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  #1  
Old 06-23-2004, 06:30 PM
lissener lissener is offline
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Why no bugs in Seattle?

This thread reminded me to wonder: How come Seattle doesn't have any bugs? don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. But I occasionally remember to be amazed at how nearly bug free Seattle is. Of course, there aren't zero bugs--in five years I've seen one cockroach, and if I leave my windows open in the evening I get a cranefly or two, and an itinerant moth maybe, batting against the ceiling fixture. But it's not just me: more windows out here are screenless than screened.

Never seen a mosquito, never seen a June bug. Course, we got slugs as big as Jabba the Hut and spiders that bring down a running back, so OK we're not entirely bug free. But no mosquitos? no cockroaches? remarkably few of anything else? what gives?

My mosquito theory: everything out here is at a 45% angle. There are no flat areas for water to accumulate and provide breeding pools.
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2004, 06:41 PM
zoogirl zoogirl is offline
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That just doesn't seem right. Seattle is only a couple hundred miles south of here and we have bugs galore.

We've got just as many hills too, if not more. I wonder if the difference might lie in what the US authorities allow in the way of pest control? Our mosquito population is remarkable healthy. Matter of fact I just smacked one off my back a little while ago.

I suspect US insecticides are rather stronger than what we're allowed. At any rate, count your blessings. West Nile is well on it's way.
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Old 06-23-2004, 06:50 PM
lissener lissener is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoogirl
That just doesn't seem right. Seattle is only a couple hundred miles south of here and we have bugs galore.

We've got just as many hills too, if not more. I wonder if the difference might lie in what the US authorities allow in the way of pest control? Our mosquito population is remarkable healthy. Matter of fact I just smacked one off my back a little while ago.

I suspect US insecticides are rather stronger than what we're allowed. At any rate, count your blessings. West Nile is well on it's way.
Don't think so. I come from a place where they spray for mosquitos, and they don't do that here. Besides, Seattle is so Green-fanatic that I'm sure that would be a huge issue if that were the case. We have neighborhood salmon watches, because there are salmon runs that go right through Seattle neighborhoods. So people are very aware of stuff they put on their lawns, etc. The "environment" is pretty front and center in most Seattleites' consciousnesses.
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Old 06-23-2004, 06:56 PM
adirondack_mike adirondack_mike is offline
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Aren't the slugs trouble enough?
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  #5  
Old 06-23-2004, 07:00 PM
lissener lissener is offline
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If banana slugs flew and sucked blood, trust me, there wouldn't be many people living out here. In any case, you rarely see more than their silvery trails in the morning.
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2004, 07:36 PM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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I see a fair number of mosquitos (I have three itchy bumps on my right ankle right now, in fact), but to get the big clouds you've got to get out of the city. Just up the road a piece, at Snoqualmie Falls, the mosquitos show up on airport radar.

And an apartment building in which I once lived was positively crawling with roaches. It was an exception, though, in my experience, and they were the teeny variety of roach, not the skateboard-sized monsters you find in Hawaii and elsewhere.

And don't forget the yellowjackets. We got plenty o' those bastards.

But yeah, compared to other places, we are practically insect-free. No cicadas, no palmetto bugs, comparably fewer (but not zero) mosquitos, essentially no venomous spiders (black widows and brown recluses will occasionally show up)... We've got millipedes, earwigs, carpenter ants, and slugs, and that's pretty much it.

We make up for it with the volcanoes and earthquakes, though.
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Old 06-23-2004, 07:57 PM
Captain Gutgore Blooddrink Captain Gutgore Blooddrink is offline
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Heh. Leave your window open with some dirty dishes in the sink for a couple of days. You'll have enough fruit flies to carry off the chinese army.
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  #8  
Old 06-23-2004, 11:43 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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There are no bugs in Seattle because they are all just up the road in Redmond.

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  #9  
Old 06-24-2004, 04:46 AM
Barbarian Barbarian is offline
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[QUOTE=zoogirl]Seattle is only a couple hundred miles south of here and we have bugs galore. QUOTE]

Whatchoo talking 'bout Willis? I just spent 6 years in Vancouver and never encountered any buzzy wildlife at all except for the annual fall pilgrimage of the ladybugs into my halogen lamps.

