A new study published in the journal Science suggests that as the world warms due to human-caused climate change, more and more bugs will populate the globe.
And while that seems like nothing more than a disgusting inconvenience, a world with more bugs could mean bad things for human food supplies around the world.
A team of scientists led by Curtis Deutsche and Joshua Tewskbury examined how insects would affect three of the most important crops: rice, maize, and wheat.
They found that any increase in global temperature could lead to insect-driven losses of 10 to 25 percent, especially in places used to more moderate temperatures. A 2 degree Celsius rise in temperature could lead to 213 million ton loss in the three crops measured.
“When the temperature increases, the insects’ metabolism increases so they have to eat more,” co-author Steve Merrill said in a statement. The relationship between insect metabolism and crop loss is direct and “robust across all species,” Deutsche said in an email. That’s why they were able to see such a strong correlation.