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Insects scuttle, chew and fly through the world around us. Humans rely on them to pollinate plants, prey on insects that we don’t get along with, and to be movers and shakers for Earth’s ecosystems. It’s hard to imagine a world without insects.
That’s why news reports in recent months warning of an “insect apocalypse” sparked widespread alarm. These articles, based on long-term insect collections and a review of past studies, suggested that people alive today will witness the indiscriminate extinction of insect-kind.
I study fungi that can be used to control harmful insects, such as pests that damage crops and mosquitoes that transmit malaria. In my world, reports of mass insect die-offs are big news. But while there clearly is reason to be concerned about certain insects, such as the endangered rusty patched bumble bee or the American burying beetle, in my view it isn’t yet possible to predict a looming insect apocalypse.