TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - There’s a problem bugging global scientists. A report says insects could become extinct in the next few decades, threatening every natural ecosystem.
A global scientific review published in the Biological Conversation Journal found insect species could disappear in 100 years or more.
“Insects are small and we pretty much only notice them when they are hurting us,” said Deby Cassill, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at USF St. Petersburg.
Bugs play an important part in the bigger picture.
“Without insects as a food source, we're going to see a dramatic decrease in birds,” said Cassill, adding other animals would be impacted, too.
The food chain decline is happening now. The review found over 40% of the world’s insects could be extinct in the next few decades.
Cassill studies insects and she said some impacts are more visible than others.
“We are no longer growing the food source for the caterpillars for butterflies, so we are seeing a drop in the monarch migrations,” said Cassill.
According to global scientists in the analysis, urban development and pesticide use are some causes for the decline.
Students concerned about nature said pesticides get rid of bad insects and the good ones that are useful for crops.
“It can really affect pollination things like that as well for a lot of plant species,” said Rachel Maloney, a USF student studying biology.
Biologists like Cassill said more people should talk about how to balance insects, animals, and humans before it’s too late.
“It is kind of a brave new world. I don't how we will adapt in the next 100 to 1000 years with the decimation of insects. It's a challenge,” Cassill said.
Scientists in that global review said - love them or hate them, humans can’t live without insects to keep the food chain flow. They said you can help by building a garden and using natural alternatives to chemicals.