A drought is when an area experiences below normal precipitation for a prolonged period of time. Drought conditions lead to a dry and arid landmass. When an area experiences drought, plants, and animals suffer because it interrupts the entire ecosystem. Drought weather conditions are due to changes in atmospheric conditions such as climate change, ocean temperatures, local landscape changes, and changes in the jet stream. Water is an essential factor for the survival of plants and animals. During a drought, dry weather can slow bug activity and make survival much harder for plants and animals.
How is Bug Activity Affected by Drought?
Plants Need Water
There are a number of plants that require very minimal levels of water to survive. However, most plants that need little water are generally found in areas that are known to be dry and receive little to no water, such as a desert.
Most areas that experience drought have vegetation that requires frequent amounts of water for their sustainability. Plants need water because it is an important element for photosynthesis to occur. Photosynthesis is the process in which plants convert energy from the sun to create their own food. Without food, the plants cannot survive. Plants use the hydrogen that is found in the water and release oxygen as a by-product.
Many bugs found in typically moist climates rely on the nutrients and food they source from the plants. The majority of the bugs found in these areas will adapt to the different vegetation in the area as a source of food. When there is drought, the plants cannot survive, and this means that there is less food for the bugs in the ecosystem.
Once there is no more food, the bug species will begin to die out. The survival of other animals in the ecosystem relies on the sustainability of bugs as their food source. Drought creates a domino effect in an area which can damage and even perish an entire ecosystem under certain circumstances.
Plants Provide Shelter
Plants are also necessary for the safety of the bugs that live in the ecosystem. The thick vegetation offers a suitable space for the bugs to live as well as breed more bugs to contribute to the ecosystem. Without the shelter, the bugs are left at high risk to animals higher up in the food chain. Consequently, some bug species are vulnerable to the risk of extinction under drought conditions.
Bugs and Plants
It is fair to say that bug life and plant life need each other in order to survive and thrive in an ecosystem. When there is drought, it creates harm to the mutually beneficial role that both plants and bugs play. This relationship between bugs and plants is why bug activity and ecosystems may slowly die off when experiencing drought.
Additional Reading: Nebraska Drought Monitor
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