Why do dead insects stick to windscreens so well?

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Offline chris

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A very nice man from the US just dropped me an email, having heard our podcast (http://www.thenakedscientists.com/podcast) to ask

"Why do dead insects stick to windscreens so well?" - and I have to say I cannot think of any reason why they should stick better than anything else, but does anyone know otherwise?

Are they very rich in L-DOPA and hence have "mussel power" of attachment?

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx


Offline ukmicky

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Why do dead insects stick to windscreens so well?
« Reply #1 on: 07/08/2007 02:36:25 »
Me answering a question is sort of on par with me trying to type with two hands. A bad idea.

But here we go ,sorry Chris :).

I reckon its just a simple matter that when the insect hits the screen its body nearest to the window explodes , a bit like how
a human body splatters after falling 20 storeys on to  concrete surface ( I'll test later :)

Due to the splatter its body juices act like a glue once dry, adhering the fly to the screen
« Last Edit: 07/08/2007 21:48:37 by ukmicky »



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Why do dead insects stick to windscreens so well?
« Reply #2 on: 07/08/2007 22:13:23 »
I was thinking the same thing, Micky. But, they seem to have an ability to adhere almost instantly without a drying period, and midges more so than flies.



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Why do dead insects stick to windscreens so well?
« Reply #3 on: 08/08/2007 00:04:40 »
I too would be speculating.

Yes, the insects do explode on impact, and the debris gets splattered across the windscreen, as a human body would (as Michael suggested) on the concrete pavement after falling from a 20 storey building.  The explosion causes the liquid (blood and other body fluids) to fill all the small crevices in the surface it has hit, which makes it difficult to remove.

Exactly the same is true of a human body, but a human body going splat would include a substantial portion of very much larger pieces that are easier to clear off because they have not embedded themselves into the microscopic crevices.  It is not that there is less matter from a human that sticks to the surface than there is from an insect, it is only that there is proportionately less of a human that will stick because there are all of the larger pieces that will not stick.