Science 

Global insect decline may see ‘plague of pests’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Many species of butterfly are in retreat according to the review A scientific review of insect numbers suggests that 40% of species are undergoing “dramatic rates of decline” around the world. The study says that bees, ants and beetles are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles. But researchers say that some species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, are likely to boom. The general insect decline is being caused by intensive agriculture, pesticides and climate change. Insects make up the majority of…

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Science 

Climate change: Heatwaves ‘halve’ male insect fertility

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Beetles represent the largest insect group Heatwaves can damage the sperm of insects and make them almost sterile, according to new research. Scientists exposed beetles to experimental heatwaves in the laboratory, which resulted in reduced male fertility. The effects could be passed down to the beetles’ offspring. Further work could shed light on whether climate change is a factor behind mass declines in insect populations, say researchers. Climate change is affecting biodiversity around the world, but the drivers remain poorly understood. “We don’t know…

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Top stories 

Heatwave causes spike in insect bite calls to NHS

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The horsefly bite can lead to infection Although many of us are enjoying the balmy temperatures of this year’s heatwave, unfortunately for some, biting insects are flourishing too. Calls to the NHS helpline 111 about insect bites are almost double the rate they normally are at this time of year. And senior doctors are reporting incidents of patients being treated in hospital for infected horsefly bites. Despite the heat, experts say standing water, such as garden paddling pools, where insects thrive should be removed.…

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