The official term for love bug is “PLECIA NEARCTICA”. They belong to the family “Bibionidae”. These creatures are also known as a double-headed bug, kiss fly, telephone fly or honeymoon fly. They are slightly acidic in chemical nature. Love bug is seen in parts of the United States and Central America. They belong to the March fly species and are associated with gnats and mosquitos. Lovebugs do not pose any threat to humans but may cause problems in vehicles or homes which are gross and smelly.
Table of Contents
- Appearance and Size
- Behaviour and Habitat
- Reproduction and Life Cycle
- Love Bug Legend
- Signs of Infestation
- Love Bug Control
- Effective Ways to Get Rid of Love Bugs in your Home
- Effective Ways to Get Rid of Love Bugs on your Vehicle
Appearance and Size
Love bugs are black and small in color with a red touch on their head and slender bodies. They are winged insects possessing a pair of wings which are Smokey in color. These species are often seen in pairs and attach themselves at the rear abdomen of their female partners. They have a slow flight with a drifting sort of movement. Their length varies from 7-9 millimeters depending on the sexual category.
Behaviour and Habitat
The adults of love bugs feed on the nectar of desirable plants especially goldenrod, Brazillian pepper, and sweet clover. They spend their nights resting over the plants. After the adult, love bugs mature, they spend rest of their lives in the mating process and attaching themselves to an abdomen rear. These tiny species make flights in huge numbers especially in late summers i.e. during August or September, and late spring, i.e., April or mayLove bugs are considered as a nuisance if in huge numbers during this period they do mating, laying down eggs and then die off.They are a nuisance to the heavy passing traffic on the roads.Love bugs do possess the benefits of feeding around the dead vegetation within your gardens.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Love bugs undergo two flights within a year during their lifespan of around 3-9 months. Thier first flight occurs during April to May while second flight during August to September. These trips last for around 5-6 weeks. Female lovebugs lay around 150-450 eggs on decaying vegetation above the soil. The eggs hatch within 3-5 days after which they start feeding on the thatch left after cutting grass enriching the soil until they transform to pupa stage. Lovebugs live in the larvae phase for around 130 days during summers and 250 days during winters and the pupa stage for around 8-9 days after which they transform into adults. Once they develop themselves into adults, they start mating and copulating for reproduction. Mating begins between the love bugs immediately after the pupa is transformed into the adult stage. Male love bugs remain attached to the females during the mating period until they are adequately fertilized. Copulation occurs between 3-4 days before the detachment of female from the male love bug and then the female lay eggs and die off. Adult females live for around 7-8 days while male love bugs live for 3-5 days.
Love Bug Legend
When you are traveling to Florida during the flight season of love bugs, you will hear about love bug legend from the people living there. The locals say the University of Florida creates that love bugs in a genetic experiment which went wrong. Most often we hear a story that this experiment was done to get rid of the breed of Florida Mosquitos during which the love bugs were free in the wild. However, according to the University, it is said that love bugs are found in Central America, and maybe they traveled secretly to the port located in New Orleans. During the vacations.The bugs moved towards Florida and made this their new home.
It is a common urban love bug legend that these creatures do not serve any purpose which is entirely false. Because they are not found almost throughout the year and when they are seen its annoying as people consider them pests which create a nuisance. These bugs do not sting or bite, but they are annoying for the workers in Florida. Although, scientists believe love bugs as beneficial. Eggs are laid by the female lovebugs on decaying vegetation in our gardens.The immature love bugs help by breaking them down further which proceeds to the enriched soil with nutrients which is beneficial for environment and plants. One more weird thing is said about the relationship of love bugs that females drag the dead bodies of their male partners till the time they lay their eggs and then die off.
Signs of Infestation
Love bugs prefer humid, wet and dark habitats. In our homes, these types of areas are found in storage or Basement rooms. Plants grown in your gardens may serve as a source of food for lovebugs. The female love bugs seek for places which are wet and damp where they can lay eggs and feed on compost beds or mulch. Lovebugs are seen in massive numbers on the highway so they may be found dead on radiator grills, hoods, and automobile windshields when the vehicles are driven at high speeds. If we leave the love bugs on our windscreens, it is tough to remove them as they become dried. Etches and pits may be seen in a vehicle’s paint due to the acidity present in adult females when they lay eggs. However, with time there are solutions to get rid of this issue by protective coverings and waxes available in the market. The primary concern regarding adult lovebugs bodies is that they get clogged inside the automobile radiator air passages, reducing the effect of cooling engines. When egg masses and adult male bugs are smeared off the glass window, they cause an obstruction of the windshields.
Love bugs are seen in houses or buildings which are under construction irritating the workers who then refuse to work in such areas.
Love Bug Control
There many available remedies to prevent the infestation of love bugs around the areas surrounding your homes and your vehicles.
Effective Ways to Get Rid of Love Bugs in your Home
1. Blow them Away with a Fan
Switch on the ceiling fans and prevent the love bugs from flying within the houses.
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2. Light Some Mosquito Candles
Buy some mosquito deterrent candles and burn them inside your porch areas and also within your houses to prevent love bugs from entering your homes.
3. Use of Vacuum Cleaner
The vacuum cleaner is the efficient and easiest way to get rid of love bugs. The vacuum cleaner sucks up all the love bugs in areas confined to them especially vehicles and buildings to prevent piling and swarms of love bugs. You can add some insecticide into the vacuum cleaner to avoid the pests from crawling when you dump them off.
4. Use Insect Spray
Insecticide sprays can be used to kill or prevent all type of insects. Spray the insecticides on your entrance doors and plants in your garden where you find the enormous numbers of lovebugs infestation.You can also make homemade sprays by mixing water with citrus detergents and few drops of mouthwash into the mixture which is used effectively against insects.
Effective Ways to Get Rid of Love Bugs on your Vehicle
It is seen that when the vehicles get exhausted, they release fumes which resemble methane gas and Carbon dioxide, heat, and vibrations, all of these are a source of attraction for vehicles. It is quite difficult to get rid of love bugs from your cars, as their residue is tough to remove along with the fat tissue of these insects which feeds on the automotive paint. There are some practical ways to get away with them from your vehicle.
1. Cooking Spray on your Car
Apply cooking spray in the form of a thin layer on side and front mirrors of your cars before you sit in the cars and start driving. Cooking spray is the easiest way to remove the insects. After you are done with driving, use a water hose to flush down the splashed bugs from your car and get rid of them as soon as possible.
2. Wax your Car
There are types of car waxes available which helps in reducing the effects by the splattered insects. Wax should be applied to the cars before the season of love bugs begin. Tar remover and Turtle wax bug are easily available in the market to get rid of love bugs.
3. Sanding or repainting
Sanding or repainting is an option which can be considered as love bugs congregate in large numbers on shiny and light colored surfaces primarily newly painted surfaces. Repainting should be saved for later during winters, fall or early spring because these are the time periods when love bugs do not mate either do they travel in large numbers.