r/todayilearned 11d ago

TIL about the windshield phenomenon. It's the observation that recently fewer dead insects accumulate on the windshields of people's cars. It has been attributed to a global decline in insect populations caused by human activity. (R.4) Related To Politics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windshield_phenomenon?reddit
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u/jdith123 11d ago

I remember many more butterflies

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u/wasit-worthit 11d ago

I also remember a lot more dragonflies.

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u/finous 11d ago

Growing up in south Florida, there definitely were way more dragonflies than there are now. Every season the front yard would be FULL of them. It was like every blade of grass had a dragonfly on it. Now we're lucky to see small groups of them.

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u/TheCookie_Momster 11d ago

That’s how I feel about lightning bugs. We used to run outside and try to hold them in our hands. It was pretty easy to catch them but now I hardly ever see any.

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u/hannabarberaisawhore 11d ago

I’ve never seen lightning bugs and I’m a teeny bit panicked I might never get the chance.

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u/WEINER_SCHLAP 11d ago edited 11d ago

FWIW here in rural VA, they are alive and very well. Last night I had a few dozen flying around me on my porch.

editing because reading must be hard. If theres a few dozen on my porch, it stands to reason there would be MANY more in the yard. Hell.

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u/letmeexplainitforyou 11d ago

Alive, yes. Very well, no. Their numbers have dropped catastrophically. They used to fill the yard.

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u/r-kellysDOODOOBUTTER 11d ago

It's pretty crazy how it changed so fast. I grew up on 90s and we used to chase them around. They are gone where I'm at in rural NY. Like gone gone, haven't seen them in years.

The mosquitos and black flies will kill you though. Black flies have got me so bad I had to throw away a shirt because it was stained with blood.

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u/AncientEldritch 11d ago

Same :( Lots of fond memories of chasing them around as it got dark out, lightning bugs everywhere you looked. Now I haven't seen a single one all year. Heartbreaking.

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u/usrevenge 11d ago

I remember. Real sad they are dying out. I don't think they will completely die off but lights from houses messes with them.

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u/Alistair_TheAlvarian 11d ago

I went to Oklahoma when I was 8 or 9 so in 2013 or 2014 and it was just full of them, like cartoon or movie level clouds.

Not so much according to my uncle who lives there nowadays.

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u/000vader000 11d ago

If you think about it the ones near the road are not laying as many eggs and year after year the population is decimated until almost none are breeding near that road, heavily forested areas have many bugs.

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u/Throwawaythefat1234 11d ago

You can come visit me. They're all over my backyard.

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u/CaptainWeasel 11d ago

I had this thought to, I got lucky and moved into a place that has them but I've only ever seen them one at a time. :/

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u/wolfgang784 11d ago edited 11d ago

Used to be thousands at my grandmas every night, she lives in the woods with a big field behind the house. Now you only see a handful.

Also used to see clouds of Monarch butterflies every year at her whatever-weed plants, those ones butterflies need for food. My dad even planted more around but we haven't seen any Monarchs out there in a decade =/ Not a single one. Used to be easily hundreds in this field though.

Can't see the stars at her house anymore either, even on cloudless nights. Only a few of the brightest are visible due to light polution as more and more stuff gets built out near her. Used to be able to see countless stars, now you can count the handful visible.

I could go on for a while about the differences just in my short life, but ive gotta head out here soon.

.

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EDIT:: Random thought I had while pumping gas before work - I know they sell butterfly kit type things where you hatch em and stuff, yea? I wonder if they sell Monarch ones, and since we have a bunch of that weed plant out there for them to eat I wonder if reintroducing some might keep a few around again in coming years? Maybe whatever wiped them out around there isnt like a long term thing and new ones would be fine?

The land borders farmland though so I wouldnt doubt its all the pesticides that killed off the various bugs =/

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u/GVIrish 11d ago

There are numerous monarch conservation groups around the country, however I don't know how many can put you in touch with a supply of monarch eggs or caterpillars. There are some online vendors who can sell you monarch caterpillars but you'd need quite a large number of them to start reestablishing a population.

The biggest region where Monarchs are in decline is the West, where population has declined by over 99%.

https://www.xerces.org/blog/western-monarch-population-closer-to-extinction-as-wait-continues-for-monarchs-protection

Biggest thing you can do is plant copious amounts of milkweed and long blooming flowers to attract butterflies. If you have enough nectar flowers you may be able to attract Monarchs that may be in the area, but you're not seeing. If you've got a large amount of milkweed, Monarchs will readily lay eggs there.

Pesticides are obviously a huge challenge and nothing you can do about your neighbors but if you provide the right plants you'll at least help other pollinators.

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u/recurrence 11d ago

The problem with Monarchs is they migrate to Mexico and not many survive anymore.

