If honeybees eat flowers that were previously treated with pesticides, it can be fatal for them. But wild bees, dragonflies and butterflies are just as threatened as insects living in the soil and water.
WHY IS INSECT DEATH DANGEROUS?
In the last 30 years, 75 percent of our insects have disappeared. 75 percent biomass has been lost: as food for birds, for amphibians, for bats and for predatory insects. Insects are at the top of the food chain.
And not only that: about two-thirds of our food plants depend on insects. We cannot yet estimate what consequences this will have for our flora and fauna in the coming years. Added to this is the economic value, which is in the billions. Honeybees in Germany alone generate 1.6 billion euros per year.
WHAT LEADS TO THE DECLINE IN INSECT POPULATIONS?
Now agriculture is certainly not solely to blame for the decline of insects. Many factors play a role here:
- Missing habitats for insects
- Surface sealing
- Private rockeries
- Monoculture and pesticides.
About half of our land is agricultural land. According to the insect experts and environmental toxicologists, 30 percent of the insect deaths are accounted for by agriculture, because it is injected with chemical or biological pesticides.
WHAT ROLE DO PESTICIDES PLAY IN INSECT DECLINE?
Weed killers (herbicides) are the first to use pesticides. They account for the largest proportion of spraying agents, at over 40 percent. The most famous is “glyphosate” – a total herbicide. Then come fungal agents (fungicides) and immediately lethal insecticides with about two percent. Thus, the use of pesticides always means a high risk to the environment, especially for insects.
The Federal Government’s “Insect Protection Action Program” aims to drastically reduce the negative effects on insects caused by pesticides of all kinds.
- Three neonicotinoids (insecticides) have also been banned across the EU for this reason. They lead to a disorientation of the insects and attack their brains.
- The use of glyphosate-containing plant protection products is to be stopped by 2021. The weed killers deprive the insects of their food base.
WHY DO WE NEED PESTICIDES?
Pesticides keep the plants healthy, protect them from fungal diseases and pests. Without pesticides, therefore, we would not be able to guarantee the food of the population. Harvesting would be more time-consuming, extreme pest years would lead to crop failure in certain crops and jobs would be at risk. This is what the Farmers’ and Winegrowers’ Association says.
Of course, it can also be done with less pesticide use. Organic farming shows it, but it still produces too little. The conversion from conventional cultivation to organic takes time. If you have pest problems try visiting cannabis broad mites. They are offering an organic pest control services.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
We consumers also have a responsibility: we would have to opt for more “eco” and be prepared to pay a few cents more. Sometimes it is not.
Instead of creating lawns and rockeries, we would have to decide to sow flowering meadows and, instead of spraying weed poison, to take the hoe.
And there is a lack of innovation, better advice for farmers, political decisions and more courage for reform.
Other countries, such as Austria, France, Sweden and Denmark, are good examples of how it can be done.