Buzz off? German study finds dramatic insect decline

Scientists say an "alarming" drop in the number of flying insects in Germany could have serious consequences for ecosystems and food chains.

Using insect traps placed in 63 nature protection areas, researchers recorded a 76 percent decline in bug numbers over a 27-year period. The midsummer loss was up to 82 percent.

In a paper published Wednesday by the journal PLOS ONE, the scientists said the drop in airborne insects over Germany was higher than the global estimated insect decline of 58 percent between 1970 and 2012.

Researchers conclude that neither landscape nor climate change are the cause. Instead, they speculate intensive agriculture and pesticide use may be to blame.

Insects play an important role in pollinating plants and are a source of food for birds, mammals and amphibians.