Insect Apocalypse: New Study Reveals Stunning Decline in Insect Populations

DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dimitri Lascaris,
reporting for The Real News Network from Montreal, Canada.As has been widely reported, the Earth
is at the start of the sixth mass extinction in its history. Major losses and larger animal species that
are relatively easy to study have already been documented and widely reported. But insect losses have received less scrutiny
and attention, even though insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals,
outweighing humanity by 17 times. Now a new study has concluded that more than
40 percent of insect species are declining, and a third are endangered. That rate of extinction is eight times faster
than that of mammals, birds, and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a
precipitous 2.5 percent per year, according to the available data.Now here to discuss
this new study with us is one of its coauthors, Dr. Francisco Sanchez-Bayo. Doctor Sanchez-Bayo is an ecologist working
on the impact of human activities on ecosystems. His specific field is exotoxicology, the study
of impacts caused by chemicals on organisms and ecosystems. He joins us today from Sydney, Australia. Thank you for coming onto The Real News. Dr. Sanchez-Bayo.FRANCISCO SANCHEZ-BAYO: Thank
you for having me.DIMITRI LASCARIS: So I’d like to start by inviting you to talk to us
briefly about what you consider to be the most important aspects and findings of this
study.FRANCISCO SANCHEZ-BAYO: Well, it’s basically what you just reported, so that about 40 percent–in
fact, 41 percent, on average–of all the species that we know of insects are declining right
now. And about one third of them are threatened
with extinction in the next few decades. And on top of that, we know through three
different reports that the average rate of decline in biomass of all the insects in different
parts of the world–in Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, as well as Germany–is really similar;
it’s about 2.5 percent per year, which means that in about 100 years from now practically
all the insects will be gone from the earth. That’s a really shocking finding that probably
very few people knew about.And what we have tried to do in our study is to put together
all these data that was lost in many scientific journals, that were only available to these
experts and specialists in entomology, and tried to bring it to the public, to people
involved in conservation issues, as well as to the general public.DIMITRI LASCARIS: So
your study leads to the conclusion that current rates of decline, if they persist, the Earth
will essentially be insect-free within about a century.FRANCISCO SANCHEZ-BAYO: Well, there
will always be a few insects that will survive. But basically, yes.DIMITRI LASCARIS: Yeah. So, as I’m sure you know, many people in the
world seem to view insects as a nuisance, and expend significant resources, you know,
through the use of, example, of pesticides and other devices and technologies to kill
insects. Why should ordinary human beings be concerned
about these rather stunning findings from your study?FRANCISCO SANCHEZ-BAYO: Because
first of all, people are concerned that way because we only see the nuisance pests. They just see the flies, the cockroaches,
and in their agricultural fields we only see the pest species. But we have to remember for every pest species
that we may get in a crop, there are about 20 or 30 different insects that are beneficial. There are predators, there are [inaudible]. There are others which simply–they don’t
cause any harm or any good. But all of them have essential roles to play
in ecosystems. Nothing is superfluous here in the biosphere
on the Earth.So among the most important ecological role is that insects play is, for example,
pollination, nutrient recycling and purification, and also providing food to a large array of
vertebrates; from birds and bats to lizards, frogs, and even fish in freshwater ecosystems. So all these essential services will go. And with them, if they go, will go the fertility
of the soil, the capacity of producing food for ourselves, because 70 percent of the food
we eat requires pollination by insects. And of course, all the animals that depend
on these insects as their food source will go as well.DIMITRI LASCARIS: And you mentioned
pollinators, and I want to focus on one type of pollinator in particular: bees. What is our current state of bee populations
around the world? Are they declining as rapidly as some reports
have suggested, and how do you think their extinction would affect the food supplies?FRANCISCO
SANCHEZ-BAYO: Yes. I think I mentioned, it will affect about
70 percent of the food items that we have, among the different crops. So we will end up eating only cereals that
don’t require pollination, and a few other crops like that. But all the fruits, and most vegetables, we
won’t be able to eat, because they require pollination by bees. When I mean bees, it’s not just the honeybees
that probably you’re thinking of, but also the wild bees. Bees are not declining any faster than the
other groups, in fact. They are not declining as fast as butterflies,
or many beetles, particularly dung beetles, which seem to be the ones most at risk at
the moment. But still, it’s a big proportion. For example, in Europe about half the species
of bees are declining right now. I don’t know exactly in Canada how many of
that proportion. But it’s really similar worldwide.DIMITRI
LASCARIS: And, finally, what lifestyle changes do you recommend that we make, and what policies
you recommend governments adopt in order to halt this rather alarming decline in insect
populations?FRANCISCO SANCHEZ-BAYO: Well, one thing I forgot to mention before is we,
together with the numbers that we collected from 73 surveys worldwide, we also analyzed
the drivers of the decline. What was really affecting the different groups
of insects. There are many drivers. We selected about 13 or 14, and we put it
into four main groups. And the main driver behind the decline seems
to be habitat loss, which is due to a combination of three major factors. Agricultural expansion intensification, urbanisation,
and deforestation. The second major factor is chemical pollution,
and that’s due not just to industrial chemicals, but also fertilizers and pesticides.Now, it’s
interesting that fertilizers and pesticides are mostly used in agricultural settings. So agriculture as a whole is the major impacting
factor, because it involves habitat destruction, as well as chemical pollution. And those two factors combined, they’re driving
most of the species to extinction.So if we want to stop this rapid decline, we should
focus all our efforts on the main drivers; and as I say, agriculture is the main one. So perhaps what we have to do, and we have
recommended in our conclusions, is to change the way we are carrying out agriculture at
the moment. And there are many ways that this can be done,
so it’s not just one specific way. But basically it’ll consist in making agriculture
sustainable. So where we can see the beneficial insects,
the pollinators, as part of the system, we don’t eliminate them. With the current system where we use insecticides
from the day of planting, because they are recovering the seeds that are planted, with
that we have eliminated all the insects, good and bad. And that’s no good. So we lost–we lost all the beneficial insects,
all the pollinators, and all the parasitoids that help in the first place withstand the
outbreak of pests, and all the organisms that are in the soil that do the recycling of nutrients. So we have to change that. We have to go back to integrated pest management
procedures, and implement them to the full, and recover that sustainability that has been
in agriculture for centuries, millennia. We are losing that right now with the new
system.DIMITRI LASCARIS: Well, we’ve been speaking to Dr. Francisco Sanchez-Bayo about
a new study showing a precipitous decline in global insect populations. Thank you very much for joining us today,
Doctor.FRANCISCO SANCHEZ-BAYO: Thank you for having me.DIMITRI LASCARIS: And this is Dimitri
Lascaris, reporting for The Real News Network.