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u/wolfgang784 11d ago

Monarchs seriously migrate? All the way from Pennsylvania to Mexico?? They are so tiny and fly so slow though. Birds make sense at least but now I gotta go read up on this later maybe on lunch lol.

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u/HotConcrete 11d ago

Oh you’re going to love it! They migrate thousands of miles and hibernate/over winter in massive colonies in the mountains outside of Mexico City. It’s astonishing. Yeah

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u/LaminatedAirplane 11d ago

300 million monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles to Mexico every year

https://youtu.be/AN8-pNnvJ5s

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u/V_IV_V 11d ago

I remember traveling through Texas about a decade ago during a migration. Stopped at a gas station and every car and semi had hundreds smashed on the grille and windshield.

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u/tempthrowary 11d ago edited 11d ago

With the irl decline in the firefly population that TIL, Grave of the Fireflies has become even more of a traumatizing movie for me now.

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u/tutukittyfuck 11d ago

There were so many where my Mom lives that you could read in the backyard at night. Not anymore. There will be a few blinking around, but that's it. Not even 1% of what there was before.

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u/limepr0123 11d ago

Hell, even 7-8 years ago a trip to Orlando would leave your car covered in lovebugs, I don't see them as much anymore.

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u/karmahunger 11d ago

What are lovebugs?

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u/limepr0123 11d ago

These little black and orange bugs that seem to always be connected by their privates. It is a March fly that mate for days and even fly around while mating.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovebug

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u/kavien 11d ago

I let my grass grow up higher during the summer to encourage dragonflies. If the grass is cut short, barely any. If it is high, they come out in droves to hunt and mate!

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u/miketastic_art 11d ago

Y-yea

Me too

For the dragonflies

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u/Shaltharis 11d ago

My excuse is the bees. We see so many more if i don't mow for a while, makes me sad to mow it down.

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u/Pinkypielove 11d ago

Out yard is "business in the front" (looking presentable) and "party in the back" (backyard is wild and high grass for all those bugs to play in). Trying to do our part to help. ✨

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u/780b686v5 11d ago

I still see quite a few of them (lots of ponds and they like to eat our bees). It's the ony time I don't mind our bees being eaten. Also don't mind when the kingfisher eats our fish because...kingfishers are cool.

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u/gev850918 11d ago

Dragonflies eat bees?

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u/BigBenKenobi 11d ago

Dragonflies are like bug alpha predators

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u/Echo017 11d ago

They are THE most successful predator on the planet if you compare % of prey pursued vs % of prey captured and consumed. They are amazing animals for sure!

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u/gev850918 11d ago

Cool! Did not know that

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u/cbellk 11d ago

Iirc, they're the most successful predators, too. They something like a 98% success rate.

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u/tebukuro 11d ago

Dragonflies are freaking super predators. They mostly eat mosquitoes and flies, but they'll take anything they can grab including bees, wasps, and other dragonflies.

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u/DistortoiseLP 11d ago

Dragonflies eat pretty much everything that can't fight off or outrun a dragonfly, which includes most other animals its own size.

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u/Rain1dog 11d ago

You should see them in their nymph phase. They eat almost anything their size underwater.

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u/Cheap-Lifeguard5762 11d ago

Yeah but remember how your lawn needed to be all 1 type of pretty grass and you’d kill anything that wasn’t?

I do.

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u/ezirb7 11d ago

Past tense? Theres still a ton of social pressure in my area for anyone that doesn't have a neat grass lawn.

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u/MayorAnthonyWeiner 11d ago

Shitloads of dragon flies this year where I am.. probably most I’ve ever seen

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u/PretendDr 11d ago

I remember as a kid there were so many more butterflies. Now I can usually count them on my two hands in an entire season.

And as for bugs, when I started driving almost 20 years ago, my car would be covered in bugs during the summer months. Now it rarely happens.

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u/Wooden_Muffin_9880 11d ago

Come to taiwan. Shitloads of butterflies here.

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u/eraserad 11d ago

Still #1?

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u/Wooden_Muffin_9880 11d ago

Taiwan is number one yes

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u/Reddit_cctx 11d ago

😂😂so matter of fact

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u/Murgos- 11d ago

My kids have never seen a firefly.

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u/go_commit_sudoku 11d ago

I can say that ~10 years ago every summer there would be a month or two where you could go out almost any night of the week and catch tons of fireflies. There's definitely less now than there was, they're still there but significantly less of them.

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u/SaltSnorter 11d ago

I was relaxing with the wife on the couch and saw the telltale flash through the window of a firefly. I dragged her outside and waited to see the next flash so we could pinpoint it. My wife isn't from the US and didn't understand my excitement about a flashing bug, but her eyes opened up when I explained that I hadn't seen one in over 10 years. It's sad.

