“The Windshield Phenomenon” — Why Your Car Is No Longer Covered In Dead Insects

If you’ve ever taken a long road trip, you’ve likely experienced the rite of stopping at a gas station to squeegee bug guts off your windshield. It’s disgusting, but it paints a remarkably vibrant picture of insect life in a region. Over the years, you may have also noticed that there are fewer bug splats on your windshield than there used to be. Some argue that cars today are more aerodynamic and, therefore, less deadly to insects, while others say that some cars have the aerodynamics of a refrigerator and they stay just as clean. Entomologists now say that what’s been dubbed as “the windshield phenomenon is actually a decline in some insect populations. Then there are the ecologists, who say that traffic volume, the time of day, the season, the width of the road, whether the road is paved or unpaved, and baseline insect populations all have an effect on how many of the little buggers wind up on your windshield. In other words, there’s no scientific proof that there’s a decline in the insect population. For now, more research is needed to isolate the possible causes. In the meantime, just enjoy a bug-juice-free windshield.