The 'windshield phenomenon': Why are there ever crashing less insects on the front of the car?

Who has not finished with the windshield of his car, the calender, the headlights and the covers of the mirrors riddled by hundreds of crashed insects against t

The 'windshield phenomenon': Why are there ever crashing less insects on the front of the car?

Who has not finished with the windshield of his car, the calender, the headlights and the covers of the mirrors riddled by hundreds of crashed insects against them? Everybody. It is a mere question of physics and nature: there are millions of insects and a car that crosses on its way at full speed is an impossible object to avoid. If at some point they came to perceive it.

However, the number of those who appear dead at the end of the trip seems to be less and less. And we say it seems, because the so-called windshield phenomenon, which is how this fact is known, emerged from the subjective appreciation of the motorists themselves. And it was this one who aroused the interest of scientists by the relationship he could have with the descent in the number of insects.

The term was used to be used since years ago, but it was from 2017 when it took strength after the publication of a historical study of the Krefeld Entomological Society (Germany). In He concluded that, in the last 40 years, the insect biomass had been reduced by more than 75% in more than 100 natural reserves of Western Europe. It was one of the first great investigations on so-called non-charismatic insects, that is, those who do not call attention to the population in general.

This was added another in 2019, made in Denmark for the period 1997-2017, using the car windshields as a control method. Drops of between 80% and 97% were recorded without the type of car had statistical relevance. As in another British work in which the number of impacts on enrollment were measured, finding a 50% decrease.

Because, in addition to the lower population of insects, researchers have also considered the effect that the aerodynamics of vehicles could have within a broader set of factors. Jason Weintraub, director of the Intomology Collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences at the University of Drexel, explained what factors affect the number of insects that collide a windshield.

"It depends on the route (if there are habitats of flying insects), the time of year (there is less in winter), atmospheric factors and the time of day (at sunset there is more and at night look for the light of the headlights, So easier to crash against them). In addition, there are "explosive combinations" of these elements, for example, when it is passed through the habitat of a species in the mating or migration season.

But he also talked about the "type of vehicle and the speed to which he circulates". For example, a car that circulates slower, makes the insects end up trapped in the flow of air or fly over the car, instead of crashing against it. Aerodynamics can also have a similar effect, suggests John Rawlins, head of invertebrate zoology of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Others do not think the same. Scott Black, Director of the Society Xerces for the Conservation of Invertebrates of Portland (Oregon), affirmed in article WERE ALL THE INSECTS GONE? (Where have all the insects gone?) Published in Science in 2017 that, when he was young "he was driving a Ford Mustang Mach 1, with an aerodynamic lines, and he was always covered with insects." And Martin Sorg, an entomologist from the Krefeld Entomological Society, reinforced that argument: "I drive a Land Rover, with the aerodynamics of a refrigerator, and in summer it remains clean."

90% of the information that reaches the driver is through the view, so dirty crystals can reduce visibility up to 30%. Carglass, leader in repair and replacement of vehicle moons, offers advice tips to avoid it. Thus, the liquid tank of the clean should always be full, to use them frequently (never with the sun from the face) and not let the insects dry and accumulate. An antilluvia treatment can also be applied, which causes themselves less, and put on removing them, it is convenient to resort to warm water with soap to soften them, pressure water to remove them.

Updated Date: 04 September 2021, 22:07

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