There are no bugs. You are just imagining them. At any rate, Scott Gilmore in Maclean’s says they have vanished and “Climate change has played a huge role”. It’s why there are no more ants, bees or grasshoppers. If you thought you saw one, it’s probably heatstroke.
According to Gilmore “There used to be bugs. Everywhere. My childhood was filled with bugs…. A long drive to see the grandparents meant a bug splattered windshield…. There were itchy mosquito bites on my legs in the summer. And, in the still evening air, there were dragonflies patrolling overhead… Remember all the butterflies? Or grasshoppers in a jar?... I am now 48 years old, and there are no bugs in my world. I didn’t realize it until this spring. I had assumed the unusual cold was to blame. Then it occurred to me I could not recall the last time I had seen a ladybug. Or the last time I swatted at a horsefly. There are no ants in my yard…. I have since learned this is a phenomena being experienced all around the world…. Last year a review of over 70 recent research projects from around the world concluded that insect numbers have fallen so fast that over 40 per cent of all species may be extinct within the next few decades. So what is killing all the bugs?”
Well, you can probably guess. He starts with a nuanced view: “Entomologists believe it is many things, that have been happening together over many years, which cumulatively reached a tipping point. Pesticides, of course, have intentionally wiped out a large portion of the insects we classified as pests (even though they all played a specific role in the ecosystem, and even though the chemicals killed many other insects unintentionally).” But of course, especially given the unusual cold, it’s clear that “Climate change has played a huge role. And, at the same time, around the world small farms have declined, reducing the number of fence lines and hedgerows. Decades of deforestation in the Amazon and in Asia have eliminated whole biomes. Wetlands have been drained. Even artificial lighting has wreaked havoc for bugs. The implications are so large, it is difficult to fully process it. The entire food chain, of the entire planet, depends on insects…. If this is another chapter marker in the history of the planet, be assured that the human story is not continued in the next. I don’t need to tell you what to think about this or what we need to do. We all know.”
Right. And we know what comes top of the list: “Lower carbon emission, regulate chemicals, protect ecosystems” even though with all those factors, lowering carbon emissions will accomplish nothing. He winds up “I just asked my nine year old son if he has ever seen a live grasshopper, outside of books and television. He didn’t even hesitate. ‘No, why?’”
Anecdotal evidence is notoriously unreliable, not least because people of a certain age who grew up in rural areas and now live in cities are thinking back not only to different times but completely different natural environments. For what it’s worth, we have ants in our backyard and mosquitoes. There is serious doubt about these “insectageddon” claims. From all sorts of sources. But if you say we destroyed the planet and blame climate change in large part, you just hit print and your article will appear in Maclean’s.
Of course when we say bugs are gone due to climate change, we also mean all the nasty horrible bugs are thriving and getting stronger. The kind that give you diseases are flourishing thanks to climate change, which only hurts good stuff. Like human rights. Even HIV, it turns out, is increased by climate change, driving poor people in poor countries to go work in the Middle East where they are sexually exploited. So says the Stanley Center for Peace and Security and would they lie? (Incidentally their argument apparently hinges on health being a human right.) As we already noted, climate change is supposedly going to unleash swarms of big cannibal wolf spiders. Also the peat bogs are going to go whoosh crackle releasing more CO2 causing temperature to increase etc. and we’re all going to die.
Anyway, check your backyard for ants. We bet you find some. And get bitten by mosquitoes while looking.