Moderation: Gisela Steinhauer

The butterfly becomes lonely. (IMAGO / Gottfried Czepluch)

There are 33,500 species of insects in Germany. Many species are threatened, including noble butterflies and wild bees, which are important for pollination. What can we do about the death of insects? Chat with us!

With their biodiversity, insects put all other living things in the shade: it is estimated that a million six-legged species buzz and crawl on our planet. About 33,500 species are known in Germany. But diversity is threatened. According to the German Union for the Conservation of Nature (NABU), more than 41 percent of the butterflies in this country are already extinct or endangered. Among wild bees, more than half of the 561 species are threatened. There are also different types of flies, grasshoppers and water beetles on the “Red List”. The NABU Insect Summer campaign draws attention to this point.

“The biggest quiz in the world”

“You can discover so much with insects. It’s the biggest quiz in the world!”, Says Daniela Franzisi, project manager of “Summer of insects”. Anyone who likes can count the bugs for an hour from August 6 to 15 and report them to NABU. Whether it is aphids, flies or butterflies, whether on the balcony at home, in the forest or at the vacation spot. The results of the census are incorporated into a long-term observation of insect populations in Germany.

“Counting insects is a particularly intense way of exploring nature – it’s also a great holiday activity for children. Even beginners can quickly achieve success,” says Daniela Franzisi. “Even as a child, I dug and looked: what’s crawling over there? Every kid has such a crawling phase, and it never stopped with me.”

“Insects are our livelihood”

“I have the sunburn on my neck which is typical of entomologists,” says biologist and entomologist Thomas Hörren. “In my free time I go hunting and try to find new species. Hörren is a member of the Krefeld Entomological Association, the study of which gained worldwide attention in 2017. Entomologists have shown that the number of flying insects in the nature reserves examined has decreased by about 80% between 1986 and 2016.

This long-term observation made it clear “what a terrible state the insects are in here,” Hörren said. The consequences are clearly perceptible: “Some plants are in decline, there is a decline in insectivorous birds. They all need the bugs. A lot of people see it only as beneficial insects and parasites, “but insects are our livelihood. And we depend on nature.”

His experience: “People only protect what they know, learn to appreciate and respect. For many people, nature is too natural – including the diversity of insects. His claim: more protection of biodiversity. “Protecting biodiversity also means protecting living space at the same time.”

Threatened biodiversity: what to do about the decline of insects?
Gisela Steinhauer will discuss it with Daniela Franzisi of NABU and entomologist Thomas Hörren on August 7 from 9:05 am to 11:00 am. Listeners can participate by calling 0800 2254 2254 and emailing gepraech@deutschlandfunkkultur.de.
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