Sunday, September 1, 2013

Driving in Florida During Lovebug Season

The Placida Nearctica better known as the $%^*&^%$# Lovebug, is really a march fly.   It is also known as the honeymoon fly, kissing bug, or double-headed bug. The adult is a small, flying insect common to parts of Central America and the southeastern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast.  During and after mating, adult pairs remain coupled, even in flight, for up to several days. 

Urban legend holds that Lovebugs are synthetic 
the result of a University of Florida genetics experiment gone wrong. It is thought a Florida State  alumni stated this rumor.

By the end of the 20th century the Lovebugs had spread heavily to all areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico, as well as Georgia, and South Carolina localized Lovebug flights can number in the hundreds of thousands. Two major flights occur each year, first in late spring, then again in late summer. In south Florida, we are sooo lucky a third flight can & almost always occurs in December. 

The spring flight occurs during late April and May, and in the summer during late August and September. Flights extend over periods of four to five weeks.  Mating takes place almost immediately after emergence of the females. Adult females live only three to four days, while males live a little longer.

This species' reputation as a public nuisance is due not to any bite or sting but to its slightly acidic body chemistry. Because airborne Lovebugs can exist in enormous numbers near highways, they die in large numbers on automobile windshields, hoods, and radiator grills when the vehicles travel at high speeds. If left for more than an hour or two, the remains become extremely difficult to remove. Their body chemistry has a nearly neutral 6.5 pH but may become acidic at 4.25 pH if left on the car for more than a day the little SOB’s will eat into your paint.

Another concern is excessive clogging of vehicle radiator air passages with the bodies of the adults, with the reduction of the cooling effect on engines, and the obstruction of windshields when the remains of the adults and egg masses are smeared on the glass.
 To clean Lovebugs of your vehicles try a used fabric softener sheet. Its texture is perfect for removing the bugs and will not scratch your cars finish. To help keep the bugs off of your car, you can spray Pam cooking spray or WD-40 on the front of your car. Just a light spray and keep them cleaned away with the dryer sheet.

The #$%^&*$ Lovebugs need to be removed every day during their season or your paint will look like my Nissan that was not taken care of before I bought it.

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