The Atlantic

Insects Are In Serious Trouble

In western Germany, populations of flying insects have fallen by around 80 percent in the last three decades.
Source: Todd Korol / Reuters

The bottles were getting emptier: That was the first sign that something awful was happening.

Since 1989, scientists from the Entomological Society Krefeld had been collecting insects in the nature reserves and protected areas of western Germany. They set up malaise traps—large tents that funnel any incoming insect upward through a cone of fabric and into a bottle of alcohol. These traps are used by entomologists to collect specimens of local insects, for research or education. “But over the years, [the Krefeld team] realized that the bottles were getting emptier and emptier,” says Caspar Hallmann, from Radboud University.

By analyzing the Krefeld data—1,503 traps, and 27 years of. Over the same period, the weight of insects caught in the height of summer, when these creatures should be at their buzziest, fell by 82 percent.

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