And on the windshield, and the hood, and the bumper, and the grill. No, we’re not talking about some kind of wild orgy where people are doing the nasty anywhere they can. This is an orgy of love bugs, a phenomenon that anybody in Florida is familiar with. It happens every year, in the spring and in the late summer/early fall. And though it only lasts for a short time, it is a mess.
Love bugs, also known as honeymoon flies, kissing bugs, and double-headed bugs, are a species of fly found in the southeastern United States, especially Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and to a lesser degree, Georgia and South Carolina. They only live a few days, but that’s long enough to aggravate anybody who has to drive when they are swarming.
And swarm they do! It’s not uncommon for it to look like it is snowing, but instead of white snowflakes the sky will be filled with black bugs. Driving down the road they hit the windshield so fast and in such numbers that it can sound like it is raining. The name love bug comes because while they are mating and afterwards the bugs will be coupled together and remain so for up to several days. While their stamina may be admirable, that’s about the only positive thing anybody could ever say about them.
Just this week I spent a lot of time cleaning the windshield of our Ford Explorer because they are so sticky and so dense that it takes a lot of work to get them off. Then, after I drove about 5 miles, the windshield was covered with them again.
While getting them off glass is hard enough, getting them off of a vehicle’s paint is a real chore. But you have to do it, and you have to do it pretty quickly, because their bodies are very acidic and they will destroy your paint in no time at all. There are several recommended methods to get rid of them, and in my experience all of these suggestions are about like the many ideas people have for keeping their RV holding tank sensors clean and functioning. Nothing seems to work very well except going to a carwash and paying somebody to scrub them off by hand.
A common misconception is that love bugs are an invasive species that were imported to help cut down on mosquito populations. Another story is that they were an experiment in mosquito control at a Florida college that went wrong. Neither are true. Just like Africanized bees, they migrated north and spread over the years. And love bugs don’t even eat mosquitoes. Just automotive paint.
Besides being aggravating, love bugs can be dangerous. Not because they can harm humans directly, but because when they are swarming, vehicle windshields can become so obscured that visibility disappears, something you don’t want to happen when you’re going down the highway at 60 or 70 mph. They have also been known to clog radiator fins, causing vehicles to overheat.
The good news is, after a week of dealing with them, the numbers locally are beginning to diminish noticeably. Hopefully we will not have to put up with them much longer. At least, not until they reemerge in late summer/early fall.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery set in a small Ohio town in 1951. I have 24 mystery novels out, as well as 10 or 12 nonfiction books, and I have to say that Dog’s Run is my favorite. It’s a gritty tale that is loosely based upon an actual crime that took place in that part of the country when my father was a young police officer there, and I warn you in advance that there’s some rough language, but it’s appropriate to the time and place. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to stop participating in the problem.