Germany's bug problem

Germany Has a Serious Bug Problem

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

An odd phenomenon is going on in Germany as the country’s bug population is declining at a rapid pace, and while most of us would see that as news to celebrate, the lack of insects are beginning to affect the natural ecosystem and the first victims appear to be the birds.

A team of researched recently released their alarming finding in the journal PLOS ONE that puts the flying insect population on high alert. In their research, the team studied the population figures over a 27 year period and found that within that time period, the number of bugs have declined a stunning 76 percent. Seeing a decline in the number of insects was expected, but none of the researches predicted the number would be so drastic.

Coincidentally, the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) released an alarming report of their own just one day later, calling attention to a steady decline in the amount of birds taking to the German skies. In just the last twelve years, the number of birds have fallen roughly 15 percent, which amounts to an estimated 12.7 million pairs of breeding birds.

“Almost all affected bird species feed their young ones with insects”

It is hard not to see a connection in the two reports as the bugs that have now become scarce are also a major food source for the birds gone missing. “Almost all affected bird species feed their young ones with insects,” NABU ornithologist Lars Lachman said in response to the two findings.

What is still up for debate is the actual cause for this decline, but most scientists involved have been quick to point out that climate change is most likely not a factor here. Insects tend to thrive in a warmer climate, so if anything the population should be rising. This leads some to draw a connection to either the amount of pesticides being used by farmers or the ever decreasing wildlife areas as more land is being developed for business and housing.

For now the birds affected aren’t considered endangered, and those that previously were have not been hit by the decline, but with the trend expected to continue, the question is which animals are next to be hit by the drop in the food chain?

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Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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