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Insects scuttle, chew and fly through the world around us. Humans rely on them to pollinate plants, prey on insects that we don't get along with, and to be movers and shakers for Earth's ecosystems. It's hard to imagine a world without insects.
That's why news reports in recent months warning of an "insect apocalypse" sparked widespread alarm. These articles, which were based on long-term insect collections and a review of past studies, suggested that people alive today will witness the indiscriminate extinction of insect-kind.
Fungi - Insects - Pests - Crops - Mosquitoes
I study fungi that can be used to control harmful insects, such as pests that damage crops and mosquitoes that transmit malaria. In my world, reports of mass insect die-offs are big news. But while there clearly is reason to be concerned about certain insects, such as the endangered rusty patched bumble bee or the American burying beetle, in my view it isn't yet possible to predict a looming insect apocalypse.
More than 1 million insects have been discovered and named, but many millions have yet to be described. It's undeniable that Earth is becoming increasingly inhospitable to some insects – but nightmarish conditions for one may be heaven to another.
Way - Environment - Insects - Impacts - Environment
Put another way, there is no perfect environment for all insects. And human impacts on the environment, like climate change and land development, very well may hurt beneficial insects and help harmful ones.
Around the world, entomologists are looking wistfully into empty nets, and car owners are increasingly unsettled by their pristine windshields. It does not take decades of data collection and a degree to notice that in a human lifetime, our teeming world teems less.
Insects - % - Species - Earth
Insects account for 75% of all the known species on Earth. What makes them so successful?
The first study to set off alarms was published in 2017 by entomologists in Germany, who reported that over...
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