Mobile Phone Radiation May Be Killing Insects – German Study

Facebook To Pull VPN App From App Store Over Data Concern
File photo: NARINDER NANU / AFP

 

Radiation from mobile phones could have contributed to the dramatic decline in insect populations seen in much of Europe in recent years, a German study showed Thursday.

On top of pesticides and habitat loss, increased exposure to electromagnetic radiation is “probably having a negative impact on the insect world”, according to the study presented in Stuttgart, which is yet to be peer reviewed.

The analysis of 190 scientific studies was carried out by Germany’s Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) together with two NGOs, one from Germany and one from Luxembourg.

Of the 83 studies deemed scientifically relevant, 72 showed that radiation had a negative effect on bees, wasps and flies.

These effects ranged from a reduced ability to navigate due to the disturbance of magnetic fields to damage to genetic material and larvae.

Mobile phone and Wi-Fi radiation in particular opens the calcium channels in certain cells, meaning they absorb more calcium ions.

This can trigger a biochemical chain reaction in insects, the study said, disrupting circadian rhythms and the immune system.

“The study shows that we must keep our eyes open in all directions when analysing the causes of the dramatic insect decline,” said Johannes Enssle, head of NABU in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

“The subject is uncomfortable for many of us because it interferes with our daily habits and there are powerful economic interests behind mobile communication technology,” Enssle said.

Peter Hensinger of the German consumer protection organisation Diagnose Funk said closer attention must be paid to the possible negative effects of radiation on both animals and humans, particularly with regard to the introduction of 5G technology.

Networks equipped with 5G are expected to offer speeds 100 times faster than existing 4G networks, but the technology has been met with strong opposition from some quarters, especially among environmental campaigners.

AFP

Half-A-Million Insect Species Face Extinction – Scientists

A locust vendor shows a bag full of edible insects at a market in Al-Rai, northwest of Kuwait City on January 25, 2020. AFP

 

Half of the one million animal and plant species on Earth facing extinction are insects, and their disappearance could be catastrophic for humankind, scientists have said in a “warning to humanity”.

“The current insect extinction crisis is deeply worrying,” said Pedro Cardoso, a biologist at the Finnish Museum of Natural History and lead author of a review study published Monday.

“Yet, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg,” he told AFP.

The disappearance of bugs that fly, crawl, burrow, jump and walk on water is part of a gathering mass extinction event, only the sixth in the last half-billion years.

The last one was 66 million years ago when an errant space rock wiped out land-based dinosaurs and most other life forms.

This time we are to blame.

“Human activity is responsible for almost all insect population declines and extinctions,” Cardoso told AFP.

The main drivers are dwindling and degraded habitat, followed by pollutants — especially insecticides — and invasive species.

Over-exploitation — more than 2,000 species of insects are part of the human diet — and climate change is also taking a toll.

The decline of butterflies, beetles, ants, bees, wasps, flies, crickets and dragonflies has consequences far beyond their own demise.

“With insect extinction, we lose much more than species,” Cardoso said.

“Many insect species are vital providers of services that are irreplaceable,” including pollination, nutrient cycling and pest control.

Biodiversity ‘hotspots’ 

These “ecosystem services” are worth $57 billion (52 billion euros) a year in the United States alone, earlier research has found.

Globally, crops that require insect pollination have an economic value of at least $235-577 billion annually, according to the UN biodiversity science panel, known as IPBES.

Many animals rely on abundant insects to survive.

A sharp drop in bird numbers across Europe and the United States, for example, has been linked to the collapse of insect populations decimated by pesticide use.

Scientists estimate the number of insect species at about 5.5 million. Only a fifth of them has been identified and named.

“The number of threatened and extinct insect species is woefully underestimated because so many are rare or undescribed,” Cardoso said.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has evaluated only some 8,400 species of insects out of one million known to exist.

Five to 10 per cent of all insect species have died out since the industrial era kicked into high gear some 200 years ago.

Half of the indigenous species of plants and vertebrates are found exclusively in some three dozen biodiversity “hotspots” that cover on 2.5 per cent of Earth surface.

“These hotspots likely harbour a similar percentage of endemic insect species,” said the study titled “Scientists’ warning to humanity on insect extinctions,” published in Conservation Biology.

A quarter-century ago conservation scientists issued a “Warning to Humanity” about the collapse of Nature. In 2017, they issued a second warning, signed by 15,000 scientists.

The new study, titled “Scientists’ warning to humanity on insect extinctions”, was published in the journal Conservation Biology.

AFP

5 insects you don’t know you are eating

In some parts of the world, insects are considered a reliable source of protein but the people who eat those bugs do so willingly, it’s a normal part of their diet.
Here in Nigeria, where we’re pretty squeamish about chomping into insects, it might come as a shock to discover that, it has been estimated that the average person unintentionally eats a pound of insects every year.

You might never have deliberately eaten an insect, however you have probably inadvertently consumed over a pound of insects in your lifetime. The question, how is that so, then arises?

Scientists in New York have found that these  insects are in fruits, vegetables, bread, canned and processed food, even in the beverages we take. It is virtually impossible that you have not ingested insects in one form or another during your lifetime.

Mites:  These are tiny white bugs common in wheat and other grains that have been stored for a while and in frozen vegetables.  The most well studied of these mites are ‘Blomia tropicalis’, because of its abundance in tropical and subtropical regions and ‘Lepidoglyphus destructor’, which is commonly found in barns. So if you love storing grains in your cupboard for too long, you might just be compiling the number of insects you take in.

Maggots: If you’ve ever eaten canned food, you’ve probably also eaten a maggot. These disgusting little critters abound in things like canned tomatoes, tomato paste, canned fish, canned meat and anything canned. The additives added to the canned food not only preserve the food but in addition make room for maggots

Fruit Flies: Fruit flies are most found in over-riped mangoes, oranges and most fruits. Most times, when a consumer buys a piece of fruit covered in fruit flies, he/she washed them off . However, consume a can of citrus juice and  you’ll be swilling five fruit flies with every 8-ounce cup of juice because you can’t wash off the fruit flies in the Juice.

Corn Ear Worms: Corns are prone to insect infestations, but in most cases, it’s easy to avoid eating the earworms that burrow into corncobs by cutting the kernels off the cob.  However, you are not that lucky with canned sweet corn.

Cowpea curculio/caterpillars:  A can of cowpeas, beans or any field of peas contains an average of five or more cowpea curculio larvae, which will grow into dark brown, beetle-like weevils that infest all manner of peas and beans. Caterpillars are often found in frozen spinach. That is why it is often advised to buy food items dried and cook them yourself, rather than buying them frozen or canned.