September 18, 2023

LoveBugs: They’re everywhere! What they are and how to deal.

Mary Apel

It’s Love Bug Season (again)! Ack…

While lovebugs may be a nuisance, these insects actually have a valuable place in the ecosystem, contributing to pollination and decomposition. However, they congregate to highways and roads, and splatter our cars and trucks. This CAN do damage to the paint on your vehicle if left too long. And it makes driving feel kind of…icky. So while we don’t LOVE them necessarily, we don’t want to get rid of them either.

Here’s a bit about lovebugs:

1. Lovebugs belong to the family of march flies, scientifically known as the Plecia species. The most common species found in the United States is Plecia nearctica.

2. Lovebugs are known for their unique mating behavior. Male and female lovebugs are often seen flying in tandem, with the male positioned behind the female. This behavior is called “mate guarding.”

3. Lovebugs are harmless to humans and animals. They do not bite or sting, and their presence is more of a nuisance than a threat.

4. The adult lovebug lifespan is relatively short, typically lasting around two to three weeks. However, their population can become incredibly dense during their peak season.

5. Lovebugs are attracted to sunlight, warmth, and decomposing organic matter. This is why they are often found near roadsides, as they are drawn to the heat generated by vehicles and the decomposing plant matter found there.

6. Lovebugs are excellent pollinators. Despite their pesky ways, they play a crucial role in pollinating plants and aiding in the natural process of decomposition.

7. The lovebug’s scientific name, Plecia nearctica, reflects their origins and habitat. “Plecia” refers to the genus name, while “nearctica” signifies their prevalence in the Nearctic region, which includes parts of North America.

8. Lovebugs are often found in the southeastern United States, including states such as Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and, of course, Mississippi. They are particularly abundant in these regions during this, their peak season.

9. Lovebugs were initially introduced to the United States in the 1920s. They are believed to have arrived in Florida accidentally on ships traveling from Central America or the Caribbean.

10. Lovebugs are not entirely without predators. Birds, spiders, and certain insects like dragonflies and praying mantises feed on lovebugs, helping to control their population naturally.

How can you get rid of these not-so-cute couples?
Well the Farmers Almanac offers some tips:

In the Home
Some people have had success using ceiling fans to keep love bugs from flying into their homes. Turn the fan on high to keep them from finding a comfy place to land.

Outside the Home
Keep your lawn mowed. Love bug larvae grow in thatch, so a mowed lawn reduces their breeding ground.

Keeping Them Off Your Car
Wax your car right before their season begins. This will help reduce the effects of splattered insects as well as help prevent them from sticking to the paint. Lather a little baby oil or spray some cooking spray on your car’s hood and bumper. Wash frequently. This will help make the cleaning the bug residue easier. Wet dryer sheets also work well to wipe off any bugs that stick on your car.

And try this spray you can easily make at home. This tried-and-true spray is known to effectively get rid of love bugs.
1 cup water
3 tablespoons citrus dish soap
3 tablespoons mouthwash
Combine in a bottle and spray anywhere you have bug issues.

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