The invisible tragedy of insects. Both wild bees and beetles that need them to live are dying out

2009 - 07 - 02
The invisible tragedy of insects. Both wild bees and beetles that need them to live are dying out

Central Europe’s nature has lost dozens of its insect species in recent decades. This is shown by the recently published Red List of Invertebrates of the Czech Republic. Of 161 butterfly species, 17 species have died out in the Czech Republic. Regarding bees and their relatives, 146 of their have species died out, i.e. 17 percent. Forty one wasp species died out, i.e. 20 percent. The situation of the rare Meloe beetle is even worse. The disappearance of pastures associated with the decline of beetle hosts from the blister beetle group, i.e. bees, wasps, and grasshoppers, killed 43 percent of the species of these interesting beetles.

“At the same time, about a third, or some ten thousand insect species, are at risk of extinction. The situation has not improved in recent years,” says Director Dalibor Dostal of the European Wildlife conservation organization.

That is why the most important projects of this conservation organisation focus on the restoration of natural meadows with the help of indigenous species of large ungulate animals. Bison, wild horses, and back-bred aurochs.

Protected areas of various categories cover almost a sixth of the Czech Republic. However, they do not create suitable conditions for the protection of endangered insects. “Big ungulates played a key role in the shaping of Europe’s landscape and creating an environment for numerous species of flowers and insects for decades. Without their return, protection of the open landscape will be very costly, ineffective, and endangered insect species will continue to die out,” said Dostal.

Photo: Ina Hensel / Wikimedia

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