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Where have all the bugs gone?

 
Jeff McLeod
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Location: New Hampshire
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I thought I would throw this one up as a question because I'm pretty stumped at the moment. I'm not seeing anywhere near the level of insects this year as I have in previous years. Most concerning seems to be the lack of any kind of bee. So far this year mosquitoes seem to be down to nothing and even moths etc seem to have taken a vacation. I'm in Southern New Hampshire and we have had a pretty wet year of it so far which could of course account for some of it. But just going on other signs it seems pretty eerie. For example my wife has a huge bed of pinks which are normally bee central and this year we haven't seen one bee. Normally we also see more than a few bumble bees around our chives but again so far this year nothing.

Has anyone else noticed this ... or is this a localized thing?

Peace

Jeff
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Yes, I've notice a huge decline in my area of Pennsylvania. The drop off starting around 2004. And now in 2013, I'm talking like 90%. It's spring here and still there are very few insects both beneficial and garden pests. Some of my early and late large flowering plants used to be teeming with an incalculable amount of insects, their activity literally deafening when standing near... No more.
 
Judith Browning
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Our persimmons are buzzing with honey bees but the hive is on our land...and it is an exceptional hive this year. For here, I think it is early for bumble bees...they are more and more prolifc here but summer time. I am seeing very few swallow tails but lots of moths..the usual few lady bugs...I don't know...maybe fewer bugs but we have had a cooler spring than usual and the things that the bumbles really like...anise hyssop and squash and melons aren't blooming yet. A little cabbage worm damage...What we are noticing is that TICKS are much worse this spring than other years.
It will be interesting to watch this thread and see if there is a trend.
 
Jay Green
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We are having incredible blossoms this year of honeysuckle (NEVER seen such blossom in old folks' memories), clover and other flowers...and the honeybees are here, working away(no one in the area has bees). We haven't seen this variety and number of butterflies since the late 70s...this has been a wonderful year for them.

All of our fruit trees were pollinated like never before and are carrying bumper crops of developing fruit~these trees usually bear little, if any. We had to prop up the limbs of the peach trees already. We have less bumblebees but all the other bugs(chickens are eating in abundance) and pollinators are in full force except the common house fly...haven't seen a single one. Not in the chicken coop, outside or inside the house...none. We aren't complaining!

 
Greta Fields
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Yeah, they are definitely gone in my area of Ky. too. You can google bee death and you'll find ou tthe answer. They know the answer, they just don't have a solution yet. It's all politics about pesticides [an issue I don't think Paul wants on here, so you gotta look it up].
I am thrilled to see any bugs. I am, however, worried about the African bees moving here eventually. I plan on being vey nice to them.
 
alex Keenan
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I live in Cincinnati Ohio and I have had only a certain black aphid that ants raise this year so far. I always had domestic and wild bees but this year I have seen few bees. Not sure why so few insects this year. The plants growing on the five acres has not changed. However, the land around me has been sprayed for either corn or soya beans.
 
Jeff McLeod
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Location: New Hampshire
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Jay Green wrote:We are having incredible blossoms this year of honeysuckle (NEVER seen such blossom in old folks' memories), clover and other flowers...and the honeybees are here, working away(no one in the area has bees). We haven't seen this variety and number of butterflies since the late 70s...this has been a wonderful year for them.

All of our fruit trees were pollinated like never before and are carrying bumper crops of developing fruit~these trees usually bear little, if any. We had to prop up the limbs of the peach trees already. We have less bumblebees but all the other bugs(chickens are eating in abundance) and pollinators are in full force except the common house fly...haven't seen a single one. Not in the chicken coop, outside or inside the house...none. We aren't complaining!



Thanks Jay - what area are you in? Seems to be the more Northern States so far that are seeing fewer bugs. That is a good point about the flies ... they seem to have dropped off in our chicken coop as well.
 
Rick Roman
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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I'm glad to hear that this is not universal! Yes, It is a little early in the season, but I'm not talking about just the early spring and It's not just pollinators but many different insects I should have carpenter ants up the wazoo, but now very few. In my local area all the beekeepers have had massive losses. My hives did not survive this winter. Also, In the past I would feed the birds year round, they too have dropped off.
 
