What Insect Apocalypse?

Katydid on fuchsia

I had an interesting experience while I was out walking the dog one quiet Sunday morning not too long ago. Sunrise is getting later so we were out just after sunrise and it was still and quiet–until we approached our property.

As we got in front of the little patch of woods that we have, I heard all sorts of noise. I stopped because I couldn’t identify it at first. I hadn’t heard it anywhere else on the street. Then I realized it was insects. There were cicadas in the trees, and something else chirping, maybe katydids, and I think I am hearing trees frogs.

It’s been so long since I have heard tree frogs that I am not even sure. I used to hear them all the time 20 years ago. Then a new subdivision went in and a lot of trees were taken down and I haven’t heard them since. So how tree frogs might have found their way to our little patch of woods mystifies me, except that it is now one of the few “little patches” of woods left standing.

But whatever I was hearing was so loud that it literally stopped me in my tracks and it was only in front of my property. Everyone else’s property was quiet.

There are all sorts of articles dating back a couple of years ago talking about stories of insect die-offs as dramatic as 75%. This became known as the “insect apocalypse,” and dire warnings and predictions followed.

Fortunately, some of those studies and methodologies proved to be wrong. But for those of us of a certain age, we can notice that, for example, there are fewer of certain types of insects.

I vividly remember the 2 hour car trips to the beach and back as a child. When we arrived around 9 pm in the evening, our windshield and headlights would be bug-spattered.

Car trips of similar duration now don’t leave our cars bug-spattered. And while I am grateful for small favors, I don’t think the insects have become better navigators. I just think there are far fewer of them.

Is this a problem? I will leave that to the scientists to determine. But in the meantime, I will be grateful that I have a cleaner car and a property that welcomes wildlife of all kind, even invertebrates.

4 thoughts on “What Insect Apocalypse?

  1. tonytomeo September 13, 2020 / 12:00 am

    No, not a problem. They move around.
    What is more of a problem is this ‘butterfly gardening’ fad that distracts pollinators from species that rely on them. Monarch Grove in Los Osos is groves of blue and red gum that monarch butterflies swarm to, but at the expense of native species. Tourists think it is great.

  2. gardendaze September 13, 2020 / 5:21 am

    Yes, the monarch thing is a little crazy. A very reputable (perhaps I should say otherwise reputable) organic garden center sells monarch chrysalises for home raising. I completely disapprove. I know someone who did this–the caterpillars can get all kinds of diseases if the habitat isn’t maintained properly.
    Now of course in the “wild” not every caterpillar makes it either. But at least those guys have some sense of what they’re going to face–natural selection and all. When we start getting involved–not good.


  3. The Chatsworth Lady September 17, 2020 / 11:50 am

    Other than the honeybee problem, I hadn’t heard about any insect apocalypse, to be honest. Two species that could definitely do with some major herd-culling are the two kinds of crickets that infest practically every structure in this part of the country, starting right about now and continuing till after a few hard frosts. One is the field/house cricket and the other is (ugh) the cave cricket, a/k/a the kangaroo cricket a/k/a the camel cricket. The latter are silent but can scare the bejeezus out of anyone. And don’t even get me started on stinkbugs….!!!! :-O

  4. gardendaze September 17, 2020 / 12:07 pm

    Oh yes, the stinkbugs–what joy!

    I had a camel cricket in my house the other morning, and you’ll love this–it was caught up in a spider’s web. For the life of me , I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at! NOT what you want to see first thing in the morning, that’s for sure!

    I have been using these Earthkind repellents with some modest success for mice and now spiders. I just want the spiders out of my bathroom and bedroom–they can stay anywhere else in the house. But I wonder if they’ll come up with anything for the really noxious pests like stinkbugs, conifer bugs and things like that?


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