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Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 5:52 AM

It's my habit during tea- and smoke-breaks at work to go out and see whats buzzin' and beetlin' around on the fence (between our car-park and a horse-meadow - I work in a fairly rural area).

I've noticed far fewer bees, flies and wasps this year - and it seems it's not just local:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/where-have-all-insects-gone

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41670472

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/08/26/windscreen-phenomenon-car-no-longer-covered-dead-insects/

Anyone else noticed the decline?

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#1

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 6:29 AM

Yes, I've seen a few flies, though not as many as most years, and only 2 or 3 wasps round plum trees. I killed a couple of wasps about April-May time, just coming out of hibernation.

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#2

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 8:52 AM

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#9
In reply to #2

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 3:17 PM

Wouldn't this Douglas Adams book be more appropriate

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 3:52 PM

I have never seen that book. Thanks!

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#36
In reply to #9

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 1:07 PM

I read that book years ago and loved it. The bit about trying to buy condoms in China to record the Yangtze River dolphins was unbelievably funny.

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#3

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 10:19 AM

In my tiny bit of city real estate in Phoenix I've noticed a big decline in the number of bees.

I used to have a constant procession of them drinking from my fresh water bird baths.

I've just planted a small garden of flowers around a large portulaca plant, intended to attract bees, but is not blooming yet.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 10:40 AM

Is your season over for this year?

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#8
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 2:45 PM

It's still in the upper 90's here during the day, but the summer is almost over. Our fall is probably about like your winters.

Our winters are nothing like an English winter, I think.

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#5
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 11:16 AM

For a time, we had Africanized bees making their way to our dog's watering dish.

Wifey kept swatting them, but I warned her to leave them bee.

Neighbor had a hive in a hollow of his tree in back yard. Glad it was not in our attic, or his.

We had a very wet September, and now we have all your mosquitoes. Where would you like for me to mail them, as I am sure these are not mine.

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#22
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 12:58 AM

I, too, reside in Arizona; however, in Cochise County. I am blessed with multiple bee colonies about. The main trick is to consistently provide good, clean water sources about and to support a large & varied array of blooming plant varieties that tend to bloom at different times, thus, spreading out the food supply over an extended time frame.

Yes, the majority of the bees in this zone are Africanized but we must support all bees in order to insure good pollination rates. Unstressed bees are "happy bees" and "happy bees" tend to be less troublesome. All bees hate loud, irritating noises; fuzzy textiles; strong aromatics; disturbed colonies;etc. Stay low-keyed when around bees. Bees also tend to be irritable if they have to navigate around tall, thick weed patches that may locate themselves close to wherever their home might be. In trying to dodge obstacles, bees often lose their pollen load from knocking into offensive weeds. Keep the weeds, in their spaces, down; preferably by using a quiet hand sickle--NOT a noisy lawnmower or weed wacker.

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#6

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 1:02 PM

Maybe the fact is today there are are more windsheilds to go around for them to get smashed on. And all these windsheilds are taking a toll on there numbers.

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#7
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 1:41 PM

Maybe the predator insects are making the peak of their population cycle, and it has nothing to do with humans (for a change).

Maybe birds are on the upswing as well, due to loss of predator birds on all the wind turbines. There you go! A smoking gun, at last.

We should all be starving in the cold, damp dark places next door to hell, since we have "ruined" the planet.

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#14
In reply to #7

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 6:47 PM

Wasps (very much in decline) are top-rank insect predators.

Small birds (along with reptiles, amphibians and small mammals) - i.e. larger insectivores - are all also in decline.

I haven't got documented evidence, but from personal observation, arachnids also seem to be less in evidence.

I'm not suggesting any cause, but there's definitely something amiss.

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#16
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 8:23 PM

So I left a little drip of water on a patch of dirt less than a foot square all summer. I pulled the weeds away from the tiny spot every few days and let the wasps gather and take the bit's of mud. (If you want wasps. They need a reliable source of fresh mud)

And no.. of course I didn't want wasps, but I'm a bit of a softy for the critters and since they discovered the drip and the mud I thought it only right to maintain it for them.

Fast forward the summer.

So I've been battling a wasp nest within within the walls of my home for a bit. Today an incense was placed in a hole I drilled in the wall and none have come out since.

..

I didn't get bit by MY wasps, but I was stung three times gathering pears I was going to turn to wine, but ended up tossing into the worm box since they turned on me less than a week after picking.

