Global warming creates hungry bugs to attack budding crops, may result in food scarcity

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Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi : Global warming is big threats today and concerning the issue, researchers keep on studying its impact on the human, plants and animals. Lately, a study claims that global warming will create more hungry bugs indicating a risk to crop cultivation on the Earth. 

As per the findings, rising temperatures will stimulate insects' appetites and ability to reproduce more insects rapidly. The hungry insects will eat up the valuable wheat, corn and rice production which otherwise feed billions of people.

As a result, there might be scarcity of food, leading to conflict and starvation in poorer groups of the globe. 

"When it gets warmer, pest metabolism increases," said Scott Merrill, a researcher at the University of Vermont and co-author of the study in the journal Science.

"And when pest metabolism increases, insect pests eat more food, which is not good for crops."

Earlier, global warming studies have warned of climate change's harmful effects on food staples, either by creating scarcity of water for irrigation or sapping nutritious content from cereal grains. Now, the study adds to the increased appetites of pests like aphids and borers.

During the study, researchers ran simulations to track temperature-driven changes in metabolism and growth rates for 38 insect species from different latitudes.

"In France or the northern United States, most of those insects will have a faster population growth if the temperature warms up a bit," lead author Curtis Deutsch told AFP.

"In Brazil or Vietnam or a very warm place, then it might be the opposite," said Deutsch, a researcher at the University of Washington.

In Europe, currently the most productive wheat producing region in the world, annual pest-induced yield losses could reach 16 million tons.

Eleven European countries are predicted to see 75 percent or higher losses in wheat from pests, compared to current pest damage.

In the United States, the world's largest maize producer, insect-induced maize losses could rise 40 percent under current climate warming trajectories, meaning 20 fewer tons of maize per year.

The study, however, do not support increased use of pesticide nor researchers suggest methods of stemming the crop loss.

Conversely, they believe that the findings will spark a hunt for more local solutions, like selecting heat and pest resistant crops and rotating plantings rather than simply dumping more pesticides into the environment.