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84 thoughts on “Insect Apocalypse: New Study Reveals Stunning Decline in Insect Populations

  1. I wouldn't say we are at the start of the 6th mass extinction, it's been underway for quite some time……It's picking up speed and is more observable…..and there is most likely no stopping it, only temporary victories…..

  2. Won't be 100 years,it'll be 10 years. Humans are using more,and more deadly,chemicals every year with zero attempt to slow it down. There is no way to legislate against this,all the politicians are bought by the industry ,all they see is $$$..

  3. We could stop the damage to our environment, by not using cars and fertilizers and business in general. But if we do that, about two thirds of the human population will die off due to starvation, disease, and war. If we do not do these things then it is quite certain that everything we know of our biosphere will die… and only pockets of humanity will be left… and as far as I can tell that few humans left would be the BEST case scenario.

    We are less than ten years from worldwide societal collapse.

    We approach a dying time that there is literally no prepping for… and no avoiding. Within a hundred years our children's children will be moving through a post apocalyptic world… if they are very lucky.

  4. They are merely getting ready for the micronova that should be here in about 30 years or so.
    Then into the ICE AGE!
    Just blame men!

  5. Why isn't anyone talking about Geo engineering, we are constantly being sprayed above our head with aluminum and other chemicals. In the name of science.

  6. we don't have a 100 years….more like 5 or 6 years…typical paid gov't shills trying to prolong our demise by saying in the next 100 years…lmao!!

  7. 99.9% of EVERYTHING that ever lived is now extinct. Now they scream from the electromagnetic conversation centers that we must save the planet? The planet is fine, it is we humans that are on the way out. We are the intruders here. We are the ones going against natures plan.The planet will fight back and shake us off like a bad case of fleas and all our prayers to Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed and Vishnu won't save us.

  8. 8:20 Well, yeah. And cattle can be fed seaweed to stop them emitting so much methane. But it's not going to happen. There's no incentive or even any real mechanism for any of this under capitalism.

  9. Anyone who drives long distances knows that insects are no longer being washed off our windshields like we used to do 20-40 years ago…this mass extinction is now happening even faster than ever before. Maryland managed honeybee losses are now 65%…

  10. While I'm not a big fan of bugs. They are waaaay more important than Maga hat wearing douche bags. Save the bugs exil the maga chuds

  11. I have notice this. I live in Thr Netherlands and we used to have lots of lady buggs every beging of the spring. I almost dont see them anymore. I believe that chemtrails are killing them and the bees . ๐Ÿ˜” I love bumble bees so much…

  12. Even my son noticed this when he was little. He is now in his thirties. He noticed how the bees were flying so low to the ground. He asked me why and if they were sick.

