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Light Pollution Is Key 'Bringer of Insect Apocalypse'

Exclusive: scientists say bug deaths can be cut by switching off unnecessary lights

Light pollution is a significant but overlooked driver of the rapid decline of insect populations, according to the most comprehensive review of the scientific evidence to date.

Artificial light at night can affect every aspect of insects’ lives, the researchers said, from luring moths to their deaths around bulbs, to spotlighting insect prey for rats and toads, to obscuring the mating signals of fireflies.

“We strongly believe artificial light at night – in combination with habitat loss, chemical pollution, invasive species, and climate change – is driving insect declines,” the scientists concluded after assessing more than 150 studies. “We posit here that artificial light at night is another important – but often overlooked – bringer of the insect apocalypse.”

Movement

Light pollution affects dung beetles, which use starlight to navigate. “For us, light pollution is a shame as we can’t see the night stars, but for a beetle it is literally life and death,” said Brett Seymoure.

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