Jay Green
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McLeod Jeff wrote:
Jay Green wrote:We are having incredible blossoms this year of honeysuckle (NEVER seen such blossom in old folks' memories), clover and other flowers...and the honeybees are here, working away(no one in the area has bees). We haven't seen this variety and number of butterflies since the late 70s...this has been a wonderful year for them.

All of our fruit trees were pollinated like never before and are carrying bumper crops of developing fruit~these trees usually bear little, if any. We had to prop up the limbs of the peach trees already. We have less bumblebees but all the other bugs(chickens are eating in abundance) and pollinators are in full force except the common house fly...haven't seen a single one. Not in the chicken coop, outside or inside the house...none. We aren't complaining!



Thanks Jay - what area are you in? Seems to be the more Northern States so far that are seeing fewer bugs. That is a good point about the flies ... they seem to have dropped off in our chicken coop as well.


I'm in mid-western WV. Reports from my other homeplace in the eastern panhandle (higher elevations and colder temps) are the same....big blossom, big pollinators, but they have their normal load of flies due to the high volume of commercial poultry houses in the area.
 
Judith Browning
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Jeff and Rick, Are you noticing fewer frogs, snakes and lizards also? We are surrounded by hundreds of acres of mostly forested land...it is not farm land...what is cleared is usually pasture so no full scale pesticide/herbicide use except by the power companies. I think the bird population is normal and bats too...my husband thinks fewer frogs...I see a lot of toads and lizards though. Fruit set for us this year is like Jay says well pollinated and looking exceptional. I have been seeing ant hills out on our walks but none near by and a huge rock moved by a bear we think...looking for grubs.
Your observations are scarey...any guesses why? pesticedes? climate change? natural cycles?
This state did not lose bees like everywhere else...less big ag?
 
Jeff McLeod
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Location: New Hampshire
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Judith Browning wrote:Jeff and Rick, Are you noticing fewer frogs, snakes and lizards also? We are surrounded by hundreds of acres of mostly forested land...it is not farm land...what is cleared is usually pasture so no full scale pesticide/herbicide use except by the power companies. I think the bird population is normal and bats too...my husband thinks fewer frogs...I see a lot of toads and lizards though. Fruit set for us this year is like Jay says well pollinated and looking exceptional. I have been seeing ant hills out on our walks but none near by and a huge rock moved by a bear we think...looking for grubs.
Your observations are scarey...any guesses why? pesticedes? climate change? natural cycles?
This state did not lose bees like everywhere else...less big ag?


Hi Judith - definitely fewer frogs. We don't get too many snakes even during the warmest years and no real lizards. We still have a family of bats that fly around every evening. I'm hoping the changes I'm seeing this year are some sort of cyclical thing or at worst can be attributed to the cold wet and windy start we had to the spring that hasn't really let up. I don't think it's pesticides since we aren't really a big agriculture state - certainly this year has seen some strange weather so perhaps climate change? The practical fella in me thinks that it's a result of the wind/rain/cold we've seen doing a number on emerging insects. But that's just a wild guess on my part in no way backed up by anything.

 
Rick Roman
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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I haven't seen a toad in two years, we have less frogs, defiantly due to drought. I put water out for the frogs ( i haven't installed the ponds yet) and I check for frogs frequently. There is a drop in numbers but the frogs are still around. We have a good amount of garter snakes but I have not seen a copperhead in over 4 years, thats really strange. I make sure there is plenty of amphibian and reptile friendly habitats all around the property like toad homes, rock piles and massive amounts of wood piles. Some good news, I still have a few boxer turtles!! Luv those little guys.
 
Renate Howard
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Location: zone 6b
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When I was in Pennsylvania I also noticed an odd lack of insects in my area. I don't know how much had to do with the mosquito control programs (fear of West Nile) and spraying for invasive emerald ash borers, and how much because of competition from marmorated stink bugs because it seemed as the numbers of marmorated stink bugs went up numbers of almost all other bugs dropped. Could be a coincidence. Could also be that they were planting a LOT of that bt corn in the area, maybe when the pollen blew around it killed off lots of insects. Here in KY there are no lack of bugs but nobody much around here grows row crops, they all grow grass.

