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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

For the bugs

< is vibrant and full of life, the bugs it brings are often underappreciated. While insects may be annoying, they pollinate plants, are a key part of the food chain and help decompose past life.

A study conducted by Radboud University in Germany measured the biomass of insects at 63 nature reserves. Alarmingly, since 1989 there has been a 76% drop in insect biomass. Since there are few extensive insect records that span a long time in North America, bird surveys have been used from 1966-2006 to indirectly estimate insect populations. A study in 2010 by Canadian biologists compiled data that show a decline of North American birds that rely on aerial insects for food, indicating insect populations are in decline, too.

The decline in insects is one of the reasons our Arb is important. It serves as a refuge for a variety of animals and insects, too. The historically native plants in the arb and diversity of habitats allows for more insect species to be represented. Having a space without habitat destruction, insecticide use, killing of natural weeds and monoculture farming creates a home for insects.

This summer the Arb had an amazing turnout of monarchs due to the variety of fall wildflowers. Among the most popular butterfly snacks was the blazing star flower. Thousands stopped by to reenergize for their migration south! Take the time to venture out into the arb and find the insects that we protect and need to keep our Arb vibrant.

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