Roving Reporter | "Lovebugs: The Nuisance Everyone is Talking About"

With temperatures rising and rain falling, "lovebugs" have shown up in droves throughout Rockport-Fulton. They are definitely a nuisance everyone is talking about.

Did you know that some people think that "lovebugs" are man-made and are a "result of a genetic experiment gone wrong at the University of Florida." Snopes says this isn't true, but are in fact "a member of the family of march flies," according to Wikipedia.[1]

Lovebugs are also "...known as the honeymoon fly, kissingbug, 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." [1]

You may be relived to know that they "neither bite nor sting." [2] Their extremely acidic body chemistry prevents this ability. [1] It's for this reason though that leaving them on your car hood or bumper can result in permeant damage to your car's paint job--sometimes leaving "pockmarks" even after they are cleaned off. One tip to remove their carcasses from your car is to use a 40/60 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water.  Spray the mixture on your windshield, and wait a few minutes before wiping off with a rag or paper towel.

"Lovebug adults are attracted to light-colored surfaces, especially if they are freshly painted, but adults congregate almost anywhere apparently reacting to the effects of sunlight on automobile fumes, asphalt, and other products affected by environmental factors still not completely understood." [1]

While some potential predators may decide that their acidic body chemistry is not "good eats," they do provide some birds, such as quails and robins, a protein packed snack. "Arthropod predators include spiders, some predatory insects such as earwigs, at least two species of beetle larvae, and centipedes." [1]

So how long do these "lovebugs" live? "The lovebug has been recorded to have two flights that occur each year in which the lovebug will have a total lifespan of about 4–9 months depending on flight season. The first flight occurs during the months of April and May and the second flight occurs in August and September.  The flights generally last about 4–5 weeks each time."

So hopefully it won't be too much longer before these affectionate couples begin to dissipate around Rockport-Fulton!

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