquitos and you may have occasionally been stung by a honey bee as you played in the clover on the lawn.....But 20yrs later, that suburban lawn on the edge of the city is now engulfed by urban sprawl and no longer on the edge--That's why you don't see as many bugs there anymore.


Local changes in populations is different than universal changes in populations. Loss of habitat remains the number one enemy of Nature-- not pollution or climate change.
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Old Today, 04:55 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
2,133 posts, read 763,532 times
Reputation: 4435
By coincidence, this paper https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/...perature-data/ just appeared today. It reviews a famous study declaring that insect populations in Puerto Rico declined by 98% over the last 40 yrs--and that is obviously due to GW. Ö.The problem is, they used faulty temperature data. That area of PR actually cooled over the last 40 yrs.


It seems some people don't use their own knowledge base when listening to these outrageous "GW" claims. Shouldn't you be wondering how can warming cause problems for insects, when everyone knows that insects seem to do better in warm climates? Claims to the contrary should set off your BS-o-Meter.


I'm not saying insect populations are or are not falling. I just doubt whether "warming" has anything to do with it.
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