This letter from Surrey in today’s Guardian reinforces the messages about loss of insects found across Europe, eg see insectageddon. The effect is disastrous right up the food chain. Something catastrophic has changed in our farming methods (most probably), and needs to be reversed. Is it neonicontinoids?
When I moved here 15 years ago, greenfly, dragonflies, hoverflies, bumblebees, honeybees and butterflies among others were common in the garden. There were swallows and martins in the sky in the summer. We had a colony of swifts in the church tower. The swifts, swallows and martins seem to have disappeared. I saw one swallow over the Thames but very few mayflies. I felt that an additional observation might be of interest. In doing a bit of housework, I realised that I’d not had to sweep for cobwebs for a long time and I found none, even after a search. The magpies, crows and jackdaws seem to be thriving, as do the foxes, so there seems to have been a specific change to spiders and insects and the birds that depend on them for food. I’ve no idea if neonicotinoids are responsible (Letters, 16 November) but something seems to be happening.
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Butterfly numbers are down – way down – there are fewer hoverflies around – two swifts spotted in my bit of Cheshire all summer – some swallows and martins on the wing and not too badly represented – but very few daddy long legs crane flies in autumn.
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