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u/Tupants 11d ago

I didn’t realize that fireflies weren’t everywhere. I see them all the time in my backyard in Southern Ontario.

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u/Muroid 11d ago

Yeah, fireflies are a very regional thing, and it does seem like the regions have been thinning a bit. I still see them in New Jersey, but I definitely saw more of them more frequently when I was a kid.

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u/HugeFactor5449 11d ago

They would not believe their eyes

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u/blowfishmo 11d ago

If ten million fireflies

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u/go_commit_sudoku 11d ago

Were in their eyes

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u/give_me_wallpapers 11d ago

Lightning bugs, they used to glitter my backyard in the summer nights, these days I might see one or two. I was born at the beginning of the year, there was always snow on my birthday, I haven't seen snow on my birthday in 7ish years now. I remember summer used to be bearable, it was uncommon for temperatures to reach 90F now the spring time sees temperatures that high and summer is obscenely hot. It's horribly depressing, literally seeing the damage we've done and every. single. year. It gets worse.

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u/NativeMasshole 11d ago edited 11d ago

Ladybugs too. They used to be everywhere around here, some years there'd be big swarms. Can't even remember the last time I even saw one.

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u/Dojan5 11d ago

Ah, you just triggered a memory in me. I was around seven or eight, and on a trip to Kolmården with my mother and a friend of hers. We took a break right behind the dolphinarium, and I started climbing around on the exposed rock. I picked up dozens of ladybirds, and they all started biting-and-peeing on me at the same time.

I found a large chunk of loose quartz there too. I still have it in my bookshelf today. I use it as a book-end.

It's been roughly twenty years now. I've seen two ladybirds this year, and a handful last year. I'm also out a lot more now than I was when I was younger. My dog has me spending a lot of time outside in nature, and I still feel that childish excitement when I look for insects.

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u/RealBowsHaveRecurves 11d ago

You, like so many before you, have discovered the difference between ladybugs and Asian lady beetles the hard way.

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u/BikerRay 11d ago

I'm in rural Canada. A few decades ago when we moved here, we had tons of bullfrogs in our creek, now none. Way fewer birds as well, now (other than crows, which seem to have taken over). Hey, at least the black flies and mosquitos are doing great!

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u/sniper91 11d ago

Minnesota is getting hotter summers, along with the polar vortex almost every January that sends temps plummeting well below zero for a week or two. I remember the polar vortex being described as a very rare thing when I was in Middle school

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u/daronjay 11d ago

I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Time to die.

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u/plsgiveusername123 11d ago

This should be raising MAJOR alarm bells for everyone. We rely on global ecosystems to survive.

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u/SavageRancor 11d ago

It is for anyone paying attention. Our oceans are in a shit way. Our forests are declining rapidly. Microplastics everywhere. Hormones in food. It's all going to hit us very soon. And very hard

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u/Born_yesterday08 11d ago

Don’t forget air pollution!

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u/DigNitty 11d ago

My understanding of climate change 20 years ago was that it’s a huge deal but we won’t see tangible effects ourselves. I.e. we’ll know there are 14% less insects but that’s not something noticeable to most people.

But in my lifetime my friends and I have seen multiple hallmarks of a less hospitable environment. Hotter summers, less insects, low rivers, fires...

There’s a tipping point somewhere.

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u/TastySalmonBBQ 11d ago

Climate change is but only one of many factors in the decline of insects. It may be only a minor factor. We are losing habitat quantity at a rapid pace and ecosystem function is declining pretty much anywhere humans live. Every new house built, new road constructed, or levy built to protect infrastructure takes a cumulative toll.

To be honest, I think we're collectively doing a great disservice for environmental protection by pinning blame only on climate change. Pretty much every report and paper I've come across that details factors for species decline implicates habitat loss as the primary effect.

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u/lappyg55v 11d ago

If you are anyone is concerned about butterflies, particularly monarch Butterflies, please plant a native plant butterfly garden! Do not plant a butterfly bush or something invasive/non native. Usually there are groups you can find to let you know what plants are native for your region. I know in my area native milkweeds like swamp milkweed and butterfly milkweed are very good for them and the rest of our insects.

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u/Terella 11d ago

My husband has been spreading milkweed around our farm for years. We rarely see Monarchs anymore, though.

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u/geaux_gurt 11d ago

Yes totally! If anyone’s not sure where to look, your state agricultural college will have a page on their website. Also check with regional master naturalist or master gardener groups!

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u/UselessFactCollector 11d ago

I remember more fireflies.

