Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Insects

Yes, insects. Scale insects to be more precise. Scale insects are parasites that live on trees and are not directly harmful to humans. So why do we care? Well... 

Increases in scale insects in urban areas has been noted and could not be explained. Until now. According to Emily Meineke, a scientist in Raleigh, North Carolina, her recent study discovered that urban warming is responsible. Urban warming is a term that describes higher temperatures in cities than in rural areas. Meineke's report states that urban warming can be used to see the potential effects of global warming. 

"Since urban warming is similar in magnitude to global warming predicted in the next 50 years, pest abundance on city trees may foreshadow widespread outbreaks as natural forests also grow warmer." 

What does this mean for us? We can expect to see widespread increase in the population of these parasitic insects over the next 50 years if global warming continues on its current trend, which will be detrimental to trees that provide sustenance and habitat for the animal population. Mass extinctions of animal species would disrupt the natural predator/prey relationships in nature and create further problems. It's a trickle-down effect.

In a nutshell: If scale insect populations continue to increase as temperatures rise, a chain reaction begins that will ultimately effect all of us. 

To show you care about climate change, visit these sites and make your voice heard:

  • The Face of Climate Change : Upload a photo to the mosaic to show you care.
  • Climate Counts : Find out how companies are responding to global warming. Email one or more companies to congratulate them or tell them how disappointed you are.

1 comment:

  1. What a bleak future, this is why we must work harder to counter-act global warming.