How changes in weather patterns could lead to more insect invasions
Many countries suffer from a lack of food because the insects can consume, or destroy, huge amounts of crops. Just five invasive insect pests are estimated to cost the African continent US$1.1billion every year.
Insect-pest related crop losses and pest invasions are projected to increase as the climate changes. Projected changes include changes in temperature – with many regions becoming warmer – and the amount of precipitation. Insects thrive in warmer temperatures.
Studies show that insect-pest related yield losses for maize, rice and wheat are expected to increase by between 10% and 25% for each degree Celsius of warming. The impact will be huge. These crops are the three most important crops in the world, accounting for 42% of calories eaten.
Broadly, there are two explanations for why there’ll be more insect invasions: because the changing weather modifies insect traits and because the changing weather is having an impact on their food, natural enemies and predators.
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Photo credits: Christiaan Kooyman (source)
Editor: Dr. Esther Ngumbi (Entomology)