The effects of pesticides on human health require long-term research and an open debate. Not up for debate are the catastrophic effects on insects. Insects, in the words of biologist E. O. Wilson, are among “the little things that run the world.” It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food we take comes from pollinated plants. And then there is chocolate, which is derived from the seeds of the cacao tree, whose flowers are almost exclusively pollinated only by a family of tiny flies called biting midges.
For all the things insects do they are in grave peril. Pesticides are a major culprit in this crisis. A worldwide scientific review in 2019 concluded that almost half of the world’s insect species are declining, and one-third are threatened with extinction. Among the hardest hit are butterflies, beetles, tropical ants, and bees.