ETA: there's something in Round-Up that kills tadpoles or makes them deformed. I found one that had a 5th leg sticking out its side! It gets in the runoff from the fields into the streams and ponds where it binds with the clay then under certain situations it is released again, so it can accumulate, seem inert then suddenly get re-activated at random times.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Varroa mite has decimated the NZ bee population since it's relatively recent arrival.
We've been chucking some incredibly brutal poisons around for many decades, but varroa's basically wiped out the wild hives and the organic honey industry for now.
Frogs are having a big comeback though. The populations took huge hits from environmental poisoning; and then there was some hideous lab escapee fungal disease...
In NZ, while 'cides keep up an ominous background hum, it's often biological menaces that have fast, obvious devastating effects.
 
Renate Howard
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'Tho the pesticides, fertilizers, etc. wear down their immune system so they can't fight off the biologicals. They see that in ocean fish - the huge die-offs are usually some disease, but the reason they don't just fight it off is the pollution. When you keep freshwater fish it's very clear and obvious - if the water's not right they get sick, keep the water right and no problems, usually. Germs are always present, but they usually only attack the weak. Same for mites, they go after the unhealthy more than the healthy.
 
John Polk
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No lack of house flies here in Seattle.
We had a warm & dry week, followed by a gazillion house flies.

Despite the warm/dry spell, there are still zero spider webs on the maple tree off of my deck.
Same for the path to the basement door.
There are usually dozens of them.

 
Jeff McLeod
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Location: New Hampshire
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Well good news to report ... I suppose. We finally saw a bee in the garden today. Only one ... but I guess it's a start.
 
Jay Green
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We plant white dutch clover between garden rows that attracts honeybees and also overseed the lawn with it. We are now sitting in the middle of a sea of white that is actively being worked by wild honeybees....you can hear them buzzing as you walk through the garden space.

We've seen quite a few toads...had 5 toads in our outside fire pit just this weekend that we could hardly run off so that we could start the fire~one stuck around and kept trying to get back into the wood stack. Lizards and newts galore...the grandchildren just carted 3 lizards and one newt home with them after the family reunion this weekend. The cat was spotted chewing on a lizard just the other day. One lives on our front porch and comes out and suns herself when we sit out there of a morning. One of the chickens was eating a baby snake the other day, so I know the snakes are still around. The neighbor killed a very aggressive king snake that measured out at nearly 7 ft. long...haven't seen that since I was a youngster.

Went fishing this weekend and saw a few box turtles along the way. I even jumped a whippoorwill on the road the other night as I came home...that's something I have not done since the 80s. This spring I've seen things that we haven't had for many years now, so it looks like this spring~at least~the birds, bees, bugs and other creatures that have been scarce are showing up in abundance. Still missing skunks, though. Plenty of bats and birds...I've seen and heard more species of birds than we have for many a long year.

It's been a perfect spring so far!
 
Rick Roman
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Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Good to hear Jay! Tuffed titmouse, chickadees, cardinals, haven't seen one since winter and you know how prolific they are. Every day I put out shelled and whole sunflower seeds, not one bird only squirrels. Shocking. What could have happened?
 
Aaron Festa
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Location: Connecticut
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I simply had to respond since Ive been thinking the same thing. Just through observation I feel there has been a general decline in insects so far. I live in the CT suburbs and while I certainly have enough to attract common insects, the sight of bees, butterflies or moths has been a rarity. I certainly dont know the cause but I do live in a neighborhood where chemically treating your lawn and spraying for weeds is socially acceptable. The greener your lawn the higher your social rank.
 
Jake Olson
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Location: Mora, Minnesota
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Don't worry about your mosquitoes. I think they all came to visit us in Central Minnesota to visit us I just moved back home this year and I can't even send the kids out to play, let alone pursue all of my permie dreams. The bugs are unbelievably bad here.

dang, I came on this forum looking for natural ways to control mosquitoes. How surprised to see someone on the other side of the country concerned by the lack of them.
 
James Graham
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Jake Olson wrote:Don't worry about your mosquitoes. I think they all came to visit us in Central Minnesota to visit us I just moved back home this year and I can't even send the kids out to play, let alone pursue all of my permie dreams. The bugs are unbelievably bad here.


Same here in Northeast Connecticut. I moved back from Costa Rica late last summer and it is here worse than the tropics.
 
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