Germany is losing its flying insects — and that could be bad news for the entire planet.
According to a new study conducted by German researchers over the last 27 years, the country's winged bug population has seen a decline of 75%. The report was published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One, and the authors told CNN they were "very, very surprised" with the results.
Over the course of nearly three decades, the study used Malaise traps, "a sophisticated kind of insect net which catches a wide variety of insects." They found a seasonal decline of 76% and a mid-summer drop of 82%, which showed them that the decline was happening regardless of the insects' habitat. The fact that habitat did not matter worries the researchers as they believe these declines could be happening "everywhere."
Those involved with the study believe "climate change, loss of insect habitats and potentially the use of pesticides" are the culprits of the rapid loss of the insects.
Entire ecosystems depend on insects to continue evolving. The study provides that 60% of birds need insects for food and nearly 80% of plant life relies on them for pollination.
The researchers believe that scientists need to "design our agriculture to encourage insects" and do simple things like grow some more wildflowers in fields.
Check out the entire study here.