20 votes

Wait, why are there so few dead bugs on my windshield these days?

4 comments

  1. [2]
    vord
    Link
    Death by Hockey Sticks is a great blog post that had me thinking about this for the first time recently. It really does put a tangible face on ecological collapse.

    Death by Hockey Sticks is a great blog post that had me thinking about this for the first time recently.

    It really does put a tangible face on ecological collapse.

    6 votes
    1. EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      Indeed. When ecology supporting the human economy collapses, it will not be gradual with a trend line — but sudden and sharp. Doomsday preppers are often mocked, but I think their base instinct...

      Indeed. When ecology supporting the human economy collapses, it will not be gradual with a trend line — but sudden and sharp.

      Doomsday preppers are often mocked, but I think their base instinct that there'll be scarce warning before disaster is fundamentally spot on.

      4 votes
  2. balooga
    (edited )
    Link
    Interesting, and alarming. I've noticed the decline myself, but chalked it up mainly to my relocation from a buggy climate to a not-so-buggy one. I've always been an insect magnet and I have a lot...

    Interesting, and alarming. I've noticed the decline myself, but chalked it up mainly to my relocation from a buggy climate to a not-so-buggy one. I've always been an insect magnet and I have a lot more relief in general living where I do currently. I rarely get bug bites here, but it definitely still happens when I travel.

    I'm trying to consider if there are other possible explanations that the article doesn't account for. Is it possible that insect populations have learned, gradually over time, to avoid highways? Seems like that would be evolutionarily advantageous. Also, haven't highways gotten wider over the years? Could the increased surface area of roads be a factor? Has anything else changed about their construction? I'm naively wondering if some subtle property of them, like their smell or ambient temperature, is different today then decades ago, and is serving as a sort of repellent.

    Not intending to come across as a climate denier, all evidence does suggest that insects are dying off at a staggering pace. I'm just not convinced that the methodology of studying windshield splats is giving us an accurate view of the larger situation, and measuring bug populations with any accuracy is a notoriously difficult task.

    3 votes
  3. Arghblarg
    Link
    It's disturbing that others are noticing this. I commented to my wife last year, and had thought about it silently for a few prior (years, not wives!), that I'd noticed this. I remember being...

    It's disturbing that others are noticing this. I commented to my wife last year, and had thought about it silently for a few prior (years, not wives!), that I'd noticed this. I remember being grossed out as a child one summer (we're talking late 80s here) as my parents drove us through Saskatchewan and the grasshoppers were... everywhere. We had to keep our windows closed as they were getting into the car and jumping around in the back window. My dad used to have to scrub off the bugs every gas fill on summer holidays.

    That hasn't happened to me, ever, in the past 8 years driving back and forth between the west coast and Alberta. Nor in the 10 years prior to that just within southern Alberta. There are definitely many fewer insects out there.

    This (plus sadly our love for domestic outdoor cats) would tie into why there are now reports that songbird populations are also crashing.

    3 votes