Talk Will Consider Declining Insect Populations

Bugs. Most of us would prefer not to share space with them. But with their numbers in sharp decline around the world, Susannah Wood, chairman of the Norfolk Conservation Commission, believes we had better take notice.

She will present a slide talk Saturday, April 6, at 4:00 p.m. at the Norfolk Library titled, “Insects in Peril—Why We Should Care and What We Can Do.”

I knowlot of people go, ‘Ewww, bugs!’ but I have never felt that way. The insects that bother us are a tiny part of the insect world and I hope to broaden people’s perspective,” she said.

Insects are disappearing at alarming rates around the world. In the last 40 years, it’s estimated that we have lost 50 per cent of the world’s insects, according to the first global review published in the journal “Biological Conservation.” 

“I know attention has been very focused lately on pollinators, creating pollinator gardens and trying to help those important partners in our eco-system,” she continued. But when Oliver Millman, who wrote “Insect Crisis,” came to the Haystack Book Festival in 2022, “it made me realize the problem is bigger than pollinators.”

Milman and his book made Wood aware that insects are the underappreciated sanitary engineers and nutrient recyclers of our world. “I wanted to explore the whole panoply of insect life, how amazing they are and why they are imperiled,” she said. “So many creatures depend on bugs for food, and it goes right up the food chain to creatures much larger than insects. They are in bad shape and it’s kind of alarming. I wanted to know what we could do to preserve this eco-system, this bubble of life around insects.”

It turns out that many factors are spurring loss of insect populations, including loss of habitat, heavier use of pesticides and possibly climate change. “It’s happening in so many places,” Wood said. “Our environment is so fragmented. I have a big bottle of Round Up that I need to get to the next Hazardous Waste Day, but my neighbor might still use that product—and you have no control over that. So, the best thing you can do is educate people.”

Her program is sponsored by the Norfolk Conservation Commission. Register here.

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