Thursday, May 12, 2011

Love is in the Air

It’s May, and in Central Florida love is in the air. Literally. And on the ground. Crawling on walls. Clinging to window screens. Swarming our cars. Splattering on our windshields. Dissolving our paint.

What kind of love is that? Glad you asked. It’s the love bug. Also known as the March fly, although why I do not know since they take flight twice a year—in May and September.

In late spring and early fall, adult love bugs swarm up out of the grasses and mate. The male dies, but the happy couple remains co-joined while the female flies around for a few days. Blech! Adults live less than a week, but I have to tell you, these little buggers are the bane of my existence while they’re in flight.

They don’t bite—thank goodness—but they have enough heft that if you walk into a cloud of them, you know it. My advice? Don’t swat. They leave a nasty stain. They’re attracted to heat, and hover in huge swarms over the roadways, making it a good time of year to own a car wash. Or a radiator shop. Many a car owner has faced expensive repairs after bug bodies clogged their car’s air intake.

Talk about a love gone bad.

Some say love bugs were a present from my alma mater. But the story that they escaped from a UF science experiment is only urban myth. They actually migrated up from Central America, passing through several southern states before finding Florida's moist climate to their liking.

Lucky us.

All that being said, I simply don’t like them. I don’t like bugs in general. I hate and fear spiders. And love bugs make my skin crawl. Which I can handle, I guess, as long as there aren’t any love bugs crawling on me.

Love bugs crawling on the wall outside my office made me close my window blinds.


Winter Peck said...

Now, that's one bug my oldest son would love to have for his 4-H bug project.

And speaking of spiders, I was just in my basement doing laundry and picked up what I thought was a wad of black thread but turned out to be a big wolf spider. Gave me the hibbie gibbies! He didn't live long though, squashed him!

Estella said...

Ugh! The bugs are gross. Can't imagine flying around with your dead mate attached.

Leigh Duncan said...

Ooooh, Winter, they'd have to call the paramedics for me, I'm afraid.
Estella, good to "see" you again!
On days like these, I wonder why we live in Florida. Thank goodness for pest control--there are some months when I just want to give him a great big hug! (Of course, it doesn't hurt that he's kinda cute. :)) But my parents moved down here in the 50's and lived in a house with open windows and no a/c. I have no idea how they managed.

Pamela Stone said...

My parents took a road trip to Florida one spring and ran through Love Bugs. Now you always get bug splats on road trips, but those little buggers ruined the paint on the front of their van.

Linda Warren said...


We had those pesky critters here about four years ago by the millions. We felt like we were being attacked. We've never had them before and we haven't since. Don't know why they made the trip to Texas that year.

You can keep the love bugs. LOL


EllenToo said...

Although I'm a little late with this I totally agree with can keep these things. I remember a trip to Florida with my parents years ago and we had to stop ever so often and clean those things off the car before it overheated.

linda s said...

Love bugs sound a lot like the termites we saw in East Africa. They flew up to mate and then lost their wings. They were attracted to lights. There are so many the wings pile up along the street in drifts under the street lights. I didn't like them at all.

Leigh Duncan said...

Oooooh, don't even get me started on termites!