Trust me, after growing up in the Montreal 'burbs where you can't venture outdoors around dinnertime without being eaten alive by mosquitoes, it was one more reason why the West Coast is heaven-on-earth.

as for West Nile, colour me unworried.
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  #10  
Old 06-24-2004, 10:51 AM
OxyMoron OxyMoron is offline
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I hope one of our entomologists posts, but a speculation on lack of flying critters: Seattle doesn't have much in the way of shallow standing water around. Lakes Washington and Sammamish are very cold and very deep, I think Lake Union has its own currents, and that leaves just Green Lake and a few small ones (Bitter, Haller).

As for roaches, I just don't know. Maybe slugs eat them.
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  #11  
Old 06-24-2004, 11:37 AM
Interrobang!? Interrobang!? is offline
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Why no bugs in Seattle? Because the insanely large spider population eats 'em all.

Seriously, though, like Cervaise, I've certainly noticed mosquitos and other flying insects, but there are far, far fewer of them here than there were in the midwest.

I wonder if a big reason for the "no bugs" perception is comparative -- if you grew up around the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River and experienced the swarms of mosquitos, crane flies or whatever other six-legged pests thrived in your area, Seattle seems relatively bug-free.
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  #12  
Old 06-24-2004, 11:54 AM
BurnMeUp BurnMeUp is offline
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Come to my house, just a little east of Seattle.

Moths everywhere... I get mosquitos and houseflies... and quite a bit of fruit flies if I'm not careful too.

And those nasty ass slugs... god I hate slugs.

I saw a few roaches here and there... and seen quite a few creepy cawlies that i'm inable to identify (outdoors not in my house)

Oh and all the bees and wasps and stingy bastards too.

Add in the scary spiders and there are more than enough bugs to freak me out.
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  #13  
Old 06-24-2004, 12:12 PM
lissener lissener is offline
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BMU, I'd guess you're a native? Though I haven't seen nearly as many mosquitoes or roaches as you have, sure I've seen the bees and spiders and fruitflies etc. But compared to pretty much everywhere else I've been in the US, we're mighty damn lucky, bugwise, in this area.

And yeah, Oxymoron, that was part of my theory too: Besides the fact that everything's on a slope, most of the water washes into salt or brackish bodies. The occasional garden bucket is not enough, in my theory, to support a general population of mosquitoes; there'd have to be some swampy areas somewhere nearby to keep a population healthy enough to even reach such numbers as to be able to take advantage of incidental buckets and puddles. IANAE.
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2004, 12:18 PM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lissener
If banana slugs flew and sucked blood, trust me, there wouldn't be many people living out here. In any case, you rarely see more than their silvery trails in the morning.
Do they only inhabit ground floor spaces, or can they (shudder) climb stairs?
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2004, 12:47 PM
BurnMeUp BurnMeUp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lissener
BMU, I'd guess you're a native? Though I haven't seen nearly as many mosquitoes or roaches as you have, sure I've seen the bees and spiders and fruitflies etc. But compared to pretty much everywhere else I've been in the US, we're mighty damn lucky, bugwise, in this area.
Nope grew up in Minnesota and Utah.

MN is of cours ethe mosquito capital of the world.

Utah had it's share of ants, potato bugs, earwigs, grasshoppers and spiders and some mosquitos... but i think that WA has more bugs than Utah
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  #16  
Old 06-24-2004, 02:02 PM
amarinth amarinth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalhoun
Do they only inhabit ground floor spaces, or can they (shudder) climb stairs?
No, they climb.

