Like a moth to a flame

Light pollution is bad for insects too.

The story of the dark sky is more than one of stargazing and astronomy. It has become one of human and animal /insect /plant well-being as light pollution intensifies and spreads itself through its terrestrial impacts. This BBC science item is the latest to underline the impact of light on the natural world.

Ray Lilley, Wairarapa Dark Sky Association

A new article in BBC science reveals a study about the effects on light pollution on insects. Most of us think of insects only when we have to. We buy swan plants for the Monarch butterflies and we buy insecticides too.

Insecticides are a contentious matter because they kill beneficial and pesky insects altogether. Which is why their effects have been studied intensively. We concluded that a decline in the population of insects would be very bad for us. Check out this article on the decline of the bee population‘s impact on food security published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), that explains how this can affect what we will eat in the long term.

Now, we discover that light pollution has as similar effect on insects as insecticides do. It kills them indiscriminately.

Without Bugs, We Might All Be Dead

If you are curious to find out more about what insects do, here is another great article from National Geographic that explains how bugs do everything for us from feeding to cleaning waste and even generate money. And if you prefer a New Zealand source, our own Science Learning Hub telling what is so special about insects.

And primed with all this information, the Wairarapa Dark Sky Association recommends you check out The BBC article Light pollution from street lamps linked to insect loss

To conclude, we all know that a lot of insects are attracted to light, and by doing so they die of overheat or being eaten by predators, now it becomes even more clear that there are other ways in which light kills insects.

Let’s not let the story between insects and light to be a story of fatal attraction and protect these tiny creatures with our dark skies, so that in turn they protect us.

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