Bugs and windshields

By Bronwyn Watson

Pittsboro, NC – For a number of years now in the summer, I have noticed how clean my car windshield stays. Very seldom do I have to clean it. In contrast, I remember years ago and when I was younger having to clean my windshield it seemed, every other day or so from bug residue; and having to use elbow grease to do it!

Uncomfortably, I felt I was witnessing the changes in our ecosystem first hand and that our insect population was noticeably decreasing. When mentioning this observation to others I received explanations such as “cars are made differently now. Aerodynamically they are designed so that air flows around them at higher speeds and the bugs are pushed away from the car windshield.”  

Yet, last night as I was driving back on 64 West from Siler City at dusk, I started hearing pitter-patters on my windshield.  thought maybe we were getting some rain after all; just in time too to wash away all that pine pollen. But as I watched the windshield I noticed it was not wet, there were no rain drops on it. The pitter-patter was from bugs hitting the windshield! Lots of small bugs. The first time in a number of years I’ve seen that! What a joyous occasion. May all the bats and swallows, other birds and creatures dine well this spring I thought.  

And maybe it is true what they say, that this past Covid year has led to a recovery of our natural ecosystems; starting with the bottom of the food chain.  Pausing our seemingly endless human activities leads to a resurgence of life.  How hopeful this is. We can effect change by doing things a little differently.