Luckily, they climb very slowly, so you're likely to notice them before they've moved in.
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2004, 02:31 PM
lawoot lawoot is offline
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I agree with the earlier statement about the unGodly amount of spiders around here. Also, this spring we had a tent caterpillar invasion - they were EVERYWHERE! They got into the house, dropped on me from off the eaves, it was AWFUL! So I'm expecting many many moths soon.
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Old 06-24-2004, 04:55 PM
tadc tadc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lissener
And yeah, Oxymoron, that was part of my theory too: Besides the fact that everything's on a slope, most of the water washes into salt or brackish bodies. The occasional garden bucket is not enough, in my theory, to support a general population of mosquitoes; there'd have to be some swampy areas somewhere nearby to keep a population healthy enough to even reach such numbers as to be able to take advantage of incidental buckets and puddles. IANAE.
You are probably onto something there. Also, consider the fact that much of central Seattle was "terraformed" during the 19th century from cliffs and marshes into the present steep built up areas and landfill, using giant steam-powered firehoses to wash the cliffs into the marshes. In doing so they probably eliminated much of the mosquito breeding ground. I doubt there's much if any natural coastline left along any of the bodies of water in Seattle.

According to this Lake Washington was lowered nine feet when the Lake Washington Ship Canal opened in 1916. This probably also eliminated much natural breeding ground.
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  #19  
Old 06-24-2004, 09:06 PM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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I lived out there for a little while. Every time I crossed a county line, I saw a sign that said "Apple Maggot Quarantine Area." So yeah, there is some degree of insect managment out that way.

Plenty of cat fleas, but technically I guess they're "mites."
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  #20  
Old 06-24-2004, 09:36 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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I grew up in Vancouver, WA, and we had mosquitoes galore down there. One of the first things I noticed when I moved inland to Wenatchee, 20 years ago, was that there were no mosquitoes here. Too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, and almost zero standing water. I can't even remember my last mosquito bite. No banana slugs here, either.

Overall bug levels are about the same here, but I'll take Western Washington bugs over Eastern Washington bugs any day (except for the mosquitoes). I remember mornings in Vancouver, finding beautiful spider webs outside, covered with dew, with a big, beautiful black and yellow spider in the middle. There were lots of colorful insects in Vancouver. In Wenatchee, the bugs are all brown and black and ugly. The only spiders you'll see are those hideous brown house spiders and the occasional black widow. And I never saw a cockroach before I moved to Wenatchee.
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Old 06-24-2004, 10:06 PM
koeeoaddi koeeoaddi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawoot
I agree with the earlier statement about the unGodly amount of spiders around here. Also, this spring we had a tent caterpillar invasion - they were EVERYWHERE! They got into the house, dropped on me from off the eaves, it was AWFUL! So I'm expecting many many moths soon.
Spiders, moths, ladybugs and fleas!

You must not have any pets, lissener. I've lived all over the U.S. and I've never seen fleas thrive anywhere the way they do here in Seattle.

Have I mentioned how much I hate fleas?
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  #22  
Old 06-24-2004, 10:36 PM
The Flying Dutchman The Flying Dutchman is offline
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I started a very similar thread to the OP several years ago, commenting on the lack of mosquitoes on Vancouver Island just north of Seattle. I was contradicted as well by other island posters. Since I moved to the island 1n 1979 I've never experienced the late night torturous buzz. I sleep with wide open windows.(I don't even know what a cockroach looks like)

I think the prevalence of bats around here may be responsible.
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  #23  
Old 06-24-2004, 11:37 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BurnMeUp
MN is of cours ethe mosquito capital of the world.
A friend of mine lives in LaCrosse and frequently ventures into MN. Everytime she comes back, her car looks like she just drove through the frog scene in Magnolia. (We need an ewww smilie)
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  #24  
Old 06-25-2004, 05:23 AM
lynxie lynxie is offline
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In Victoria. B.C. there are no screens in most residential buildings. That is either illegal or immoral in Ontario.
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  #25  
Old 06-25-2004, 09:55 AM
GargoyleWB GargoyleWB is offline
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I'm in Seattle, and my house alone could be responsible for the scarcity of bugs in the area. We have so many spiders it is unreal, we're talking on an epic-'70s-disaster-movie-guest-starring-Charo-and-Bruce-Jenner scale of spider infestation. Just this morning I stumbled across the shed skin of one of them in the middle of my living room floor, I honestly mistook it for a Brillo Pad at first, but on closer inspection...I fear I'm going to bump into the owner of that skin some night. And I kid you not, I walked down into my basement once and saw looming shadows cast against the wall from one of the spiders as it scurried to its fortress of solitude beneath the rafters, all that was needed to complete the effect was some creepy Vincent Price laughter.

