Insects aren't given the respect they deserve. Some may regard them as annoyances, or might overlook them altogether, but the members of the insect population play an essential role in the comforts and ultimate survival of the human species. In short: we disrespect them at our peril. Produced by the DW Documentary series, The Insect Apocalypse examines the dramatic population decline among insects in recent decades, and what it spells for the future of life on Earth.
Just how severe is this population crisis? The world's insect populations have suffered profound declines of up to 75%, and many species may become extinct in the coming decades. Bumblebees, butterflies, and moths are among the most vulnerable.
The lion's share of the blame lies with us. On no uncertain terms, the film makes it clear that man's footprint has taken its toll on the natural order.
Through a series of studies featured in the film, we can witness this stark reality at work. Chemicals, widespread deforestation, water and land pollution, and climate change are the main culprits.
In one segment, we learn how harmful pesticides affect the heart rate of bees as they search for food, and result in disorientation, sluggishness and death. According to the film, this has proven especially disastrous for wild bees, as they are crucial in the pollination of our plants, fruits and vegetables.
Insects represent the first level of our food chain, and we also rely on them to perform nature's dirty work. They're the cycle of life that powers our ecosystem. Every insect has its own crucial function, and the depth of their contributions is not yet fully known. Their survival also ensures the vitality of our birds, frogs, fish and other amphibious life.
Throughout the film, a panel of entomologists testifies to the various benefits of maintaining a thriving insect population, and demonstrates the steps that must be taken to curb this progressive epidemic. Some are even harvesting their own subspecies.
The Insect Apocalypse is an engaging and informative look at an epidemic with far-reaching consequences we cannot yet fully comprehend, and the role we all can play in combating it.
Directed by: Torsten Mehltretter