Love Bugs in Florida

 What are love bugs and where did they come from?  How do you get rid of them?

The love bug (Plecia nearctica) is a species of the march fly. It is also known as the honeymoon fly or double-headed bug. They are called love bugs because during and after mating, matured pairs remain paired together with their “mate”. They will attach their bodies together and fly tandem for up to several days.

Love bug mating season lasts approximately four weeks and tends to be in May and September but it is not uncommon for them to make an appearance in the summer months when temperatures are above 84°F.  They tend to be more active between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Love bugs, despite their name, are more of a nuisance than loveable. They do not bite, sting or transmit diseases and are not poisonous. However, they can damage automobile paint if not cleaned off the vehicle, especially when exposed to the heat of the day.  It is important to wash and wax your vehicle regularly to help protect the vehicle’s paint during the love bug seasons.

Love bugs are very common in Florida.  A popular myth that the University of Florida introduced the love bug to the state by a genetic experiment gone wrong, is not true.  They originated and migrated from Central America, traveling along the Gulf Coast through Texas and Louisiana before arriving in Florida.

So what can you do to get rid of these annoying insects?  Unfortunately there are no effective chemical treatments for love bugs. The best defense is to protect your paint finishes by washing and waxing your vehicle regularly during the active seasons to minimize the damage to your vehicle’s finish.  Keep love bugs out of your home by installing screens in all windows and doors and seal any visible gaps.

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