But they leave us alone, our dogs are still alive and haven't been trapped, and our house and yard are bug free. They're happy, we're happy.
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  #26  
Old 06-25-2004, 10:17 AM
Snickers Snickers is offline
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Y'all have that many spiders? And they're big? Really?

Cross Seattle of the places I could live.

The list keeps dwindling...I might have to stay here. Ya, Minneapolis has skeeters (they're the state bird), but the cold keeps the spider population at bay. And they're usually smaller - there are some big ones, but I've only seen them in the woods or camping; they're not in my home.




Snicks
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  #27  
Old 06-25-2004, 01:18 PM
chappachula chappachula is online now
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the-++++++++++










the real reason that there arent many bugs in Seattle is that they all committed suicide! Seattle's the most depressing place in the USA

I worked there for 3 months --and never saw a single day of sunshine(Oct-Dec). Nice people, mild winters, good coffee--but unbearable weather.Permanent clouds, nonstop rain, constantly wet, and just damn unpleasant.
Ya gotta have a bit of sunshine in your life, but Seattle is just sad. Even the bugs can't take it.
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  #28  
Old 06-25-2004, 02:36 PM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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We just finished a week of clear blue skies and 80+ degree days, thanks for asking.
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  #29  
Old 06-25-2004, 02:46 PM
amarinth amarinth is offline
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We do have plenty of sunshine....just not during the off season, thank you. Plus, grey is beautiful. Plus, there aren't that many spiders. Really, there aren't.


That may explain the mosquitos (I think I don't notice them anymore, because I'm not a kid running around in shorts in twilight - 10pm twilight, pure heaven when you're in gradeschool), but what about the cockroaches? I had never seen one until I went to college (neither had any of the other people from WA or northern OR). Not that I'm complaining, I'll be happy to never see one again.
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  #30  
Old 06-25-2004, 02:50 PM
elmwood elmwood is offline
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Seattle?

I've heard that Colorado Springs has almost no flying insects.

The Buffalo metropolitan area has no fireflies, even though they're common in Rochester, Erie, and Cleveland.
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  #31  
Old 06-25-2004, 03:23 PM
Girl Next Door Girl Next Door is offline
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It's the spiders. We've got tons of 'em. They gobble up all the bugs.

And bats. We've got lots of bats, too.

Ever step on a banana slug barefoot? Gaaah!
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  #32  
Old 06-25-2004, 06:04 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lissener
This thread reminded me to wonder: How come Seattle doesn't have any bugs? don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. But I occasionally remember to be amazed at how nearly bug free Seattle is. Of course, there aren't zero bugs--in five years I've seen one cockroach, and if I leave my windows open in the evening I get a cranefly or two, and an itinerant moth maybe, batting against the ceiling fixture. But it's not just me: more windows out here are screenless than screened.

Never seen a mosquito, never seen a June bug. Course, we got slugs as big as Jabba the Hut and spiders that bring down a running back, so OK we're not entirely bug free. But no mosquitos? no cockroaches? remarkably few of anything else? what gives?

My mosquito theory: everything out here is at a 45% angle. There are no flat areas for water to accumulate and provide breeding pools.
First let me say I loved Seattle. But;
Just a few blocks from the Pikes Place Market area is a cool laundromat/pizza place where I personally squished a german cockroach. There's no possibility od mistake here, I grew up in Bakersfield and I know roaches. I was there in the early spring of '02, and someonewas filming something while I was there. The place had a definite "punk" edge to it.
Sorry. If I had known I was doing-in a state treasure I'd have made more a fuss about it. I didn't know it was endangered.
I'll be back.
Peace,
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  #33  
Old 06-25-2004, 10:25 PM
OttoDaFe OttoDaFe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervaise
We just finished a week of clear blue skies and 80+ degree days, thanks for asking.
Most unusual at this time of year (there's an adage about "summer" starting on July 5th in these parts). My sinuses were in severe danger of drying up.
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  #34  
Old 06-25-2004, 10:43 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Maybe this means something.

