July 26, 2015 — Leave a comment

A few days ago in the Indy Star section 2 was an article about bugs and airplanes. It seems that the bugs collected on the leading edge of the wings during takeoff and landing reduce the smooth air flow over the wings and increases the drag on the plane enough that it is measureable in fuel cost, 0.5% or $240 million dollars per year! That is a fare piece of change.

A couple of weeks ago the boss and I took a trip to Evergreen, Co. and had a really nice visit with the grandkids. It was really great to see them again and spend time with them and their parents also. When we returned home the front of the Saturn was covered with the remains of countless, infinity is the word that comes to mind if you really tried to count the remains, and the boss said that I would have to spend a considerable amount of time cleaning them off. It sounded to me that she was insinuating that I would have to spend hours scrubbing the front of the car to get it clean. My reply was that the car wash at Bradley’s would get them off with no effort. She said, “no way.” The bet was on and as usual the boss never wants to bet anything of significant value, it’s just a bet.

To prove my point off to the car wash I went. I must now admit that I may have cheated a bit here because when I arrived at the car wash I ask for special treatment for the “bugs” with some embellishment of the rewards due me when I win the bet. They did a really great job of scrubbing and pre washing the front of the Saturn before we entered the monsoon/hurricane style car wash. We came out squeaky with NO bug residue left to be seen clean. When I returned home the boss had to admit that I had won the bet.

Over the 20+ years that we travelled the country showing our Miniature Schnauzers, from Philadelphia to Long beach and Sarasota to Racine, every time we stopped for gas especially in the summer it always took longer to clean the windshield of the motor home than it did to pump 80 or 90 gallons in the tank. But, I wasn’t the only one, the simi drivers were climbing all over the cabs of their trucks cleaning maybe even scrapping the bug residue off their windshields as well. All the better to see us little folks who try to share the road with them. I’ve often wondered where do all the bugs come from and how much money we the driving public and perhaps even those paid to drive those big rigs lose every year because of increased drag caused by the bugs and their residue that retards the airflow over the aerodynamic designed cars and trucks we drive every day.

If you look at Interstate 65 that is extremely busy 24/7 and in dire need of a third lane for its entire length I wonder how many Gazillion bugs are killed every day during the spring summer and fall. I picked I-65 instead of I-70 which has just as much traffic and as many bugs but the metrologists have dibs on it because I-70 has become a climate changer. Weather is either north of 70 or South of 70 or along 70 but the bugs are still there.  You would think that after some period of time of massive slaughter of bugs that they would all be dead. But, night after night the onslaught continues with millions and millions of bugs meeting their demise on the windshields of the passing vehicles.  It doesn’t seem to matter what time of night you pick.  If you drive on any road I guess your car/truck will be covered with the remains of bugs too numerous to count. It must be they reproduce faster than we kill them. Although in Florida there are times when you kill a lot of bugs in the act. Now that is a mess. Do they really reproduce that fast? I thought only rats and rabbits did that.

Hopefully an Entomology graduate student looking for a novel thesis for their long sought after PHD could study and report on the life experiences of bugs (insects to the educated) along an Interstate highway. From conception to whacking against a hard object. Life in the fast lane.

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

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