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  1. #1

    Default What was entomology?

    Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'"More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century."

    Gobsmacking news which you'd hope would provoke some kind of crisis announcement on the future of pesticides but no such luck. We seem to be hurtling towards a totally avoidable collapse of our insect populations but the politicians are too stupid or too financially involved in the destruction to act on the latest reports, it's extremely frustrating.

    With the news buzzing through my head I thought it was high time to revitalise a bit of habitat I've made in an old relined cattle trough fed by the shed guttering. I headed up to a pond in the woods above us to get a starter pack and swept the net through a couple of times. It was good to see there are still a few strongholds of insect diversity left, among the olive nymphs kicking in the net I saw several bugs which I've generally taken to be corixa, closer examination suggested something else, I think it's a Common Backswimmer, Notonecta glauca, a beautiful thing, a little jewel out of the mud and just one of the millions of species under threat. Now relatively threat free in the trough, probably eating the nymphs I'm hoping to see hatching later in the year.

    Musha rig um du rum da

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What was entomology?

    Also know as water boatmen (lesser and greater) I think.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What was entomology?

    Human populations are probably dictating the amount of food necessary to be cultivated, farmers etc are duly providing such demands, governments welcome the provisions, tax as required & ignore such things as pesticides being used & infiltrating any waterways where run-offs cause more devastaion than they want to be aware of. Lose the bees, lose life!
    2019 & it will be time for a change.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What was entomology?

    Quote Originally Posted by kirk View Post
    Also know as water boatmen (lesser and greater) I think.
    The greater ones when they reach adult size are quite capable of giving you a nasty nip!

    On the subject of the general decline... people are greedy and short sighted, we are doomed!
    Maxima (or Drennan Sub Surface Green) forever

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What was entomology?

    Nothing will change until we address the population, nobody wants to go there, we're fooked.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What was entomology?

    With rising world populations and more pressure on land for food production, some on very marginal land at that, things can only get worse.
    Crop failures are a matter of life and death for many countries, so use of chemical controls, irrigation that depletes natural water sources, forest clearance, soil erosion, climate change, will only increase, it's a perfect storm and it's heading our way.
    I wonder how long many of these pesticides persist in the environment, I know many are claimed to be "biodegradable" but they never tell us how long that takes and it is constantly being added to the system.
    Think about the chemicals you flush down the toilet / sink or through your washing machine or dishwasher and wonder where that ends up and what that does to our rivers.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What was entomology?

    In terms of World population, whilst it is predicted to increase, I saw a documentary showing that in the "Western" world populations are generally static or even declining, in Asia the rate of increase is substantially slower and that virtually all of the future population growth will occur in Africa. This is where any future crisis will originate.
    “There is no more lovely country than Monmouthshire in early spring. Nowhere do the larks sing quite so passionately, as if somehow inspired by the Welsh themselves. There is a blackbird on every thorn and a cock chaffinch, a twink as they call him there, on every bush...... It moved me profoundly. I had been spared to see another spring, and I thank God for it.”

    Oliver Kite
    “A Spring Day on the Usk”
    A Fisherman’s Diary

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What was entomology?

    The frustrating thing is although some aspects are very tricky to control at a local scale, such as climate change, many impacts are very easy to reduce/stop.
    One of the research projects looked at blue winged olive across the U.K. and Europe.
    It’s findings won’t massively surprise anyone who has a passing interest in our rivers-
    Highlights
    • Elevated fine sediment significantly increases mortality of Serratella ignita eggs.

    • Elevated orthophosphate significantly increases mortality of S. ignita eggs.

    • Fine sediment increased mortality when added to orthophosphate treatments.

    • Fine sediment has a greater impact on egg mortality than orthophosphate.

    • S. ignita eggs are impacted at relatively low concentrations of both stressors.

    So basically, if the farming industry improved it’s practices much of the impact could be removed.
    We already know how to farm without huge run-off and sediment dumping into our rivers. But it is cheaper (and in small farms cases often seen as the only option) to overstock and carry out farming operations poorly and at the wrong time of year.
    Anyone who has waded up a river during or after heavy rain in an agricultural area can’t help but notice the torrents of sediment that pour into our rivers.
    Last edited by boisker; 13-02-2019 at 12:37 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What was entomology?

    Quote Originally Posted by boisker View Post


    So basically, if the farming industry improved it’s practices much of the impact could be removed.
    We already know how to farm without huge run-off and sediment dumping into our rivers. But it is cheaper (and in small farms cases) to overstock and carry out farming operations poorly and at the wrong time of year.
    Anyone who has waded up a river during or after heavy rain in an agricultural area can’t help but notice the torrents of sediment that pour into our rivers.
    This is something I have mentioned before, locally, when I was young, this area was a farming district, 5 farms in our little village alone, there are none now, only one on the other side of the valley. All the local ditches that drained the farmland ended in ponds which allowed sediment to settle out. Some ditches had boards or stonework across which "dammed" the water and had the same effect, ditches were dug out regularly and the sediment thrown onto the hedge banks which lined the streams and ditches. All the ditches and ponds have now been filled in or are neglected and the run off from the remaining fields colour's the few streams that are left bright yellow from the local clay, when there is any water in them that is, which is rarely.
    The re-establishment of the old ditch or systems would go a long way to reducing sediment run off but there is no profit for a farmer in doing it.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What was entomology?

    Just as a quick snapshot... this was a sediment trap set up by Devon Wildlife Trust on a farm demonstration/ advisory event... just this one trap collected over 7 tonnes of earth in about a month!

    A field that looks like many others right across the countryside, only a small section of it covered by the trap, on a fairly easy gradient slope.... 7 tonnes!
    Sort of brings the problem into perspective...

    (And to avoid confusion it was on private land, not Devon Wildlife Trust land...)

    This is the original tweet and comments-
    https://mobile.twitter.com/devonwild...582785?lang=en

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