A few weeks ago I had to destroy a colony of flying ants at the bottom of the steps.

One of the things I grow is a couple dozen mammoth sunflowers. In the peak of summer there are 2-3 bee's that snuggle into each flower overnight completely covered in pollen.

I see an occasional butterfly moth along with a variety of other cocoon jumpers. A variety of bee's can be founds and this morning in particular I saw one of the biggest bumble bee's I've ever seen.

I have a wildflower called "queen of the prairie" that attracts flying insects I can't ID, but since some look like a long winged fly they don't get much attention.

Dragonfly pair in the air from where?

For the birds ... I get about 20-50 house sparrows darting about for half the day and a variety of others the rest of the day including occasional visits from a bird of prey.

Bugs need a great place to live. Your average patch of scratch doesn't have the fertility and biodiversity to support the wild things.

Take care of the wasps, plant the flowers and compost!

Everyone can have bugs if they stop making things so spotless and let the drip drop.

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#24
In reply to #16

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 5:11 AM

Most of the social wasp species around here make paper nests from wood-pulp.

Here's a snap I took last year of a wasp collecting wood-pulp from the aforementioned fence:

In previous years I could pretty much guarantee seeing one any time I went out in dry weather April - September, but this year I only saw a couple in the spring.

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#29
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 10:37 AM

I keep the place well sprinkled, plus the weather has been warm and wet much of the time.

I had 4.28 on my roof last Sat!

I think the urban environment..at least around here offers everything in abundance and variety. I'm sure the squished carcasses in the roadway play a vital role as well.

biodiversify that fence.

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#32
In reply to #7

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 12:18 PM

Off-topic? Really? Spiteful....

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#35
In reply to #7

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 12:48 PM

Well, around here, our bat population is way down due to white nose syndrome. 4 or 5 years ago I saw them every night as they spread out around the Shenandoah Valley. I haven't personally seen any in several years. That could be a reason I'm seeing more flying insects here.

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#37
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 1:40 PM

Could be, I have not kept count of the bat flight from Carlsbad Caverns of late. My grandfather actually knew Mr. White that was the caverns' discoverer, and A.G. also went down the barbed wire and fence post ladders into the caverns for exploration, and some bat guano removal. It really made my grandmaw's garden flourish and bloom.

Imagine climbing down into the impenetrable darkness on such a ladder, with only a kerosine lantern for light...not me.

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#38
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 2:19 PM

The town of Grottoes, VA, where I live, owns the oldest operating show cave on the east coast, Grand Caverns. It's sister cave, Fountain Cave, is only open for limited guided tours. It's said the founder discovered both of them while searching for a hunting trap in 1804 and explored it with candles. Not me, either. It's claustrophobic enough with electric lights and paved pathways.

The Confederates used the caves in the Civil War to make gunpowder from the guano. The Yanks never found it though all the locals knew what was going on. A lot of their equipment is still there.

Unfortunately the bat population of these and other local caves have been decimated.

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#39
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 3:26 PM

It is too bad. Once you get past the shock of seeing their little faces, and the whole entire rabies thing, they are so adorable - apparently some bozo in Lubbock caught (and handled) one here of late, and the bat has now tested positive for rabies.

Rumor has it this bat may have actually been seen biting someone in Phoenix area.

Just kidding, Lyn! Carlsbad bats probably don't make it that far west.

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#41
In reply to #7

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/27/2017 12:47 PM

Windmills killing birds is such a small contribution that it's hardly worth mentioning. Windows on buildings definitively kill more birds than anything else that kills birds combined.

The big scare back in the day was due to usage of lattice towers to hold up turbines, which tend to attract birds, but even then... not even worth mentioning compared to other things like cats, cars, pesticides, and oil spills.

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#42
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/27/2017 12:52 PM

If I were to say what's dangerous or kills birds, it would be windows.

In our farm house, we had a large 'picture' window that look across the front lawn in to the woods across the road, we had may 4-5 bird kills a year with what we called at the time, 'kamikaze' birds flying into the window.

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#43
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/30/2017 9:29 AM

There is a reflective product that we typically do not see, but emits UV or short blue, and is useful as a warning to birds that there is a solid surface present, and it works.

Wife has been using this on picture windows (translucent or not). One of the worst offending windows has had a thermally reflective semi-transparent Mylar installed on the inside portion of the glass. Birds see the outside reflected, and invariably want to fly "into" the reflected scene. A few strips of blue painters tape if nothing else will solve this.

