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No ants, no flies - Any Ideas?  RSS feed

 
Nancy Marshall
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Take a look at the video from farmers around the northern midwest.  Anyone else seeing this?  What's going on?

 
Casie Becker
gardener
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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I watched the first video and have been trying to convince myself to watch the second one. Ants and flies feel like they should be right up there with cockroaches on the list of ultimate survivors. The idea that there's something out there unintentionally eradicating them scares me. Around here just the water would be attracting the insects without needing extra food.
 
Beth Stodghill
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Location: Northern Middle Tennessee
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Okay, so this terrifies me.  This is exactly what I came to the forum looking for.  We live in a cedar home on our farm in middle Tennessee.  Every year we are inundated with wasps.  They were here when we moved in and we could not convince them to leave.  Same with the wood bees.  This year both are nonexistent. 

As a matter of fact, we have no pollinators whatsoever.  I am afraid I am going to have to take a brush out to the garden and hand pollinate everything.  Our fruit trees, the redbuds, and the honeysuckle are usually buzzing (literally) with activity.  This year, nothing.  And we have no fruit forming on the trees.

Normally the area around the duck pen would be teeming with flies.  We have a few gnats but no flies.  Despite the alternating rain and sunny weather we have no horse flies.  

Anyone else noticing this?  My husband says I am being an alarmist.  Maybe so, but I am alarmed!
 
r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Maybe they all moved west?  We have a very healthy population this year... a lot more than years previous.  But we have more bug eating wildlife on our property than years gone by too, so it's making a nice balance.

I wonder if the people who did those videos could do us one where they look for the critters that usually eat these bugs?  Another video on analysing what's changed in the bugs food sources.  And yet another one on what surrounds them - like up their watershed, pollutants upwind, new weather patterns in the winte r (too cold, too hot), stuff like that. 


Whenever we have a change in small-life (bugs, frogs, and other sensitive wild creatures), I like to look around and see what's changed.

For example, this year we have fewer yellow jackets.  But last year, we had a lot of bauld face hornets which eat wasps.  So they are starting with less population than normal.  Then we had unusual weather this winter, so that had an effect. 
 
Beth Stodghill
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Location: Northern Middle Tennessee
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I wonder if the people who did those videos could do us one where they look for the critters that usually eat these bugs?  Another video on analysing what's changed in the bugs food sources.  And yet another one on what surrounds them - like up their watershed, pollutants upwind, new weather patterns in the winte r (too cold, too hot), stuff like that.  
We had a much, much warmer winter than normal.  We actually expected more insects this year not fewer.  I had been hoping to purchase two bee nucs this year but all the apiaries in the area saw huge losses of hives over the winter.  Too warm, maybe?  And those who are creating new hives now are seeing unhealthy comb patterns.

We have fewer frogs, toads, and tadpoles this year and we still have not seen the first bat. 

Maybe they all moved west?  We have a very healthy population this year... a lot more than years previous.

Glad to hear things are going well in your area.  I guess we might have to have our produce shipped in!

Guess I'll just keep a watchful eye and see if I can coax more pollinators to out little valley.

Thanks!


Btw, my maiden name was Ranson.  Wonder if we're related?
 
Nancy Marshall
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I wish I could get more of the circumstantial info on these vids, but I'm just passing them along.  I saw them on youtube and began mentioning missing bugs to people here (WV, Greenbrier County).  They've noticed a distinct lack of bugs this year.  Hikers don't need anti-bug slatherings.  Memorial Day picnics counted 5 flies total.  We had a huge flood here last June, a mild winter, and yet I can keep the door wide open on my gallery - and maybe see one little flying creature a day.  I was out mushrooming last week on a drizzly day in a cow pasture/woods - no bugs.  The blackberry crops are HEAVY this year according to blossoms.  If the berry turnout is low, then we'll know pollinator population is low too, right? 

We're not alone in noting bug loss. This Science Mag article is worth a look:  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/where-have-all-insects-gone  ; I was recently in AL at a house with swallows nesting in the eaves.  They haven't noticed any reduction in the aerial acrobatics of these bug hunters, but maybe the swallows are having to fly/hunt more to get the same meal.  Hand-pollinating?  http://beesandroses.com/2017/05/11/hand-pollinate-grow-food-anywhere/ ; Most articles I read, searching for "hand-pollinate my garden" focused on growing plants for pollinators - not 'no pollinators, oh crap!, how do I do this?'  The UN urges people to use bugs as their protein source?  Too late, maybe. 

