Fighting Insectageddon: Why Bugs Matter
Al Jazeera (2017)
This is a brief documentary about three programs in New Zealand, the UK and the US seeking to address an alarming drop in insect populations. A 2017 German study reveals some areas of the world have experienced a 75% drop in insect populations in 27 years. Entomologists blame excessive pesticide use and loss of natural habitat. The survival of the human species is totally dependent on insects, both for food crop pollination and waste decomposition.
The New Zealand program is a industrial-scale wetapunga breeding program at the Auckland zoo. The wetapunga is an enormous prehistoric locust-shaped insect dating from the dinosaur era. Once the nearly extinct wetapunga reach adolescence, they are released to special predator-free islands where there are no introduced mammals (eg rats, ferrets, stoats, etc) to eat them.
The UK program seeks out abandoned industrial sites (brown fields) to transform into insect reserves. One abandoned, these sites are rapidly reclaimed by wild vegetation. This makes them perfect for insects because the soil is totally pesticide-free.
In the US, an entomologist has invented a special microphone that can be hidden in beehives to monitor for signs of colony collapse.