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#44
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/02/2017 11:56 AM

There is a reflective product that we typically ....

Talking about reflective products...

When I turned 18, I was at a bowling ally that had live bands playing in the lounge on Fridays and Saturdays..

I was at the bar and I saw a doorway that leads to another room that I never notice before. I thought to myself, I have to check that out, looked pretty crowded with people.

As I was at the bar looking at it, I saw a guy walking to that 'new room' and then it shot him back (like he ran into a force field) and he landed on his butt... turned out, it was a 48" x 84" mirror that was framed in to look like a doorway.

It was pretty good entertainment, except for the unexpecting....

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#45
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/02/2017 12:16 PM

So you know precisely what I am talking about.

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/02/2017 12:19 PM

If he'd had his wits about him he would've seen this other guy (that looked a lot like him) coming out through the door as he tried to go in, and one of them should've given way.

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#47
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/02/2017 12:22 PM

But he had too many beers, and was seeing double, and tried to go between them.

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#48
In reply to #46

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/02/2017 12:40 PM

Actually... he was there for a while,... and it looked like he wanted to start a fight with that other guy... and his reflection knocked him on his arse.

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#10

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 3:32 PM

Good riddance to the nasty biting buzzing little buggers!

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 3:36 PM

That's horribly vertebrate of you!

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#17
In reply to #11

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 9:26 PM

Don't worry they're just being replaced with better models....

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 10:35 PM

Oh yeah.

That'll fly

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#23
In reply to #17

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 1:25 AM

OMGsh! I just came back here at home (at work, I just get a block to any video) and saw that your post had a video! I ameliorate my previous post somewhat. (I really don't like insects all that much - I don't want to be called a hater though )

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#13

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 4:18 PM

Alarm over decline in flying insects

BBC News · 7 hours ago

New study suggests insect populations have declined by 75% over 3 decades

CNN · 2 hours ago

Flying Insects Are Disappearing and That's Not a Good Thing

New York Magazine · 16 hoThe mass of insects collected by monitoring traps in the Orbroicher Bruch nature reserve in northwest Germany dropped by 78% in 24 years.

(GRAPHIC) G. GRULLÓN/SCIENCE; (DATA) M. SORG ET AL., MITTEILUNGEN AUS DEM ENTOMOLOGISCHEN VEREIN KREFELD 1, 1–5 (2013) © 2013 ENTOMOLOGISCHER VEREIN KREFEL

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#31
In reply to #13

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 12:17 PM

Then put up the magnifying glass (burns the insects), and for crying out loud, take down the sticky counter traps, so the populations will increase again.

One other note: insects are being wiped out by the use of pesticides in nurseries, so stop buying all those potted plants, pot plants too.

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#15

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 7:14 PM

There are distinctly fewer insects around here at the moment.

Last week I killed over 100,000 bees.

They were mine in five hives.

Infected with AFB (American Foul Brood) and there is no recovery possible. Had to notify biosecurity authority, Department of Primary Industry and so on. Fire bans in place here, so additional hoop to jump through to get the hives and everything incinerated.

I am sad!

Might start up again next season.

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#33
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 12:19 PM

American Foul Brood - I object!

Never heard of those.

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#19

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 11:23 PM

You couldn't prove a decline by me, at least not in my little town here in the Shenandoah Valley. It's almost impossible to go out in the evening without getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and biting gnats or whatever. Even during the heat of the day the bugs trying to fly up my nose or in my eyes is very annoying. Mowing the lawn stirs them up and makes things unbearable. Worst I've seen in 10 years of living here.

Plus I planted a good bit of lavender in the front flower beds. That's attracted record numbers of butterflies and moths. Even a few honey bees that I rarely see here in town.

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#20

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 11:44 PM

Has anybody considered all of the habitats that have been destroyed or rendered useless by human activity, primarily improvements (as far as humans are concerned) in sanitation over the past century?

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#21
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/19/2017 11:58 PM

But, according to the forum's "men of science" the increased concentration of CO2 should give the bugs more trees and vegetation to breed in, and the added heat should promote even more bugs, giving their predators more food to eat.

Something's not right here.

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#34
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 12:21 PM

pesticide use in big box store nurseries. Ban it! They are killing our bees that we have been shipping to Australia - you know, the American Foul Breed (AFB).