Solutions, not fear.  Hand-pollinating ideas
 
Beth Stodghill
Posts: 3
Location: Northern Middle Tennessee
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Ok, no fear.  How about a healthy dose of concern.  Found this video on YouTube.  What can't you find on YouTube?  

Heading out to try it now.  We will see if it improves our yield.   So far no fruit set on anything.
 
Alexandra Clark
Posts: 87
Location: Long Island, NY
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Here on Long Island, we have the usual amount of bugs and bees. I support a HUGE colony of ground bees and they were as happy as ever this year in their little holes, doing the mating dances.

I plant native insectiary support here, as I have a lot of entomology knowledge. I know without the right plants for the right bugs, you aint gonna get the bugs you need.

Remember too that when the colonists started planting their alien food crops nothing was pollinated and they had to bring their European honey bees over here, they did not exist in this land, in order to do the pollination.  The European Honey Bee is an alien, and while very important to our food supply, they are extremely susceptible to environmental issues.

 
 
Marsha Richardson
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We travel over a large part of central Virginia every weekend and have for many years.  We noticed starting last year that there are no insects flying around the lights at the stores, gas stations, etc. which used to be just covered in insects at night.  My daughter is an entomologist living in upstate NY and she has noticed the same situation.  It is totally scary.  Last year we also noticed a sharp drop in pollinators where we used to have many and many different kinds.  We got NO fruit on any of our trees.  This year, as an experiment, I went out with a feather duster and "dusted" all the fruit trees when they were blooming.  The trees that were dusted have fruit, the undusted trees have maybe one or two fruits on them.  This is truly a scary scenario.  Stock up on feather dusters!
 
Annie Lochte
Posts: 57
Location: The Ocala National Forest. Florida, USA
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No answers just today's observation. I'm in the north central Florida woods. We are usually dry from mid April to June 5-10 or so. Still there is usually lots of biting insects. Horse flys, deer flys, mosquitoes, and a myriad of similar blood sucking insects are just starting to drive all warm bloods crazy. Well, we have had extra dry conditions for past year and now, and on June 9 2017 there's like 1/50th the biting insects there normally is... It may change tomorrow, we had rain 2 days ago, still, I find it strange to be outside till 9:30 pm in shorts without getting "carried away"
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I would imagine that the areas that are experiencing draught conditions are seeing a reduced amount of insect life.
The warm winter weather caused by the climatic change going on should produce more insects not reduce them.
That means that the reduction is most likely the result of other conditional changes such as the draught's reduction of water, the one thing life can't do without for any length of time.

There are two university studies going on in my state now that are focused on the effects of climatic change to animal life and insect life.
One thing I have recorded for these studies is that our honey bee population (wild bees) has dropped 56 % over two years ago for the spring time period.
In my area there has been, at this same time, an increase in horse flies and buffalo gnats which is a 47% increase over the last two years.
Interestingly enough we have also experienced increased rains in months we are normally drier than our "monsoon" season.
June is cooler than previous years as we have yet to see 90 degree temperatures when the past 15 year average is prior to June 10th for the first 90 degree day.
We got the normally April/ May rainy season for February, March, April and May this year with some rain events far more intense in rain fall than "normal" years.
At the same time there were fewer tornado events than "normal" years.

This is a true trend now that we have three years of data to look back on and use for statistical analysis. It is showing that we are having season changes going on instead of seasonal changes. The period we used to call winter is pushing forward along with all the other seasons.

Redhawk
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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I would imagine that the areas that are experiencing draught conditions are seeing a reduced amount of insect life.
The warm winter weather caused by the climatic change going on should produce more insects not reduce them.
That means that the reduction is most likely the result of other conditional changes such as the draught's reduction of water, the one thing life can't do without for any length of time.


I live in an area that is variable in any case, with rapid temperature swings and an erratic spring. I've noticed that these swings do lots of damage to blooming trees and other crops, thus reducing their ability to provide for pollenating insects. Also, warm spells seem to wake up insects, particularly bees, while it is still too early in the year.

Could this be part of the problem? Not just even warmth, but erratic change damaging the finely tuned balance between plants, herbivores, and predators.
 
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