From my german cockroach link, above;
"They are unable to survive in locations without humans or human activity."
Hmmm.
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  #35  
Old 06-26-2004, 02:43 AM
picunurse picunurse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula
the real reason that there arent many bugs in Seattle is that they all committed suicide! Seattle's the most depressing place in the USA

I worked there for 3 months --and never saw a single day of sunshine(Oct-Dec). Nice people, mild winters, good coffee--but unbearable weather.Permanent clouds, nonstop rain, constantly wet, and just damn unpleasant.
Ya gotta have a bit of sunshine in your life, but Seattle is just sad. Even the bugs can't take it.
Please. Its possible a bug or two has drowned here now and then, but the cloudy, rainy reputation is a myth to keep tourists and other undesirables away.
Lots of places are cloudy in the winter. Here are average rainfall stats for Seattle.
Yes, I was born and raised here. We never had screens on our windows, but we did have house flies in the summer. Surprisingly, though, we had a screen door! Maybe we were just keeping out the flies too big to get in the windows.
I was a kid.
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  #36  
Old 06-26-2004, 02:44 AM
picunurse picunurse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OttoDaFe
Most unusual at this time of year (there's an adage about "summer" starting on July 5th in these parts). My sinuses were in severe danger of drying up.
Yeah. What [i]he said! so there.
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  #37  
Old 06-26-2004, 03:08 AM
sturmhauke sturmhauke is offline
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Originally Posted by BurnMeUp
MN is of course the mosquito capital of the world.
Clearly you've never been to the Philippines. In many areas people have to sleep under mosquito nets.
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  #38  
Old 06-26-2004, 08:52 PM
Shrinking Violet Shrinking Violet is offline
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Originally Posted by grienspace
I started a very similar thread to the OP several years ago, commenting on the lack of mosquitoes on Vancouver Island just north of Seattle. I was contradicted as well by other island posters. Since I moved to the island 1n 1979 I've never experienced the late night torturous buzz. I sleep with wide open windows.(I don't even know what a cockroach looks like)

I think the prevalence of bats around here may be responsible.
Or maybe they've been nobbled by the deadly fungus.
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  #39  
Old 09-25-2010, 06:15 PM
Stringman58Sea Stringman58Sea is offline
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Lucky you

You must live in an area where most of your neighbors get exterminated frequently.
Seattle has no shortage of bugs. As seen on the local news even bed bugs are becoming prevalent again. Also someone said there are no poisonous spiders in Seattle..... WRONG.. Just check with most of the Larger emergency rooms and you will find black widow bites even the rare for the PNW ,brown recluse bites do occur.

With international and national travel a constant these days insect hitchhikers of all kinds are making new homes all over including Seattle. Mosquitoes require places with standing water to breed so if you don't have those you probably don't have standing water in any abundance nearby. Visit any of the local lakes around sunset during warm weather, you'll see what I mean.

This thread was a fun read though
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  #40  
Old 09-25-2010, 07:59 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Originally Posted by lawoot View Post
I agree with the earlier statement about the unGodly amount of spiders around here. Also, this spring we had a tent caterpillar invasion - they were EVERYWHERE! They got into the house, dropped on me from off the eaves, it was AWFUL! So I'm expecting many many moths soon.
As evidence of the number of spiders we have here, I offer the fact that many of the spiders prey on... spiders.

As for numbers of bugs overall: it's comparable to the central coast of CA where I grew up. My wife says it's nothing compared to Texas (but then, what is?) or Florida, though. The bottom line for me is that I still can't go outside in the evening during the nicer months (say, May to October) because any mosquitoes within a mile will immediately bite me. My house is in a neighborhood with a pond and slow-moving stream.
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  #41  
Old 09-25-2010, 08:06 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Noisy mosquitoes don't bite.
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  #42  
Old 09-26-2010, 01:45 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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Is there anything more terrifying that zombie insects?
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