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#40
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Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 10:23 PM

Not if they still have no place to live and breed.

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#25

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 6:27 AM

No decline where I am, from my observation. In mid September, my wife heard a humming noise in the wall of our bedroom. Careful inspection revealed a paper thin spot in the drywall. I think the yellow jackets were minutes from breaking through. I slapped a patch of sheet metal and duct tape over the spot and we got an exterminator in and he took care of them. Still haven't fixed the drywall.

A week later wife and I were out on our woods obstacle course doing a workout and she went over a ground nest and out they came. They were on her and I couldn't swat them off quick enough. She got stung nine times. I haven't seen her take her pants off that fast since our honeymoon.

So they seem pretty mean and busy here.

jhammond

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#26

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 7:53 AM

Les Nessman here, reporting live in the Upper Midwest in the United States, (Northeast Wisconsin),

  • this year, the flys been near non existent,
  • Mosquitoes, saw three of them,... I left one live only because he got away. I was surprised about this, this may have been due to the weather, but the weather wasn't too far out of the ordinary
  • Wasps, the numbers are down, I've seen a few looking for meat for their queen, but this year I didn't have to knock down any wasps nest.... but they may be hidden.
  • Bumble Bees, I've seen a drop of sightings of the bumble bees here, but they have dropped to about 50% from the normal, and the problem is, I was doing more work outsight this past summer so I may have seen more sighting than usually.
  • I did see a few honey bees though, but not as much as I have in the past.

This is Les Nessman with the bug report.

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 10:06 AM

BREAKING REPORT

We are switching to our field reporter LES NESSMAN for a news update

Les Nessman here,

I have just found out insects are being replaced by robots. Its not clear at this point who is actually behind this, if this is an experiment from DARPA, or an alien invasion.

I'll keep you posted as news comes in.

This is Les Nessman, signing off.

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#27

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 9:07 AM

Well maybe the non-flying insects are taking over. We have 3 cats and the fleas and ticks have been very troublesome this year. Much much more than the past few years. We avoided buying flea an tick medicines for 2 years - not this year. Despite regular brushing with a flea comb, my one cat was in absolute agony until we finally decided to put the medicine on her. The male cat will roam into the woods and we've been taking several off him every day, even with the medicine. As I understand, the tick population in most of Pa. is very large this year, not just locally. I believe I saw a notice the other day where a state official called Pa, Tick Central.

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#30

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

10/20/2017 11:52 AM

Well yes there is a simple explanation, there is a bug war going on, the bugs are killing each other off for dominance...and, ah, gulp, food....

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#49

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/15/2017 3:16 AM

Has anybody noted whether or not a similar decline has been observed in the past, with the possibility that the current decline is cyclical in nature?

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/15/2017 9:06 AM

In any biological system, there are population cycles. There is a natural oscillation that sets up between predation, collapse of the pray species population with a lagging decline in predator population, followed by springing of the prey population once again.

Got it?

However, we are now considering the input perturbation of mankind's chemicals introduced into this system where if only one small part of the cycle is cut off, the entire cycle could vanish to very low numbers (as in a bottleneck) for a long induction period.

Biological bottlenecks (however induced) are not uncommon in Earth's history.

We ourselves appear to be the product of such events.

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/15/2017 9:26 AM

Also this is across multiple species (not necessarily all in the same predator/prey relationship, e.g. wasps (i.e. most wasp species) do not compete with flies (i.e. most fly species) for food).

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/15/2017 9:39 AM

I believe I get the gist of your intentions with that last comment. We are talking about some broad spectrum kill off, not a specific niche.

I think it has to do with pesticides being used in nurseries and this kills of bees of all species, even some flies (probably the intended victims).

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/15/2017 10:11 AM

Yes - perhaps I should've added " ... but both wasps and flies (among other insects) are in decline"

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#54
In reply to #50

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/16/2017 12:11 AM

I am aware of our (man's) interference whether by chemical means, or destruction of habitat/prey, we have possibly harmed the insect population, but I was wondering if the decline might also be something that is cyclical in nature, or has been observed before.

I am also wary of the consequences of any possible dangers that may occur when the insects adapt to our attempts (as far as they are concerned) to eradicate them!

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Decline in Flying Insects

11/16/2017 12:19 PM

The usual situation is that we humans introduce the wrong insect (Africanized bees) into the wrong climate (Brazil), then they take over and head north to America (USA).

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