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Tag: insect

Ants living in the Australian desert are ready for ‘insect Armageddon’

Ants living in the Australian desert are ready for ‘insect Armageddon’

Science
July 16 (UPI) -- For 22 years, scientists studied ant populations in the Simpson Desert in northern Australia. Their findings suggest the ant species in the region are surprisingly resilient, capable of thriving amidst variable conditions -- and well prepared, perhaps, for the chance of an insect Armageddon. The term "insect Armageddon" was popularized in the wake of a study conducted in Germany. The study found the biomass of flying insects in German nature preserves declined by 75 percent over the course of 25 years. What the study means for the fate of insects more broadly remains a matter of debate, but plenty of research suggests pollinators like bees, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, moths and more aren't doing so great. An insect Armageddon would be bad news for humans and a...
Global insect decline may see 'plague of pests'

Global insect decline may see 'plague of pests'

Science
A scientific review of insect numbers suggests that 40% of species are undergoing "dramatic rates of decline" around the world.The study says that bees, ants and beetles are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles.But researchers say that some species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, are likely to boom.The general insect decline is being caused by intensive agriculture, pesticides and climate change. Insects make up the majority of creatures that live on land, and provide key benefits to many other species, including humans. They provide food for birds, bats and small mammals; they pollinate around 75% of the crops in the world; they replenish soils and keep pest numbers in check.Many other studies in ...
Rising global temperatures to cause insect crop losses, food shortages: Study

Rising global temperatures to cause insect crop losses, food shortages: Study

Technology
Rising global temperatures are leading to a boom in the number of insects devouring crops worldwide, and could cause future food shortages, says a study published last week in the journal Science. According to researchers, the global yield losses of wheat, maize and rice crops to pests, particularly in the temperate northern regions of the globe, are projected to increase by 10 to 25 percent per degree Celsius increase of global mean surface warming. "The impact of insects because of climate change could be at least as great and perhaps greater than the impact of climate on crop itself directly," Josh Tewksbury, a research professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and one of the authors of the study, told ABC News. "The major finding is that we're underestimating the degree to w...
Heatwave causes spike in insect bite calls to NHS

Heatwave causes spike in insect bite calls to NHS

Health
Media playback is unsupported on your device Although many of us are enjoying the balmy temperatures of this year's heatwave, unfortunately for some, biting insects are flourishing too. Calls to the NHS helpline 111 about insect bites are almost double the rate they normally are at this time of year.And senior doctors are reporting incidents of patients being treated in hospital for infected horsefly bites. Despite the heat, experts say standing water, such as garden paddling pools, where insects thrive should be removed.Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: "We wouldn't normally see anyone coming to hospital for a bite, but we have seen a few recently needing treatment with antibiotics which is very unusual. "A c...
Bees understand nothing; first insect to comprehend zero

Bees understand nothing; first insect to comprehend zero

Science
June 8 (UPI) -- Bees understand numerical zero, new research shows, making them the first insect to showcase their comprehension of the mathematical subject. Scientists in France began their research by training bees to sip sugar water from a series of platforms paired with images. The images featured different numbers of dots. Researchers used the setup to teach the bees inequality relationships, the concepts of "less than" and "greater than." Drinking platforms paired with images of larger numbers of dots featured a bitter quinine solution, while the platform outfitted with images of smaller numbers of dots featured the simple syrup. Tests showed the bees were able to learn to approach whichever platform showcased the image with fewest number of dots. In other words, the bees learned t...