Insect populations are in decline worldwide. I can add a personal anecdotal data point to this: we were in Africa on safari ten years ago. As you would expect, there were bugs everywhere. We just got back from a similar trip, revisiting some of the same places we had been before. There were hardly any insects at all, even in the rain forest.
Personally, that scares the hell out of me.
Insect populations varied wildly year by year. Like hugely wildly. One year it would be tons, swallowing bugs as you'd cycle, the next you'd hardly notice them.
Little anecdotes like yours are honestly not meaningful as you don't realise just how variable these things are naturally.
No person is in a position to observe the next effect of population decreases across many such cycles.
They openly described their statement as an anecdote.
Meanwhile, you're making a pretty conclusive statement here, without any apparent evidence for it. How do you know their observed reduction in insect population is "background cycle" and not the global reductions scientists have been empirically observing?
It's really hard to conclude "the insect population is dropping" by being one person in one environment once. Even by being multiple people, even over time.
That's why science exists. And it's really difficult (eg., cf., the replication crisis).
You have to really misread the comment you replied to in order to claim it stated it was "conclusively observing statistical effects".
> A monarch count led by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in November found only 28,429 of the iconic orange-and-black insects wintering along the California coast. That figure represents an 85% drop from the previous year and a 99.4% plunge compared with 40 years ago.
> “In our grove alone we would have 250,000 monarchs in the 1980s,” said Danielle Bronson, a state park interpreter at Pismo State Beach. “This season we had about 3,000 at our peak.”
> Other butterfly populations have been hit even worse.
> At least 20 species are disappearing faster than the monarch, said Matt Forister, an ecologist at the University of Nevada, Reno.
> They include the large marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides), the field crescent (Phyciodes campestris campestris), the west coast lady (Vanessa annabella), the common sooty wing (Pholisora catullus) and the California ringlet (Coenonympha tullia california).
It is more than a boom and bust issue, although for painted ladies it does seem to be a cycle:
> Even the painted ladies (Vanessa cardui) appeared to be suffering as recently as last year. In 2018, Shapiro counted just 27 of the butterflies at the 10 sites he monitors on a regular basis. A year earlier, that number was 512.
Every time I thought that they'd finish passing by me, another wave of them would come. It was relentless and awesome.
You are only 2-5 money steps removed from the process of spraying pesticides all over these butterflies' environment.
Same as it ever was.
I mostly buy bulk and staples (less processed foods). Also favor local, co-ops, and farmers markets. But it's not very practical. I wish I had better options, strategies.
Around here the branding is "økologisk" and based on what I read here I think it is quite a bit stricter than the US (but I only grew up on a farm, worked on farms and spent a few months in farming school. I haven't practiced farming for 20 years and I didn't specialize in ecologic farming.)
We cannot use organic farming to feed the world population at it's current size. Food production has multiple requirements, and land use is the weakness of organic farming.
The best way to reduce land use, climate altering gasses, pesticide use, and pollution, in agriculture is, hands down, eliminating meat from your diet. This is because about 70% of all agricultural land use in the US for to producing meat. By eliminating meat production it had been suggested that we can cut agricultural land use by 40-50%. This article is a good starting point for more information: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160926-what-would-happen-i...
In order to help rebuild insect environments, I would recommend trying to expand The range of local plant life in your area, starting with your lawn if you have one.
There is actually a good documented example. https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/55/1/80/248302
Back when I was young locust plagues were a thing. They wiped out vast areas crop land. We they came near the cities the eat the washing on the line.
I noticed they were dropping off. Now I haven't heard about a locust plague anywhere in at least a decade. Which was odd, because when they were happening we spent huge amounts of money trying to control them. Planes would fly through the things dispensing insecticide, but it wasn't terribly effective because the insect bodies with pile up inside the engines causing them to over heat. In fact nothing we did seem to have much effect.
What wiped them out was changes in land use. Part of their life cycle was burring their eggs just below the surface on fertile grass land. Planting crops wasn't a killer issue for them - but ploughing was. Eventually we converted all those locust breeding grounds to crop land, and once we did that they were gone.
They are gone forever now - extinct. If you read the article you can see we were triumphant over eliminating a major pest for a while. Now, not so much.
At the same time there's no butterfly quantity crisis.
I wonder about journalists writing news titles, are they stupid, or do they pretend they are?
Miscommunication, misunderstanding is the norm. We just have to power thru it.