  13. Until someone stops the world's largest wicked political and religious system of mistreatment on the loose, no one is SAFE including the insects! Crush WHITE SUPREMACY TO SAVE THE PLANET!

  14. Thank You for giving insects and Mother Earth a voice! Politicians are not interested in this issue-they only want to stay in power. And for that matter they make a pact with the devil=Monsanto,Bayer and of course with the millitary-industrial complex.

  15. I think the working day and the struggle to reduce it is key to changing this all around.
    The US can afford to reduce the working day to necessary labor time without losing its productivity.
    It would require a change of attitudes which is easier for the young and hard for the old, not easy at all for the poor or the rich to watch their world disappear.
    Easier to imagine now how the Southern slave plantation owners felt about the introduction of wage-labor by force. We'd know much more about how far the industrialists of the age were willing to go to get the south to submit to capitalism had the southern confederacy not fired the first shot. I'd expect the same reaction from the super-rich, the rich, the less rich and even the least richest members of our society to be hostile to a movement that is calling for them to give up their world of plastic cash, supermarkets and malls, and be part of a new world by working 4 hours a day for yourself and for your immediate community assuming the level of productivity is high enough to support a new world. The attitude that society exists for them is a real problem that America will many versions of Juan Guiado to contend with, many.

  16. some people could argue that mass extinctions are somewhat common pn Earth's history. The problem is to think that we are that much resilient then other species and we can endlessly survive the colapses of ecossystems on the globe that those events ever provide; i think that can go as a case of naturalist's falacy as well

  17. By 2070 I will have around 70 years. At that same time if the same tendencies continue I will be an elder man dealing with worldwide famine. On the best case considerably most of my income will be used just to feed myself as will be for everyone on the middle and lower classes

  18. Giant Agrochem/Pharma/Petrogas corporations are creating & burning manmade chemicals previously unknown in nature. Only a handful of the new chemicaks have ever been properly tested for their effects (eg cancers) upon humans. The effects of these chemicals plus estrogens & plastics/polymers upon much smaller bulk creatures may be even more devastating in their lifecycles (fertility/breeding/feeding), as well as loss of habitat & plants eliminated by herbicides.

  19. Of course no one cares….This sprint to the finish line with a few dollars as rewards will cost humanity dearly….It will not be a big loss anyway, since the human specie is probably the most idiotic of all specifies on Earth….Please God spares the rest of the biomass…and annihilate these idiots.

  20. So is it a good thing or bad? Human had been trying to kill insects, either at the farms or in their homes…. Even at the parks… If not for their deaths, human population can grow as such rate for past decades…. Food could not be grown in pace…

  21. Keep saying we need to..
    The corporations are in control, you can't choose.
    The time is late, tear down civilization now before it dose anymore damage.

  22. The plastics and chemicals are already affecting humans at a slow rate. A recent study showed that about 20 pieces of microplastics were found in every 10g of human fecal matter.

    These microplastics/chemicals are slowly adversely affecting our body systems, which are complex mammalian bodies. The fact that creatures (animals, insects, fishes)and flora/fauna are starting to die off is a big warning sign that the pollutants are destroying the eco-balance. The more this eco-balance devolves, then the ecosystem, that is every single bit of nature that surrounds us, will collapse too.

    The whole greenhouse effect – pollution – global warming – climate change is all a smokescreen used by the corporate entities to avoid blame and shirk dealing with an issue that they are largely responsible for.
    Not to mention the whole space exploration and AI push. These is a system of propaganda to turn our focus away from a real issue that affects billions, while these entities justify technological advancement that benefits a tiny fraction of society.

  23. If i can achieve my financial goals, i will cryopreserve as many insects as possible for cloning in future. Like Noah's ark. We have a couple people preserving seeds, we need more DNA preservation.

  24. The extinction of all species is proceeding rapidly. Man has very few years left. Climate Change is the true equalizer.

  25. Start in your own yard. My HOA is having hydro-flips of the gangulator as my yard moves from a monocultural green mat to a bee, beetle, bird sanctuary. I have been recently voted onto the board, so there is an audience for this type of change. And it is very cool to see a creature you have never seen before in your own yard. My latest was the cousin of the woodpecker, the flicker.

