Sunday, 13 May 2007

*Where have all the insects gone?

This is from Brian Orr:

Today I came across a rather deformed lady-bird; I presume the result of a fairly unsuccessful metamorphosis from it's chrysalis state.

Might this have any connection with my observations that the levels of insect populations have plummeted over the last few years - and I would estimate - are at about 1% of levels of 10 years ago?

Probably not in the overall scheme of things; but then again maybe?

Why are my garden tits still feeding on my fat-feeder here in May?Why are there hardly any swallows over London here in May?When did anyone see the massive swarms of flying ants that used to bedevil London's summers?Come to that, when did anyone see massive swarms of anything?Why are there hardly any spiders around - and bees - and wasps - and butterflies - and moths - and earwigs - and etc?

Why does nobody notice these things?

A colleague said that for the first time that he can remember his wall-flowers very nearly failed to set seeds last year - after decades of being 100% reliable.My garden has no ground-beetles of any kind; no cuckoo-spit or frog- hoppers; no crab spiders; no house-men, no crane-flies, no wolf- spiders, very few 'ground' spiders; few orb-web spiders; few jumping spiders; hardly any garden ants; no lace-wings; few flies of any kind; hardly any bees, either honey or bumble; very few centipedes; no wood-lice.

Lets not for the present waste any time on conjecturing what may be the reason behind my observations (particularly the hypothesis that I've lost it!) Could we, that is, those who are at least a little intrigued/worried by my observations, begin to establish the crudest of 'data-bases' by establishing those of us who also have noticed that things seem to be going all awry? I guess to make the 'data-base' at all representative, I should invite all those who are not completely oblivious to the natural world in London to let me know if they see hardly any echo of what I'm on about, otherwise my 'data-base' will be easily faulted by just being the observations of those who 'see things my way', at least to a degree.

So, please let me know if my observations reported above strike a chord with you - or not, as the case may be.

Best regards,
Brian Orr

PS I've noticed much the same sort of phenomenon on my summer holidays in semi-rural Southern France

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