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Jun 29, 2008

A MOTH THAT MATTERS

Insects are not a life force I usually think much about, except when swatting a pesky fly or trying to eradicate a plague of ants from the larder. But since last night, after transferring a particularly large moth from the kitchen ceiling into a glass and releasing it into the night, I have been thinking about some particular kinds of insects a lot - and wondering where on earth they are…!

It has suddenly dawned on me that I have not seen a wasp for at least eight years. There was a time that it was impossible to sit in the garden or on a restaurant terrace during summertime, without being besieged by aggressive, black and yellow would-be assassins. So where are they now? Is it just my own city corner of the planet that they (seem to) have disappeared from? Not that I miss them (!) having been chased and painfully stung by them on a number of occasions – but where are they all?

Come to think of it, I have not seen a sparrow for years either. I can remember a time when flocks of sparrows would swoop down into my garden in Amsterdam at least twice a day during the 1990s. Then almost overnight or so it seemed, they stopped coming and were replaced by blackbirds and magpies. I have recently moved to another major city but it is the same story here too.

Did/do sparrows eat wasps? Has the disappearance of one caused the disappearance of the other? And what about bees? I know that the world is mystified by the disappearance of whole hives of bees and that this phenomenon presents a potentially catastrophic problem for agriculture: i.e., no bees, no pollination. Bats too, seem to be disappearing in their millions… Perhaps all the communication satellites circling our globe are disrupting bats’ sonar (?) It is all very strange…

As ‘my’ moth flew away last night, I watched her go and worried. A quadrangle of newly renovated flats across the way lit up the surrounding area with dozens of gallery lights - and to a little disorientated moth it must have looked like the moon. Shivering, even though the night was warm, I hoped fervently that she would turn and fly the other way, towards the darkened park, with its many bushes and trees and sleeping flowers…. I hoped she would hear the call of her own kind and meet a friend and thoroughly enjoy her short life!

I have never hoped for anything for a moth before, except perhaps (for both of us) that it not fly into my hair (!) but as I sit and gaze out of my window today, onto a predominance of concrete technology and bustling humanity – the survival and happiness of that one small lost moth, suddenly seems like one of the most important things in the world.

5 comments:

Grandad said...

You needn't worry. They're not dying off or anything. They seem to have migrated here.

I keep hearing reports of various animals, birds and insects becoming rare, but I appear to have cornered the market. Wrens? Loads nested this spring. Red squirrels? Have one living in my woods. Wasps? How many do you want? The only thing I don't have is sparrows. Maybe the wasps have eaten them??

Geri Atric said...

Hi Grandad - thanks for dropping by!
So all the missing wild life has sneaked off to Ireland? Aha! Well I'm glad to know it's found a green and pleasant haven. Shame about the sparrows though. Where in heavens name are they all? D'ye really have wasps big enough to eat them?! (Must be all that cryptonite stuff in the water)!

Grandad said...

Strange about the sparrows. They are very rare here, but then I don't really live in sparrow territory.

As I write this, there is a wasp orbiting my head. Not big enough to eat a sparrow though.

Geri Atric said...

Quick, chuck your monitor at it!

As for the sparrows and the bees, I sent the same query/comment to timesonline this morning on this link:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article4238250.ece

They printed it, so perhaps someone, somewhere knows something we don't?! (I still suspect SatNav radio waves of throwing more than hapless motorists off course...)

Geri Atric said...

Oh, half of it got cut off...
That should be:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/
tol/news/uk/science/
article4238250.ece