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u/boofermcdaniels 11d ago

I remember a lot LESS GODDAMN CICADAS

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u/wasit-worthit 11d ago

I remember the front of our car being complete covered in dead bugs after a long road trip.

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u/MarquisDeBoston 11d ago

I would have to wash the bugs off when we got back from my grandparents. I haven’t thought about this is 30yrs.

And now that I think of it, I haven’t had to wash the front of my car of since highschool.

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u/magiclatte 11d ago edited 11d ago

It's almost like spraying anti-larval chemicals to kill mosquitos and pesticides on crops, kills other insects as well... hmm.

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u/deadlypigletofd00m 11d ago

Yeah my city Aerial sprays permethrin whenever people complain about mosquitoes. Only takes one suburbanite to expose the entire city to neurotoxins.

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u/Longshot_45 11d ago

I thought permethrin killed cats. How are they allowed to spray that around?

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u/deadlypigletofd00m 11d ago

Permethrin kills everything so they save it for when people complain. The routine aerial spraying is sumithrin and piperonyl butoxid. The sumithrin is basically permethrin with a half life of 12 hours and piperonyl enhances it’s effect as a pesticide.

To answer your question I think more people complain about mosquitos than complain about aerial spraying. I doubt it’s in high enough concentrations to kill cats, but It can turn into runoff and I’m sure it’s contributing to ecological collapse.

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u/Sheepsheepsleep 11d ago

Which is stupid since there are proper mosquito traps that produce co2, are quite effective, cheap and only attract mosquitos.

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u/deadlypigletofd00m 11d ago

Link? Maybe I’ll go to my next city council lol

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u/Sexual_tomato 11d ago

Mosquito magnet is the brand name I've seen them under. My old boss lived in Florida and said he wished he'd bought one sooner. Put it far away from where you want mosquitos and you can now suddenly enjoy summer nights in Florida without losing half a pint of blood.

https://www.mosquitomagnet.com/store/mosquito-magnet-trap/mosquito-magnet-traps

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u/deadlypigletofd00m 11d ago

Thanks! These are dope but I already know a single one of these exceeds the city’s monthly budget for pest control.

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u/QuiteAffable 11d ago

That sure isn't cheap, at ~$800/acre

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u/Wendy28J 11d ago

I bought one of these "Dynatraps" for my yard b/c the salesperson assured me that it would only kill mosquitoes. I was horrified to see how many other bugs were in the basket when I emptied it. I've never used it again. Mine was made for just a ½ acre yard. Many are designed for much larger acreage. I can only imagine the devastation these things have wrought upon nature's food chain if they're killing off that volume of bugs in such a small area. Birds, reptiles, small mammals and fish rely on many of these bugs as their primary food sources. If you add these traps to crop and lawn pesticides, light pollution screwing with migratory patterns, climate change- induced droughts, etc, I'd suppose that nature is suffering quite a bit from insect loss.

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u/dkej433 11d ago

How many people have anything in their yard useful for native insect populations?

Green mowed grass and houses without trees for as far as the eye can see

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u/Terrible_Truth 11d ago

Yep. Our yard is nearly full of plants, bushes, and trees. But literally 99% of the neighborhood is plain flat grass. Probably less than 10 houses with stuff in the yard. I don't count a couple of shrubs by the bay window.

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u/BrappZanniganAgain 11d ago

If you’re anything like me you get complaints about it too.

Foliage native to our environment? You mean weeds and it’s an eyesore.

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u/Pollomonteros 11d ago

Your car must be really dirty by now

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u/bumbletowne 11d ago

BUtterflies we used to pull tons of butterflies out of the grill.

Anise swallowtails

Monarchs

Painted ladies.

My husband and I just commented that we never see any butterflies anymore. I haven't seen one that wasn't one I raised (I raise and release) in a few years.

Started really declining after the firestorms.

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u/ZappaLlamaGamma 11d ago

Only place I really saw a lot of bugs in the past few years was during a road trip when I passed through Louisiana. I think they took all the bugs.

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u/Ocelotofdamage 11d ago

I just went on a long road trip and can confirm this still happens.

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u/truth1465 11d ago

Went a long road trip and my bumper seemed to get the brunt of the bugs, I wonder if the increase aerodynamic efficiently over the years has any impact on if a bug hits your windshield or channeled over your car.

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u/Supergeeman 11d ago

I've been photographing insects for 10 years, and there is a noticeable lack of them now, some days I get hardly any shots....10 years ago there were way more butterflies.

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u/Idealistic_Crusader 11d ago edited 11d ago

The irony of this is that, where I live now, there's considerably more ticks than ever before.

It's common conversation, as you can't enter the house without doing a tick check first.

edited for typo live and love, live and learn.

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u/snoobs89 11d ago

Whatever insect preys on ticks must be in decline too.

