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Beekeeper’s Notes July 2017: Try The Windscreen Test!

Published on: 1 Jul, 2017
Updated on: 30 Jun, 2017

Hugh Coakley keeps bees in Worplesdon. In the latest of his monthly notes, he talks about the windscreen test for counting insects.

I remember many years ago driving towards the coast with my brothers and sisters on our holidays. We sang the Cliff Richard song Summer Holiday at the tops of our voices and fought to be the first to declare that we could see the sea.

No seatbelts in the Bedford van, no suntan lotion (but massive sun blisters and burnt skin which us kids took great delight in popping and peeling) and no worries – Oh happy days.

On a blackberry flower 1

The bees have loved the blackberry flowers this month. Click on the images to enlarge them.

At the end of the journey, the windscreen would be covered by the gory remains of all types of insects splattered against the glass. There would be a lot of scrubbing for the homeward journey but that was normal.

Does it happen now?

Not to the same extent. Is that because windscreen wipers and washers are so much better? I am not sure that we even had washers in those days. Or is it because we have fewer insects flying?

It was brought to mind this month when we had a minor invasion of ants into our kitchen. we ‘upped’ our cleaning up after meals and sprayed around the entry points but they kept on coming. We bought a little anti-ant cassette which we placed as instructed on the kitchen worktop and, hey presto, they stopped.

Amazed at how effective it was, I read the packet in more detail. Apparently, the ants take the poison back to their nest and it wipes out the nest. I didn’t just stop them coming into my kitchen, I had wiped them out.

I had taken the ant version of the nuclear option.

Moving between flowers

Moving between flowers.

We read about farming methods affecting wildlife habitat. It isn’t just them, it is me also. It made me think.

It isn’t scientific but try the windscreen test. There are no prizes but it might point to us taking kinder ways of living with our wildlife neighbours.

Happy driving.

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Responses to Beekeeper’s Notes July 2017: Try The Windscreen Test!

  1. John Lomas Reply

    July 1, 2017 at 9:44 am

    The windscreen thing was mentioned during TV’s Springwatch programme when they were talking about the disappearance of so many pollinators.

    There is another aspect of car design which may have affected windscreen splatter.

    Cars used to have many more vertical surfaces for insects to hit, nowadays their more aerodynamic design could well be sweeping them up and over the vehicle.

    It could be interesting to see if there is a significant difference between car/insect strikes and lorry/insect strikes.

    • Harry Eve Reply

      July 11, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Another interesting comparison would be with the less densely populated areas on the continent or those where agriculture uses less pesticides. Do any readers who drive in such areas on the continent have any experience to offer ?

  2. Harry Eve Reply

    July 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    A question for Hugh Coakley – possibly for a future note. I notice that some honeybees have orange bands, some don’t and some are in between. Are there different varieties (or is there any other explanation)?

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