This Summer Did Not Bite

Alert “06880” reader Dick Lowenstein wonders:

Where have all the insects gone? Am I alone in thinking that there are few bugs flying around?

This year and last, the stinging insects seem to have disappeared — fewer hornets, wasps, yellow jackets  and bees. Also fewer mosquitoes (maybe because of less rain).

Dick says a friend noticed fewer butterflies too.

Did you notice the lack of bugs and stinging insects? Or was this summer’s weather just so fantastic, we didn’t care?

Click “Comments” below to share your entomological thoughts.


21 responses to “This Summer Did Not Bite

  1. Ruth Kalla Ungerer

    Few bugs but I had a wonderful encounter with a Luna MOth while gardening. It was beautiful!

  2. Beth Berkowitz

    I have been getting bitten up the last few days by a lot of biting not stinging insects. I can tell you that on Monday there were so many biting Mosquitos at the us open that the players had to stop and get big spray before they could continue on the grandstand court. Once the bug spray came out the players got sprayed and then all the line judges and ball people got sprayed and even some fans in the first few rows.

    Then again all summer as the sun has been setting if I have been outside in Westport I also have been getting bitten up by either Mosquitos or biting flies. I have a lot of yellow jackets flying around all my flowering bushes and it doesn’t seem like less to me and I had a wasp near near a window removed and a nest in the ground with a lot of yellow jackets in the backyard needed to be removed too. I haven’t seen any honey bees though. Luckily we haven’t been stung at all.

    I have heard from many people who said they had a large give of bees or yellow jackets in the walls or attic of their homes this year too. I know several people who have said there are less bees and yellow jackets around, but not sure that is accurate based on my experience. I live in SAUGATUCK shores and the people who I have heard about their insect issues live all over Westport and weston and Stamford, so I don’t think it is just in my little section of town.

  3. Like Beth they are all at my house, too. We have inground nests of bees who are also all around my flowers. Had huge above ground nest removed early summer. Want to know from Beth who or how inground hives were extracted. A special exterminator?
    Carol Davis

  4. There is a general consensus that the mosquitos and noseeums have not been a nuisance this year. Generally, a harsh winter with prolonged periods of freezing or sub-freezing weather reduces the population of such bugs as the eggs are affected. Ticks, too. That is one of the benefits of a winter like the one we just had. I have not seen a reduction in bees the same way I have noticed the other insects. Bees with nests in the ground seem to be prevalent and and my catnip have had bumble bees all over them all summer long. The yellow jackets really start showing up this time of year. Dan… I am sure you know from all the years on the soccer field in the fall that the yellow jackets love the orange slices and drinks like gatorade or juices. Cheers to a great summer all around!

  5. I had a couple of yellowjacket nests sprayed this month — I’ve never had problems with them before. The exterminator said that this summer has been crazy with bee removal. He personally is doing 5+ hives a day.

    One other note is that I’m not see as many fireflies this year. My daughter set out to catch some one night and there were none to be had.

    This isn’t insect-related but I have also noticed a very early fall of immature acorns starting in mid-August. Last time we had so many acorns down was prior to a very bad winter. Anyone else notice this?

  6. All the insects are in Vermont.

  7. Audrey Doniger

    i don’t have many stinging insects–i DO have lots and lots of crickets inside my house–at first they were full sized,now they are smaller–i’ve been treating them as house pets(not pests)—anyone have any ideas as to “why crickets??”

  8. When a bunch of our annuals did not flower this year I made the same comment to my friends who begin to notice the same problem. I wonder if there was an economic effect on local farms and wha could this mean for the future.

  9. Tom Broadbent

    Agree, fewer yellow jackets and mosquitos. We are getting lots of flies now, and our housekeeper says she is seeing the same thing at other houses in the area.

  10. Ditto…fewer fireflies, mosquitoes, butterflies, ticks, and whatever ate my brassica and beans the last few years. More wasps, more bees. A couple of cicada-like monsters, too.