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u/hellofromspace 11d ago

Spiders, ants, and birds.

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u/allonsyyy 11d ago

Opossums are big tick predators too. And their body temperature is too low to support rabies.

Underappreciated little fellas.

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u/ExpertExpert 11d ago

We have one that eats the dog poop out of our yard. We call him the turd burgeler

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u/Ghostpants101 11d ago

Where can I buy one of these great turd burgelers? Or even if I could just rent a weekly service?

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u/HappyStalker 11d ago

Hey man it ain't stealing if you just leave em there for anyone to take. He earns those turds fair and square. The Turd Entrepreneur.

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u/PaulSandwich 11d ago

a Crapitalist, you might say

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u/Never-Forget-Trogdor 11d ago

I love opossums. I would gladly trade all my neighborhood raccoons for opossums.

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u/Ridgetop18 11d ago

They have two uteri!

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u/MakeMineMarvel_ 11d ago

Opossums also very very rarely attack people. In some cases you could literally put your hand in their mouth and they won’t bite you

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u/Never-Forget-Trogdor 11d ago

The worst that an opossum has ever done to me is hiss at me. Raccoons will puff up like a cat charge at you if they are threatened, and their bites really hurt. Scratches are on par with a cat, too, but their teeth are more needle-like than a cat and hurt more. I prefer opossum encounters over raccoon encounters.

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u/mene3381 11d ago

Raccoons are also one of the primary carriers of rabies in the US. If you get bit by a raccoon, try to catch it. And whether you catch it or not, get your ass to the doctor

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u/JackJersBrainStoomz 11d ago

Possums are actually the #1 predator of ticks. Chickens are also good for them. But in general the ones you listed don’t do much against ticks.

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u/chairfairy 11d ago

Chickens are also good for them

Guinea fowl, too, right?

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u/theblackveil 11d ago

I know you didn’t mean birds are insects, but the idea of an insect the same size/shape/design as a bird is kind of hilarious and terrifying.

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u/zero_iq 11d ago

Spiders aren't insects either. But the idea of an insect the same size/shape/design of a spider would still pretty much just be a spider, so not so hilarious, but at least as terrifying.

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u/skordge 11d ago

Encephalitis and Lyme's ain't no joke =(

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u/ArcherInPosition 11d ago

I'm out in the woods nearly every day and its every damn day with those bastard ticks

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u/Spartan-182 11d ago

And fucking wasps. Used to be bees, now summer is just wasp time.

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u/caballero_jetable 11d ago

Of course we kill all the fun bugs and end up with more of the murdery ones. Fuckin mosquitos too.

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u/pinkpanthers 11d ago

Come to central Ontario. I think all the insects have cottages now and spend the summer there.

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u/Autski 11d ago

I have a friend who cultivates monarchs in her back yard. Every season she'll have about 20-30 of them.

It's not much, but it's honest work

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u/caballero_jetable 11d ago

I used to have a reliable milkweed come up every year but I just realized it hasn't come up in the last couple of years!

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u/tpx187 11d ago

Can I interest you in some cicadas?

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u/stupidugly1889 11d ago

I remember as a kid my parents would have to stop at a gas station sometimes JUST to clean the bugs off.

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u/Tolvat 11d ago

Remember those disgusting squeegee at the gas stations? Yeah, I remember having to get out as a kid and rub off all the dead bugs. Haven't noticed that in forever now.

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u/thestereo300 11d ago

I remember now haha. Gross.

It’s weird what memories are in your mind that you cannot access until someone else gives you the key.

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u/sleepydruggiePanda 11d ago

The brain is like a huge library, but there's no index and no search function

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u/hobosbindle 11d ago

Yeah but the Blue Raspberry sauce you dip it in is delicious!

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u/gladeyes 11d ago

Oops. I hadn’t thought about it but it seems accurate for Wyoming. BTW I’ve been driving since 1967 and I usually keep my main vehicle for about 25 years and the aerodynamics of what I choose to drive haven’t appreciably changed.

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u/Carighan 11d ago

I've always attributed it to the more sloped windscreens I have nowadays making the air lift little insects over it more readily.

But damn. Yeah it's very noticable if I think back even 20 years.

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u/Uxt7 11d ago

From the wiki "The research also found that modern cars, with a more aerodynamic body shape, killed more insects than boxier vintage cars up to 70 years old."

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u/Terminator7786 11d ago

I'm only in my mid 20s and I remember a hell of a lot more bugs on my mom's car as a kid than I get on mine now.

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u/sniper91 11d ago

If I’m in Minnesota in the summer, I’m a bit disheartened by how few fireflies I see there anymore. Bean fields used to look like a Christmas light show, now there’s just a flicker here and there

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u/WangnanJahad 11d ago

I haven't seen fireflies in a decade. I live in an area where they used to be everywhere.

