Is South Africa facing 'insect-ageddon'?

A headline in the New York Times last year claimed that 'The insect apocalypse is here'.

A recent study shows that, in some areas, flying insect numbers have fallen by a staggering 7% in the past 27 years.

So does this mean we're on the verge of the ecological collapse of the insect population or 'insect-ageddon'?

The University of Cape Town's Emeritus Professor Mick Picker says there's no doubt some insect species are declining and that humans are to blame.

The decline has been linked largely to the excessive use of new generation pesticides, urbanisation, land transformation and livestock grazing of which we have lots of across large parts of South Africa.

Emeritus Professor Mick Picker, Author of Field Guide to Insects

He says some species are more vulnerable than others.

We've got one in Cape Town - a butterfly which only has about 50 individuals a year and a single fire could wipe it out.

Emeritus Professor Mick Picker, Author of Field Guide to Insects

We don't even know how many insects we have on the planet. There are about 5 million described species, but we think there may be about 30 million and most will go extinct before we even know of there existence.

Emeritus Professor Mick Picker, Author of Field Guide to Insects

Listen to the full interview below:


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