Sunday , January 24 2021

Global insect death can see pests on pests such as flies and cockroaches

Get ready to see a lot more cockroaches and fly around in your home.

This is the message from a leading biologist after a new scientific review of insect numbers, suggesting that there will be "dramatic declines" for 40 percent of the species around the world.

The study, published in the journal Biological Conservation, reviewed 73 existing studies from around the world published over the past 13 years, and bees, ants and beetles disappear eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles.


Chief Author Dr Francisco Sánchez-Bayo said that one-third of insect species are classified as threatened.

"The most important factor is the loss of habitat due to agricultural practices, urbanization and deforestation," he told BBC News.

"Secondly, the increasing use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture worldwide and pollution with chemical pollutants of all kinds.

"Third, we have biological factors, such as invasive species and pathogens, and fourth, we have climate change, especially in tropical areas, where it is known to have great influence."

The loss of insects would be detrimental to the environment as they feed on birds, bats and small mammals, rebuild soil and pollinate about 75 percent of the world's crops.

Even more so is that they remain damage data in check.

Professor Dave Goulson, who was not involved in the study, said pests such as house fly and cockroaches thrive in man-made environments and have developed resistance to pesticides.

Bats, birds and other animal species that rely on insects as their main food source can be eradicated (AAP)

He added that many species of animals relying on insects as their main food source could be wiped out, which would only increase the number of pests.

"Pest insects are likely to thrive because of the warmer conditions, because many of their natural enemies, which breed more slowly, will disappear," he said.

"It is quite likely that we may end up suffering from small amounts of pest insects, but we will lose all the wonderful we want."

Prod Goulson added if a large number of insects disappear they will be replaced – just don't expect it to happen anytime soon.

"If you look at what happened in the great extinctions of the past, they created massive adaptive rays where the few species that did it adapted and occupied all available niches and evolved into new species," he said.

"So give it a million years and I have no doubt that there will be a whole host of new creatures that will have appeared to replace them eradicated in the 20th and 21st centuries."

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