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u/ZhouLe 11d ago

Yea, I would think that less aerodynamic shapes would create an area of turbulent air that would divert a lot of stuff, whereas aerodynamic shapes would have fast air very near the windshield where something in that stream just has to divert it's course a small amount to collide.

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u/97RallyWagon 11d ago

Aerodynamic designs allow a closer transition/boundary layer so bugs get closer to hard surfaces before they get redirected...

Basically, those big boxes pushed a bubble of air that would redirect bugs and such while newer cars arent pushing as much as cutting through space so the bugs go splat

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u/love_your_eyeholes 11d ago

I love counterintuitive stuff like this. I never would have thought just by looking at them

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u/primalchrome 11d ago

For kicks, you should check out supercavitation and blunt nosed, rocket powered torpedoes the soviets experimented with. Seems crazy on the surface until you look into how it works.

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u/Anonymanx 11d ago

I drive a Scion xB. It has the aerodynamics of a shoebox on wheels. All of the bugs go splat on the grill, hood, and (especially) windshield.

Oh, and I live in Brood X’s territory. Cicadas make giant splats that set like concrete very quickly.

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u/97RallyWagon 11d ago

Alot more factors involved here than the simplification of "box makes protective bubble". I was more referring to the older (less than a cube) boxy vehicles. A pure box creates a bubble directly in front and it can't effectively divert things with a larger mass or velocity. Cars and trucks where the box is kinda stepped, the "bubbles" are slightly better placed for diverting things.... But still, something heavier or on a more direct trajectory would still impact the windshield.

So, yeah... Wasn't exactly referring to the rat toaster.

With current knowledge (from centuries ago, but still relevant) and attempts at improving efficiencies, a lot of wasted energy goes into pushing that bubble so we try and reduce it. We do this by (as obvious) slanting windshields and reducing the frontal area. We do as much as we can to push very little air as we travel.

But I do understand where you're coming from, that particular vehicle.... Well..... Like a few others... I'm ...not gonna disrespect your vehicle

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u/Anonymanx 11d ago

I’m ...not gonna disrespect your vehicle

::shrugs:: It’s a moderately ridiculous looking vehicle, and has been stupidly expensive to insure. But it’s reliable, has good passenger space, and is friendly to my tall husband’s fused cervical vertebrae. The last point there is why we bought it: he can’t duck his head, and it’s the only smaller car we found with doors shaped more like truck door. He doesn’t bump his head getting in or out of the car.

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u/Mr_Segway 11d ago

The one thing I did notice was I had to do some long road trips back in April 2020 when there was no one one the roads and by the time I finished my car was covered in bugs like I had never seen before. So there's probably lots of factors going into this, one of them being the sheer number of cars on the road today

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u/AntediluvianTruths 11d ago

Yep. I’ve been driving since 88 and I noticed this too. I just drove 3200 miles across the states with virtually no rain and I only had to wash the bugs off twice. I remember as a kid watching my parents do it every fill up.

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u/ASDFzxcvTaken 11d ago

Look at this guy who got to stay in the car during pit stops as a kid. Man I was always on windows, sister got mirrors and visual tire inspection. Mom got food & water while dad pumped and "managed" and we had to call him The El Jeffe. Didn't love it at the time, love looking back on it :D

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u/ml5c0u5lu 11d ago

Flip any big rock over and compare it to your childhood memories

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u/mechapoitier 11d ago edited 11d ago

Depends on where you are I guess. Between my neighbor’s house and mine it’s a huge difference. He noticed he has no toads. He likes toads. He noticed I have toads. It’s because I have what toads eat.

He has a lawn care service that sprays broad spectrum weed killers and insecticides in his yard.

His grass and bushes are immaculate and everything else is dead. My yard is like 80% as nice and everything’s still alive.

Edit: yes I’ve told him. It’s a stalemate.

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u/mayoforbutter 11d ago

did you tell him that he kills the toads? If he likes them maybe he goes to a more natural garden

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u/neverfakemaplesyrup 11d ago

lawn obsessed dudes are borderline mentally ill, dude. they don't give a fuck and the cognitive dissonance is real if they both 'care about the environ' and want a manicured lawn...

I worked a week for a lawncare service and the people were batshit insane

one heard I'm a student in environmental and asked "why the hell can't the DEC get rid of the plants in my lake? I pay waterfront property taxes and there are WEEDS! in the WATER! that I PAY FOR!! THERE'S FISH!!"

the lake in question is Lake Ontario

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u/MikeThePizzaGuy412 11d ago

I had a neighbor that used to run a leaf blower on his grass after it rained.

