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Insect - The Decline

Insect - The Decline

We all know of the songbirds heading to Africa for the winter, but there is a bigger migration which occurs every year from one of nature’s most beautiful and recognisable creatures. The monarch butterfly makes a yearly 3,000-mile trek to Mexico for the winter.

At one time this migration saw over one billion monarchs taking to the air, however in the last 4 years alone we have seen this number drop to under 30 million, which has many worried for the future for this iconic species. Most school children will know of the monarch butterfly’s migration, which has seen the insect becoming the "poster" child of the decline of insects.

Insect decline is a real problem for us, as many people in the UK have noted they are finding less and less insects on their window screens when driving through the country. Michael Groom of Teffont Evias, Wiltshire asked: “Where have all the insects gone? My windscreen remains clear whatever the speed.”

An amateur German group called the Krefeld Entomological Society has been monitoring insect numbers at 100 nature reserves in Western Europe since the 1980s. Although there were the annual fluctuations, they discovered that by 2013 numbers began to plummet by nearly 80 per cent. Experts mostly blame intensive agriculture and the use of pesticides over the past 50 years.

This can have serious impact for the future as insects are an integral part of our eco system, helping with the spread of plant life and also by being a food source for many species. This could have a knock-on effect going all the way up the food chain, which could end up affecting us all.