This story is part of VICE's ongoing look at how climate change will have altered the world by the year 2050. Read more about the project here.
Bugs are everywhere—you're surrounded by them right now, wherever you are, and as the news is always eager to remind us, they could team up to destroy us at any moment they wanted. Insect species make up an estimated 80 percent of all species on Earth, and an estimated 80 percent of plants rely on insects to help them reproduce. Humans, in turn, would starve without those plants. So when you wonder how insects will be affected by climate change, what you're really asking is how everything will be
In fact, we're already experiencing the effects of climate change via bugs in surprising (and potentially catastrophic) ways. Last summer in California unusual levels of fire danger, at least partly because rising temperatures force certain native beetles into different environments, and the trees in those environments that can't handle beetles die by the thousands. When a forest has thousands of dead trees just chillin, without having fallen over yet, that forest becomes a tinderbox.