Confronting the ‘Insect Apocalypse’

A period of mass extinction threatens insects – and the humans and animals who depend on them.

It’s not just bees and butterflies that are under threat: UConn entomologist and Professor David Wagner says all kinds of insects are at risk for “a death by a thousand cuts.” This is alarming, since insects play vital roles in earth’s ecosystems, including pollination of plants, driving food webs around the planet, and cycling nutrients.

The insect decline is attributed to multiple factors, including the climate crisis, agricultural intensification, development, deforestation, and the introduction of exotic and invasive species into new environments. Wagner cautions that many of these creatures will not be with us for much longer, and says people must act swiftly to help prevent these tremendous losses before it is too late.

Wagner remains hopeful, and says there are many actions that can be taken now — from encouraging political leaders to enact policy changes, to simply letting part of the front lawn grow freely to provide a food-rich environment for insects.

“This planet isn’t here for us to exploit,” Wagner says.