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Insects at risk in Ontario

Tilsonburg News,
By Laurel Beechey,
February 27 2019

It seems every day there is more terrifying news about our failing world. Now it is about insects.

We humans have caused our planet to go into its sixth mass extinction. Is it amazing how we, who only make up just 0.01 per cent the living mass of organisms on earth, have cause this cataclysm. A World Wildlife Fund study concluded that we’ve wiped out 60 per cent of mammals, fish, birds and reptiles since 1970. Another study found people have destroyed 83 per cent of wild mammals and half of all plants since the dawn of civilization. As frightening as that is, the rate of insect extinction is eight times that of mammals, birds and reptiles.

It is with great glee we smack the buzzing fly or mosquito. With shivers of terror we capture the spider and flush it down the toilet! We kill the ant colony and grubs in our lawn, the bugs on the roses or in the garden, never once wondering what they do in the pyramid of life. Yet, they are the foundation of the world’s ecosystem pyramid. Insects are needed for soil health by creating top soil and tunnels to aerate and hydrate the soil. They are needed in nutrient recycling. They pollinate, scavenge dead animals and plants; control the number of other insects, and fertilize the earth with their excrement. Insects are also necessary in many countries as a food source for humans.

Like our climate change, if the death of insects cannot be stopped there will be
cataclysmic consequences for the planet and survival of mankind. It is the same story as the mammals, birds, reptiles and plants, as we keep removing their natural habitat and food sources. We keep using insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers and plant non-native floras and invasive species. Climate change is killing off too many insects also.

There are 21 insects on the Species at Risk list in Ontario alone and I have added other specifically specially protected invertebrate as well. These are the pretty butterflies, moths, dragonflies and a few ground insects. They are the ones you suddenly realize you haven’t seen in a long time. Take the time and check out the list of insects below, see their worth and beauty.

Karner Blue (L. melissa samuelis) -expatriated (wiped out in Canada); Monarch (D. plexippus) -endangered; West Virginia White (P. virginiensis) -special concern; Eastern Persius Duskywing (E. persius persius) -endangered; Mottled Duskywing (E. martialis) – endangered; Bog Elfin (C. lanoraieensis) specially protected invertebrate; Frosted Elfin (C. irus) -expatriated; Black Swallowtail (P. polyxenes) -specially protected invertebrate; Giant Swallowtail (P. cresphontes) -specially protected invertebrate; Old World Swallowtail (P. machaon) -specially protected invertebrate; Pipevine Swallowtail (P. philenor) -specially protected invertebrate; Spicebush Swallowtail (P. troilus) -specially protected invertebrate; Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (P. glaucus); Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (P. canadensis) -specially protected invertebrate; Zebra Swallowtail (E. marcellus) -specially protected invertebrate; False-foxglove Sun Moth endangered; Laura’s Clubtail endangered; Pygmy Snaketail -special concern; Rapids Clubtail – endangered; Riverine Clubtail -endangered; American Bumble Bee -special concern; Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee -endangered; Rusty Patched Bumble Bee -endangered;
Yellow Banded Bumble Bee -special concern; American Burying Beetle -expatriated; Nine Spotted Lady Beetle -endangered; Transverse Lady Beetle -special concern; Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle -endangered; Aweme Borer -endangered; Hoptree Borer -endangered; Bogbean Buckmoth -endangered; False-Foxglove Sun Moth -endangered; Hine’s Emerald -endangered; Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle -endangered; Lake Huron Grasshopper -Threatened; Red-tailed Leafhopper -special concern.

The Ontario government is reviewing the 2007 Endangered Species Act, and wishes to remove barriers which have restricted habitat loss by industrial activity and development. Rather than protect our Endangered Species with more robust rules, they wish to make it more efficient for business and other economic expansions to be developed. They call it a ‘more even balance’; however, the heavy weight of industry and economics has pushed the teetertotter to the ground and left our species at risk dangling in the air with a great risk of weakening and falling off which could push more of these species over the brink of no return.

Over the last six years many business and industries have got exemptions from many of the restrictions and now they wish to weaken them even more. You have until March 4, only five days, to provide input into the government’s Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Easiest way to help is to go through Ontario Nature website ontarionature.good.do.