It’s the time of year in Florida when love is in the air which means it’s getting all over your car. In other words, it’s lovebug season. Every year from August to September, and then again in April and May, it’s mating season. While they’re not harmful, they are quite annoying.
What Are Lovebugs?
Plecia nearctica, or lovebugs, are also known as the honeymoon fly or double-headed bug. You’ll often see them “stuck” together because during and after mating, they stay together, even when they’re flying.
They’re small and black with a small red spot behind their head. They’re active between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. when it’s about 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
Adult lovebugs live just long enough to mate, feed, disperse and deposit a batch of eggs which is about three to four days. Female love bugs can lay as many as 100-350 eggs which hatch about two to four days later.
Cars And Lovebugs
One of the biggest reasons love bugs are a nuisance is they cover cars. Whether you live in the state or you’re renting a car on vacation, they’re going to make a mess of your travels.
According to the University of Florida, lovebugs are attracted to irradiated automobile exhaust fumes, diesel, and gasoline. The hot engines and the vibrations of cars attract them to the highways. So, you can bet as you drive around the Sunshine State during lovebug season that your windshield will be covered with “love.”
It’s not just annoying because you have to clean it off to see, but also because a large number of them can cause overheating by clogging radiators. Their body fluids are also highly acidic, so if they stay on your car for several days, they will damage the paint.
To remove them and save your paint job, you’ll want to get your car washed right away. A good scrubbing with soap and water will get the love bugs off without damaging your car paint.
The Lovebug Myth
There’s a rumor that lovebugs were created by the University of Florida’s entomologists and introduced to the state as a way to control the mosquito population. What’s really true is that research by UF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture started after the lovebug was well established in the state.
Lovebugs don’t eat mosquitoes either. They feed on nectar from flowers and benefit the environment like other pollinators.
How To Get Rid Of Lovebugs
According to The Farmer’s Almanac, there are ways to keep their love away:
- Keep your lawn mowed. It takes away their breeding ground.
- Spray your doorways with bug spray, especially if they’re light-colored. Lovebugs are attracted to lighter shades.
- Wax your car before the season starts. This will prevent them from sticking to your paint.
- Use baby oil or cooking spray on the hood and bumper.
- Wet dryer sheets are also another trick to wipe off what’s left behind from your highway drive.
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