Don’t Swat! Alabama’s Bugs May Be Disappearing

By Hayden Holmes Brown. This program aired on WBHM radio on August 21, 2018.

Imagine of a yellow butterfly.

Image courtesy of Jeremy Johnson.

Scientists recognize Alabama as one of the most biodiverse states in the US but know far less about its insect diversity. A landmark German study published last year shows that in the past three decades, the population of flying insects there plunged by 75 percent. And there may be cause for concern here, too.

“That’s dangerous because insects are the foundation of our ecosystem” says E.O. Wilson, a Harvard biologist and native Alabamian.

Wilson says insects pollinate our plants and are a critical part of the food chain.

“If you took away insects, the entire thing would collapse,” Wilson says. “It would be a catastrophe.”

Listen to the program (3:28).

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