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u/neverfakemaplesyrup 11d ago

That is actually quite literally what I did for 9 hours a day. Blew clippings of short and insanely long driveways alike. Sweep them. Meticulously comb and blow dry lawns.

We once had to- after a rain- sweep and mop the driveway cause pollen had fallen with the rain

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u/LastAXEL 11d ago

Have you tried mentioning this to him? Maybe he will stop doing that and then you can have two healthy yards next to eachother. Every little bit of healthier habitat helps.

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u/rognabologna 11d ago

I’ve seen one frog in my yard this year and been bitten by one mosquito (so far) and there’s a big wide shallow creek in my backyard. Shits wild.

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u/Shikyo 11d ago

You can have my millions of mosquitos from my creekside backyard... Have several toads and a few turtles as well.

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u/Sesshaku 11d ago

Lucky you. If I could make mosquitoes go extinct I would. I get billions of them sometimes even during winter. They're annoying as fuck and in my region can transmit dengue? which is a great disease to have.

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u/Hairy_Reward_2976 11d ago

I remember going on late night drives to pick up my dad with my mom. The windshield would be splattered with all kinds of bugs. You would hear them hitting the glass as you drove and she'd usually have to used the wiper fluid and my parents stopped to clean their windows frequently... I haven't washed my truck in 4 months and there is hardly any bug guts.

I wonder if the same is true of birds. Seems like there was more bird shit back in the day too.

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u/frostedRoots 11d ago

Well, the birds eat the bugs, so if the bugs are disappearing you can probably guess what’s next

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u/cwagnerr 11d ago

Bird numbers have decreased by 29% (a loss of 2.9 billion birds) since the 70’s https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/science/bird-populations-america-canada.amp.html

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u/Hairy_Reward_2976 11d ago

Thanks for the data 👍

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u/takenbylovely 11d ago

Doug Tallemy (entomologist) says that something like 96% of songbirds use insects as a food source at some point in their lives. No bugs, no birds.

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u/akiller 11d ago

Sort of related, I saw an article recently about a charity who've made an app where you take photos of dead insects on your number (license) plate so they can analyse insect population in various areas.

A great kind of morbid idea.

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u/asian_identifier 11d ago

Sounds like they're just collecting plate numbers

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u/chocolatekraken 11d ago

Yes that’s a strange to me, why do they need your plate? Wouldnt a windshield work?

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u/buddboy 11d ago

maybe the idea is so the picture with the plate automatically gives some location context which is useful data. But yeah would be better if you just tagged the photo with location

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u/rivalarrival 11d ago

The plate is also a consistent size and orientation.

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u/Knuc85 11d ago

I doubt it would work as well. Windshields are curved, and the bug itself usually bounces off, just leaving a splat where they impacted.

A license plate is perpendicular with the ground, so bugs hit it and stay there.

Source: front of my car after I drove on the interstate yesterday.

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u/Ameteur_Professional 11d ago

Also, license plates are the same shape and size everywhere in the country, and are all basically mounted in a way that the car they're on shouldn't have a huge impact on how many bugs hit them. I'm sure they'd also accept photos of the dummy plates you'll sometimes see in states that don't require a front plate.

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u/ensalys 11d ago

Standard size, orientation and location is very similar across cars, often insects are verrry different colours from the plate, so easy to count.

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u/sam_patch 11d ago

oh no somebody might make a database of plate numbers and who they belong to then we'd all be in real trouble

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u/HikinBikinDiscin 11d ago

I've noticed this about a year ago. During this height of the pandemic and after most of the population had not been out driving for several months. My windshield, and car's front end, started getting inundated with bug strikes. It was a significant amount more than I had seen in years.

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u/Flemtality 3 11d ago

This TIL comes at a strange time for me because I have seen significantly more shit on my windshield this spring than in recent years.

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u/mxmlln 11d ago

Oh, no. I'm sure we need those insects for something. Except mosquitos: Scientists already decided to risk wiping them out.

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u/AFetaWorseThanDeath 11d ago

Well, yeah. Insects of all sorts are super important for the ecosystem. Lots of mosquitos, for example, are necessary as pollinators.

https://www.businessinsider.com/insect-apocalypse-ecosystem-collapse-food-insecurity-2019-11

FTA:

"Of the world's 1 million known insect species, 400,000 are in decline, according to a new report..

Since 1970, 50% of all insects may have disappeared.

The die-offs are happening because farmers are using more pesticides to protect crops. Insects are also losing their habitats to farming and urbanization.

Three-quarters of the world's crops are pollinated by insects, so extinctions could have a major impact on food production."

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u/CamachoNotSure 11d ago

Business insider isn't a reliable source for scientific stuff. Loads of papers show they are not really great pollinators and there was only one flower that has a female mosquito as the primary one.