  26. Thanks for bringing about the insert apocalypse Monsanto! Hope you met your quarterly earnings forecasts.

  27. TRNN videos are starting to get a minority of dislikes.

    Prepare for the neo-liberal & neo-con troll-bot onslaught.

    You know the Army of Quasimodos are coming.

  28. You guys need to include in these reports the vital role that insects play in animal decomposition and consumption. Its not just vultures and buzzards that eat dead bodies. if there are no insects then this planet will get very noxious and diseased fast.

  29. I'm sure the capitalists will forgo profits and close their businesses to save the insects and prevent a mass extinction.

    That's all the comedy I have today, folks.

  30. Glad to see this getting some attention. I can remember as a child driving with my parents and the car windows constantly being covered in dead bugs. Now, it's a minor annoyance if at all. All the chemicals used have been wiping out insects for a long time. And the chemical companies have bougt off our Congress to do as they wish.

  31. Mass use of Microwave Technology killing the Insects !!! We know it, but don't want to know it. What's wrong with us? Hope the fear and discussion about 5g is helping to acknowledge the danger of resonant microwaves in cellular tissue, spez. the Ca++ oxidisation …. get real News ! And if the current trend persists – (70% since 1974 of them 89% since 1992 !) we can get rid of the Bees within two more decades ! If the Bees vanish Men will follow soon (A. Einstein)

  32. Has this platform documented man made GeoEngineering? Dane at GeoEngineering watch talks about this topic almost weekly. You guys should have him on to talk about the issue. Because it is a direct correlation to what is happening to the insect populations here in the United States and around the world. When did it become the norm that we have named winter storms? How are cloud systems forming 90 degree angles?

  33. Ohm my gooood AOC was right, the world ends in 12 years!.. Im old enough to remember folks in 1990 saying world will end in 10 years. It's funny the progressives left socialists want people to stop eating farting cows and instead eat insects! Thinking on commie level will always end in disasters.

  34. In the West and Middle East, it is the religious fundamentalists of all Abrahamic sects that seek the end of the world to justify their horrific narrative. It is their belief system (dominion) that allows the obviously illogical wars, continual extraction of all resources, application of nerve toxins to crops, and extreme burning of fossil fuels to continue. They also worship money as the supreme evidence that their God favours them. I am not familiar with the belief systems of the East, whether supernaturally based or human-centric. Perhaps their worldview too is at the heart of what appears to be a desire to end all life.

  35. One thing that is not mentioned in the study is the acidification of the earth and how that might have affected the soil biome. We have an idea of what is happening in the oceans from acidification and the ocean dilutes CO2. The soil, I don't really know but intuitively I have to think that the impact of soil acidification is both real, worldwide, and impactful to the soil biome. Even if we start studying it now we have no idea of what the 'baseline' was.

  36. We are the frog being boiled in gently heated water croaking in denial of Reality. Damage to micro cellular tissue by resonant Microwaves is a FAKT, no fiction. Microwaves killing Insects by starvation of Oxygen in the Mitochondria (Ca++ oxidation). Hope the fear and public discussion about 5g helps to understand what we are doing when switching on our cell-phones !

  37. Some 4 or 5 years ago in 2014/5 ,John Butter, an English entomologist,who in his early ninties, invited me to take a look at my car's windscreen the next time I made a long journey and to note what I see. On a three hundred mile round trip to Hampshire from Devon ,I found my windscreen clear of any insect. I then thought back to a time 28 years earlier whilst doing a similar journey every two weeks to see my daughter, how I would have to wash away the large number of insects that I crashed into along the way, before I made my return trip. It was an awakening to something very concerning which I would not have had,had it not been for John Butter's invite to check my windscreen. A simple observation giving profound insight !

  38. I donโ€™t wanna die tho, Jesus,god please help us please we need help or we all die and you will be forgotten

  39. What is of significance for human survival is when insect losses impact food production.
    My best guess is that is right now and only getting worse. There are no words for what we have done to the life forms sharing this planet with us.

