Insects are a massive and vital aspect of our eco system.
A recent assessment in the Journal of Biological Conservation analyses the reduction in insects and argues that within the century we could lose all insects. Like a mass extinction event.
Specifically in Germany and Brazil it seems 40% of insect species are declining, though there are some species gaining ground. However, 33% of insect species are now endangered.
What is worrying is there is a very fast rate of extinction occurring, it’s thought to be faster than the extinction occurring in other species such as mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could easily be gone within a century.
Novel Oil Seeds
We are happy to have chosen English biodiverse novel oilseed crops for our formulations and products, from a supplier that is a member of the Bee Friendly Trust.
Their objective is to increase habitats for all pollinators and to promote biodiverse crops that allow late seasons for bees and other pollinators. These include flies, moths, bats wasps and some flower beetles.
Many of these novel crops rely on insect pollination, and play a key role in sustaining a healthy bee colony during the late summer months, a time other commercial crops have already been harvested.
There is a strong mutual interdependence between the bee and the plant, with a trade-off of nectar for pollination. Our suppliers also get honey from the borage (Starflower).
Flies are the second most frequent visits to many crops after bees. They have a vital roll in pollination, and many farmers are now trying to attract flies by hanging up fly attracting blends of pungent and decaying matter to draw in the flies like the blow fly, that is normally attracted by the smell of rotting fruit.
Starflower Supporting Bees
Oil seeds such as English starflower, English grown Camelina and English Avensis oil rely on insect pollination and help local ecosystems by supporting a healthy Bee population.
The bees live in the fields with the crops and are mutually dependant. RBIs is healthier than trucking bees around. Ensuring the fields are healthy enough to support the bees helps to support other insects.
Single crops have taken over the landscape and they create a lack of diversity, it’s has recently been found that this lack of diversity attracts insects, leading to more pesticide use.
The mechanisms are little understood but a recent study alludes to a concept that a farm field growing a variety of plants, tends to attract fewer insect pests than a field growing just one type of crop.
This is thought to be to do with what the insects need to eat eg their nutritional needs. The insects need a variety of different things to eat too! More plant diversity can actually lead to better pest control throughout farmland.
This monoculture and lack of diverse flower crops from the countryside has played its part in insect decline and the loss of U.K. bees and pollinators.