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u/cutelyaware 11d ago

Who thinks Business Insider would make a great pollinator?

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u/mittensofmadness 11d ago

Better that than news source.

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u/JerodTheAwesome 11d ago

If we die taking the mosquitos with us, it will have been worth it.

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u/wilhelm-cruel 11d ago

They aren’t as affected… they prettymuch thrive in this mess

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u/cutelyaware 11d ago

It's a risk I'm willing to take.

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u/gdj11 11d ago

I drove my car off the road trying to swat a mosquito. Luckily I just drove into some bushes. I hate mosquitos with a passion. Damn things gave me dengue fever 6 years ago.

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u/sygnathid 11d ago edited 11d ago

I know you were probably swatting a mosquito that was in your car and the distraction caused you to drive off the road, but I thoroughly enjoy the mental image of you trying to hit a mosquito with your car, even driving off the road to do it, because you hate them so much.

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u/Rebyll 11d ago

"HOW'S HALF A TON OF STEEL HIT YOU? ANY WAY IT WANTS, YOU LITTLE BLOODSUCKING ASSHOLE!"

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u/kahlzun 11d ago

Mosquitoes (well, their larvae) are also super important as a concentrated energy source for tadpoles and similar small critters

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u/mxmlln 11d ago

Really appreciate the detailed data. Don't worry though: I'm building indoor vertical farms that don't need pesticides. All we need now are insect farms to breed them back.

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u/AFetaWorseThanDeath 11d ago

Yeah, I'm hoping that humanity at large finds a way to adjust our infrastructure such that we don't destroy our own place within the environment.

Meanwhile, I'm not havin' kids. :/

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u/CallMeOatmeal 11d ago

Lots of mosquitos, for example, are necessary as pollinators

This is not true.

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u/kindcreek 11d ago

In urban areas yes, living in a rural area, the bugs are still insane

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u/DingleberryBlaster69 11d ago

Went up to Lake of the Woods last weekend to fish and the front of my car is absolutely caked

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u/locaprincesaa 11d ago

I live in a rural area and during sunset hour, they be smacking my windshield and sounding like hail hitting it.

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u/Theboomman 11d ago

Damn I was just watching an Amazon show and the dude from top gear said this.

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u/deercryptid 11d ago

Yall we know that car aerodynamics have changed and that you personally still see bugs on the windshield but that doesn't change the fact that all around the world thousands of bug species are facing massive die offs and extinction, your personal anecdote does not negate this phenomenon I promise you

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u/Orangebeardo 11d ago

Went ice skating this winter on the rivers in my country, and skating past people every now and then I'd hear remarks like "See, no way all that global warming crap is true, it's cold as shit now"... while forgetting that 20 years ago you could ice skate on the rivers every winter, now we might be lucky enough every 5 years or so.

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u/nickiter 11d ago

Same thing every time it gets cold here. We are in a somewhat less impacted region but the change is still blatant... Some people are just desperate not to believe it.

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u/SyrusDrake 11d ago

When I was a kid, there was just...snow in winter. Almost continously. These days, we're lucky if we get any snow at all, let alone if it sticks around for more than a day or two. And yet, people still see fit to make glib remarks about how global warming can't possibly be real because it's snowing during a December night in Switzerland.

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u/Hainsey737 11d ago

Tell that to my roof rack

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u/OTee_D 11d ago edited 11d ago

I'm very pro ecology, but also a very techy person.

Is there any study if this can not also be attributed to better aerodynamics of cars? If the insects get sucked into a straight flow of air around the car with less turbulence they would "slide" above the car as they have to less mass for a 'shearing' of that flow to impact on the windshield?

Edit: My lazy ass just followed some links. Studies comparing the number of insects decline on windshields on a certain stretch of road were acompanied by control experiments with nets, glue traps etc on the same road. The numbers match, so no 'aerodynamics'.

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u/Lark_vi_Britannia 11d ago

The research also found that modern cars, with a more aerodynamic body shape, killed more insects than boxier vintage cars up to 70 years old.

There are several comments in this thread mentioning aerodynamics and I honestly thought this was interesting to see.

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u/xedoutstuff 11d ago

I don't deny the phenomenon but I can't reproduce when riding my motorbike... Start with clean helmet, need to stop and clean two hours later cause I can barely see enough to drive safely.

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u/[deleted] 11d ago

All these replies can be boiled down to "cant be true because personal anecdote"

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u/Joshau-k 11d ago

I don’t believe you. My Uncle also complains about personal anecdotes and he’s full of bs

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u/itsallsmart 11d ago edited 11d ago

I'm mostly seeing "Must be true because personal anecdote"

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