  40. And people r still making babies. Blind and stupid people. Uvc radiation is reaching ground level now and cooking life like a microwave

  41. To bad you canโ€™t say that for mosquitoes in Pennsylvania, the where horrible the last two years.

  42. What will the weight ratio be when you add not just bodies but also the amount of material used in construction by the various species ? (Point being: it likely shows how extreme humans dominate, which is likely to lead to catastrophe.) If weight should be an indication of biological impact, it makes sense to add the construction that a species undertakes, especially in the case of humanity where the construction usually means other species can no longer live there. Compare a beaver, who also constructs things, but in that case also creates habitat. If 100 humans live in a village that is some 500 kg humans. If there are 100 deer in the area, that is 500 kg deer (say). The impact however is not comparable, because the humans lay hundreds of tons of hardened roads and build dozens of fixed sterile houses. You could argue that all land that human use for agriculture also counts as human infrastructure to for example a depth of about one fist or say a 100 kg per square meter (just to put a number on it). Some website claims the average house weighs some 100 tonnes or much more (one says 1 ton per square foot). 100 humans * .2 humans per house * 100 tonnes houses = 2000 tonnes humans. Let's say roughly that roads will cost the same as houses and the same as agricultural land used. So that goes times 3 (just a very rough first try with the math): 6000 tonnes for 100 humans, or to put it differently: every human costs 60 tonnes in weight (60 000 kg). This is the same as a large whale. Only the Fin whale and two other species have that kind of weight. The estimate for human weight at 60 000 kg per individual human is 1200 times larger than if you took something like 50 kg per human as an average body mass.

    If you did the same for insects, one could first ask if their infrastructure disturbs habitat for other species. In some cases it probably does like ants. A lot of insects do not seem to build that much. I cannot make the estimate but I doubt very much that the total insect weight would go 1200 times higher too if we take into account that infrastructure that hurts the habitat of other species. Does a dangling bee hive hurt infrastructure for other animals ? I doubt it. Even if you estimate that insect total weight goes 10 times higher if one takes into account their otherwise mostly sterile infrastructure and species displacing building stuff (which is all 100% organic and does no harm and often a lot of good in the end because everything is adapted to it), insects do not outweigh humans 17 times as the documentary says, but human are still the order of some … 17 times heavier insects * 10 = 170 times heavier; humans about 1000 times heavier than mere body estimation: 170 versus 1000, and humans outweigh all insects with a factor of 5-10 or more. You may want to check this math for accuracy ๐Ÿ˜‰ The estimates are of course very rough, but then again that is inherent here. This is estimated for the western world, things might be less extreme elsewhere, but they are developing in the same direction.

    A mere glance at my country the Netherlands is all that you need to know that humans are absolutely dominating and destroying everything else. Most of them have even adapted to it, and call a bundle of trees wild nature, and an acre of it a forest. It is one big factory with a few cracks in the floor, especially our northern Province (one of the worst).

    P.S. This year I have no fruit flies on my kitchen cuttings. Still nothing the whole year ! Highly unusual, they are normally a regular nuisance.

  43. Agenda21,depopulation!, now 2030.. controlling food supply/people ..bottom line ,know Jesus, .know God..( Revelations)

  44. No mention of the biggest pollutant that has been introduced over the years since the early 80's. That would be pulsed microwave radiation emitted by the wireless telecommunications industry. It is invisible , silent has no odor yet has been classified as a general biohazard. Funny how the decline seems to coincide with the increase in wireless technology. This is something people should take very seriously and not believe what the industry says but do your own research, this is often overlooked because no one wants to believe their technology is destroying nature and making them sick. People also make no comments on this subject like it is taboo or something, but it is not a conspiracy theory with many governments now demanding much more testing be done before rolling out this totally untested technology any further.

  45. Read entomologist Doug Tallamyโ€™s book Bringing Nature Home and The Living Landscape and heโ€™ll show you how to help insects by planting native plants.

  46. Thats BS. This is part of what MON SANTOS WANT. Example…. Puerto Rico now has MonSantos Since Maria hit the Island 2017, But 2 yrs after Maria LoCUST have been introduced thru HAARP. to all of the Carribean. But.. How ironic that MON SANTOS is the only plants to survive. It is mathematically impossible. Besides. BEES- when tje fake zika virus that NEVER hit the PR. fake news report 128 victims. I work in the ER of SJ and we have never seen 1 case. But tje spread for "mosquitos " killing the BEES. The Devil is a lie. But el cordero de Dios esta con nosotros. ๐Ÿ™

  47. If you DO NOT MOW or fertilize the yard leave flowers for the insects! I had super sized bumble bees and monarch this summer because I did not mow.

  48. I had a praying mantis on the back of my house. He was there 3 days. I petted him a few times. Then I took him off the house after 3 days and tried to get him to fly. He couldn't so I put him in the undergrowth. He was the first one I had seen in 5 years. Before that I always had several around constantly. I also had butterflies and bees which I don't anymore.

  49. Cockroaches outlasted the dinosaurs, survived the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, survived the Chernobyl fallout, been around for 300 million years, and will never go extinct. That's just depressing and unfair. Why couldn't it be them of all insects to die off as well.

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