    • Agree – and we live on a street that is usually filled with fireflies, and I’ve hardly seen any 🙁 But I sure don’t miss the mosquitoes!

  11. Speaking as a Westport beekeeper in the downtown area, this season was odd: it started cold and wet (good) but, despite that, our hives started swarming like crazy (half the population departs with the old queen – bad). Only now, when the main nectar flow is over, are the hives getting back on their feet, population wise. On the plus side, the honey we harvested is the hands down lightest and most delicious we’ve ever had. Oh, and a little thing: “bees” in the ground aren’t bees – they’re usually some variation of yellow jackets – which are in the wasp family.


  13. We’ve seen more bees and many more hummingbirds. N.B. You and your gardener should avoid systemic pest controls if you want the birds and the bees to continue what they’re doing.

  14. Cornelia Fortier

    In “Bringing Nature Home,” Doug Tallamy’s groundbreaking book, he provides data that show global warming, loss of habitat and the invasion of “alien” plants, i.e., non-natives, have caused an incredible die off of insects — and birds and other creatures — with much more to come.

  15. Bobbie Herman

    I think the yellowjackets all came to our house (in Greenfield Hill). I had to eradicate three huge underground nests. We’ve had lots of swallowtails, but only a couple of Monarchs, and only very recently, even though I planted several butterfly weeds. However, there are a lot of bumblebees on our buddleia bushes, and I hope they’re going to make good honey, even though we won’t get any. Also, every sparrow in Fairfield County came to our birdfeeder until I changed to finch food

  16. Charlie Colasurdo

    On the contrary I’ve noticed far more Bald-faced Hornets than I usually see in the garden, and at Wakeman Town Farm the female hornets chew wood off the animal pen fences to build up their nests. Our Cicada Killers (giant predatory wasps) are back in greater numbers than before as well.

  17. Sal Gilbertie

    Took an informal survey of ten local farmers today (the Westport Farmers’ Market gave me a big assist) and came up with the following: 2014 versus 2013 Bees: 3 said same in 2014 versus what they saw in 2013, 2 less, and 5 said they’ve seen more bees this year than last year. Butterflies: 5 same, 2 less, 3 more. Virtually all said there are less of both bees and butterflies versus what they saw prior to around 2010, and that the time period from around 2010 through 2012 was when a very noticeable decline took place. Almost unanimous in their belief that pesticides and geoengineering have something to do with the declines. As for mosquitos, the cold winter and the dry-ish summer rain patterns are labeled as the common cause. Birds and bats may miss the mosquitos, but we humans do not!

  18. Sharon Paulsen

    Yup, way less mosquitoes this year, no ticks on our indoor/outdoor kitty, a good amount of bumble bees (honey bees) thriving around our flower and field wildflower type beds. And yup, a noticeably strange amount of smaller biting flies in the last week or so. A few wasps “waking up” lately too.

    Interesting though about the sudden crazy mosquito and/or noseeum breakout at US Open. Just this past weekend my husband and I hosted an evening get together around the firepit, and at dusk, I was suddenly eaten alive. So out of the blue, it seemed!

    Oh, and definitely less fireflies, and less than normal crickets or preying mantis.

    Overall, a weird year – feels a bit foreshadowy, if you ask me. Eco shifts? The planet may be responding to our less than Mother Earth Friendly practices.
    How about that crazy tsunami type wave-action going on in California, even with that tropical storm so far off the coast of Mexico?? Imagine if it were a full born hurricane?
    Eeekk! (Look into property in Tahoe – could become our next West Coast ocean front real estate market, ha!).

  19. I do miss fireflies and crickets, but not the humidity!
    So, here in the Pacific Northwest there are zero mosquitoes, but a number of wasps. I’d like to see a few more bumblebees and butterflies (Milberts’s Tortoiseshell is a frequent visitor).
    Dragonflies are a favourite.

  20. robin scarella

    Well, the bugs were biting tonite as soon as it got dark. But we were lucky most of the summer- wonder if all that did not happen will happen now? i heard snow in September- maybe my hearing is going??