Most of us feel as those we could do without bugs. Insects are considered pests for multiple reasons, and there are just so darn many of them. However, according to a new study out of Germany that raised a lot of eyebrows last week, there are now fewer insects than there used to be, far fewer. The study confirmed what most entomologists had long suspected, so in that respect it’s not really news. But it’s significant because the results represent a confirmation of insect decline, and because the study was both comprehensive and conducted over a period of nearly 30 years.
Researchers found that the biomass from flying insects at 60 locations in Germany had dropped by more than 75 percent over nearly 30 years, or about 6 percent annually. Previous studies, done on smaller scales, had found insect declines that were far less dramatic. It’s long been known that intensive agriculture has greatly reduced insect habitat, but notably, the German researchers gathered insect biomass exclusively from nature preserves and other natural areas. Further study is needed, as the researchers have no idea what caused the lower insect numbers.