Your Call's One Planet Series: Why are flying insects dying off at alarming rates?

KALW Radio     By Rose Aguilar and Malihe Razazan    October 22, 2017

Listen to a great commentary on a recent study showing decline in flying insect populations and pollinator declines in general. Speaking are Dr. Neal Williams (UC Davis) and Dr. Dave Goulson (University of Sussex)

The Monday October 23, 2017 broadcast of Your Call: One Planet Series


Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth, but since 2006, honey bees and other pollinators have experienced rapid population declines. New research has found that the flying insect population in nature reserves across Germany has plummeted by 75 percent in the past 25 years.

Scientists warn that this trend can lead to an ecological Armageddon. What is causing this? And what can be done to stop it? Join our next Our Planet series on Your Call, with Rose Aguilar, and you.


Neal Williams, professor of Pollination and Bee Biology in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis

Dave Goulson, biologist, conservationist, and professor of Biology at the University of Sussex

Web Resources:

LA Times: Wild bees are least abundant where they're most needed, study says

The Guardian: Warning of 'ecological Armageddon' after dramatic plunge in insect numbers

A Sting in the Tale review - A Book to Make You Bee-Conscious

The Guardian   By  Nicholas Lezard               4/22/14

A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees  (By Dave Goulson)

Dave Goulson presents an entertaining, fascinating and important study of the plight of the bumblebee.

It was Peter Cook who first formally identified the comic potential of the bee; there is something funny about them (such as Cook's Holy Bee of Ephesus, who buzzed around Our Saviour on the cross). They may sting (not the males, though, I was pleased to learn), but they also have charm, and, literally, sweetness. The bumblebee is the most charming of the lot; even its Latin name, Bombus, is amusing, and in the way Professor Goulson tells its story, we are never far from a smile, however clearly he states their grave predicament. It would appear their charm has rubbed off on him.

I noticed the words "bestseller" on the cover of this book, and thought "Come off it," but Goulson is particularly gifted at transmitting his enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, these flying balls of fur, so it shouldn't be a surprise. Experts in animal behaviour do tend to be, to a hugely engaging degree, oddballs. (Cf Hugh Warwick's A Prickly Affair, about hedgehogs, which I reviewed four years ago.)

It might be best, though, if you read this book in solitude. Right from the start, anyone near me was at risk of being bombarded with Fascinating Facts I'd picked up. For instance...