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.

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.

Aren’t the slugs trouble enough?

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.

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. :wink:

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. :slight_smile:

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.

There are no bugs in Seattle because they are all just up the road in Redmond.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Do they only inhabit ground floor spaces, or can they (shudder) climb stairs?

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

No, they climb.

Luckily, they climb very slowly, so you’re likely to notice them before they’ve moved in.

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.

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.

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.”

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.