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Bye bye bugs? Scientists fear non-pest insects are declining

September 20, 2018

OXFORD, Pa. (AP) — A staple of summer — swarms of bugs — seems to be more a thing of the past. And that’s got scientists worried.

Pesky mosquitoes, disease-carrying ticks, crop-munching aphids and cockroaches are doing just fine. But the more beneficial flying insects of summer — native bees, moths, butterflies, ladybugs, lovebugs and fireflies — appear to be less abundant.

Scientists think something is amiss. But in the past, they didn’t count the population of flying insects, so they can’t properly compare to today. Nevertheless, they’re pretty sure across the globe there are fewer insects that are crucial to as much as 80 percent of what we eat.

Suspects include habitat loss, insecticide use, the killing of native weeds, single-crop agriculture, invasive species, light pollution, highway traffic and climate change.

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