The GUARDIAN writes report claims 400,000 insect species face extinction amid heavy use of pesticides. The “unnoticed insect apocalypse” should set alarm bells ringing, according to conservationists, who said that without a halt there will be profound consequences for humans and all life on Earth. A new report suggested half of all insects may have been lost since 1970 as a result of the destruction of nature and heavy use of pesticides.
The report said 40% of the 1million known species of insect are facing extinction. The analysis, written by one of the UK’s leading ecologists, has a particular focus on the UK, whose insects are the most studied in the world. It said 23 bee and wasp species have gone extinct in the last century, while the number of pesticide applications has approximately doubled in the last 25 years.
Photo by zapad1 under creative commons.
The GUARDIAN reports long-running survey finds 1976 heatwave boom has been followed by dropping numbers. Moths are declining in abundance by 10% each decade in Britain but the average weight of moths caught in traps is still double what it was in 1967, according to a new study.
Researchers studying the biomass of moths caught in the world’s longest-running insect survey said their findings suggested that if there had been an “insect armageddon” in Britain, it had occurred before scientific recording began in 1967.
The Independent reports a striking blue moth that was thought to have gone extinct in Britain 50 years ago has now recolonised and is breeding, conservationists have revealed. The Clifden nonpareil – whose name means “beyond compare” – is one of the largest and most spectacular moths native to the UK.
It has a wingspan that can reach almost 12cm and a bright blue stripe across its black hindwings, which gives rise to an alternative name of the blue underwing. These moths have always been rare in the UK.
Clifden nonpareil photo by Tony Morris under creative commons.
The Independent reports the National Trust has defended killing pollinators despite catastrophic declines, describing its wasp traps as a “last resort” to keep visitors safe.
Matt Shardlow, chief executive of conservation organisation Buglife, has previously advised the National Trust on this issue and says he gets calls from people “outraged” that public sites are using traps.
He told The Independent that leaving out traps out actually increases the number of wasps.
Photo by zaphad1 under creative commons.
The Independent report nineteen per cent of flowers sampled near domestic beehives had viruses on them. Beekeepers could be fuelling the worrying decline of wild bees, new research suggests. Wild bumblebees can contract diseases from domestic honeybees if they share the same flowers, according to new US research which suggests domestic beehives should be kept out of areas home to particularly vulnerable pollinators.
The BBC report a butterfly that became extinct in England more than 40 years ago has been bred for the first time in a secret forest location.
The chequered skipper was always scarce but died out in 1976 due to changes to woodland management. The new offspring are from Belgian adults released in Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire last year.
Chequered skipper photo by John Flannery under creative commons
The Times reports a strip of central reservation in an industrial zone in a rugged former mining town is not the first place you’d imagine to find an oasis of nature but that is what Rotherham has managed with a “river of flowers” along eight miles of roads. A blend of cornflowers, poppies, fairy toadflax, marigolds and more have washed an otherwise urban landscape with a spray of colour.
The project has been widely praised on social media, not just for its appearance but also for its help to the ailing bee population, as well as the local authority’s budget, which has saved £23,000 by no longer having to regularly cut back the plant life.
The BBC News ask ever seen a blob of foam on a plant and wondered how it got there? The frothy spittle, sometimes called cuckoo spit, is actually a telltale sign that an insect known as the spittlebug is feeding on a plant.
Scientists are calling for thousands of volunteers to help record sightings of spittle and spittlebugs across the UK. The information will be used to map the distribution of the insect, in a pre-emptive strike against a deadly plant disease.
Photo of spittle from spittlebug by John Douglas under creative commons.
Many species of bee are on the brink of extinction in parts of the UK – and some types have been lost entirely, a report has found.
Climate change, habitat loss, pollution and disease are threatening the pollinators, the analysis of 228 species concluded. Many are battling to keep up with the changing face of their landscape and increasingly hot weather.
It discovered that 17 species were regionally extinct – including the Great Yellow Bumblebee, the Potter Flower Bee and the Cliff Mason Bee – with 25 types threatened and another 31 of conservation concern.
The bee’s pollinating services are worth £690 million a year to the UK economy.
The INDEPENDENT reports more than 97 per cent of UK wildflower meadows have disappeared since Second World War. A London council is growing a seven-mile long “bee corridor” of wildflowers in an effort to boost the numbers of pollinating insects this summer.
Brent Council in north London is sowing 22 wildflower meadows in the borough’s parks and open spaces, which together will form 50,000sq m of new flowering spaces and stretch seven miles in length. The council said it believed the initiative to be the first of its kind in the capital.