Are bugs disappearing? A science-based ‘insect apocalypse’ Q&A

Image: Animals Worlds

Q. Dear Umbra,

Insects are disappearing at an alarming rate. This terrifies me! What actions can I take to mitigate my despair?

— Help Me Help Ants

[Editor’s note: Grist contributor Eve Andrews answers a reader’s question about the ‘insect apocalypse.’]

A. Dear HMHA,

I think first I have to applaud you for writing about insects at all….When humans get interested in saving habitats, it’s usually cultivated by affection for the more charming animals that live in them….

….It might have something to do with that scary New York Times Magazine article that came out a few months ago about the insect apocalypse….or the Biological Conservation meta-analysis of the “decline of entomofauna” (insect loss, in non-science speak) which claimed that we could lose 40 percent of insect species to extinction over the 21st century.

Related article:  What should we call lab-grown meat? Our decision could help or hinder food innovation

But that “40 percent of all insect species will die” figure is fairly wobbly. That’s because….there’s such a vast amount we still don’t know about all the bugs out there. It’s a huge challenge to empirically document or estimate how the whole of the insect kingdom has changed or shrunk over time….

Read full, original article: Where are all the bugs going and what can I do about it?

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