Hot PICs: NACHI member Bill Turtle's NACHI truck gets attacked by Florida bugs.

Ah love bugs. Yes, we know them well here. The bad thing is if you do not remove the splattered bugs in time the acid in the bug guts will etch the paint very badly in no time at all. Now, I am just waiting for someone to ask why we call them love bugs.

Okay…I’ll ‘bite’…
Why do you call them Love Bugs ???


Wetland flies that are called love bugs because the male and female are usually seen together in the act of copulation.

D. E. Short2 ‘Lovebugs’ (Figure 1 ) are small black flies with red thoraxes. Males are 1/4 inch, and females are 1/3 inch in length. These flies are members of the family Bibionidae and are known as March flies. Several species of March flies are native to Florida, however, Lovebugs, Plecia nearctica Hardy are recent invaders from the west. CREDITS: James Castner, Unviersity of Florida
Figure 1. Mating pair of lovebugs. Female on right. Southern Louisiana experienced flights of lovebugs during the 1920’s. The species was described by Hardy in 1940 from specimens collected in Mississippi. First reports of their presence in Florida were made in 1947 from Escambia County. Subsequent reports indicate their presence in Leon County in 1955-56 and Alachua - Marion Counties in 1964-65. Since that time, flights have progressively moved southward. In 1974, specimens were collected in Homestead. Lovebugs also have moved northward and have been reported from Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. Two flights of lovebugs occur each year. The spring flight occurs during late April and May. A second flight occurs during late August and September. Flights extend over periods of 4 to 5 weeks. Mating takes place almost immediately after emergence of the females. Adult females live only 2-3 days.

** Larvae Aid Growing Plants **

Female lovebugs lay from 100 to 350 eggs which are deposited beneath decaying vegetation. Larvae (immature stage) feed on decaying plant material and live on the soil surface just beneath the decaying organic matter. Larvae perform a beneficial function by converting the plant material into organic components which can again be used by the growing plants. After larvae mature, they transform into pupae. The pupal stage requires about 7 to 10 days. Adult lovebugs are harmless and do not sting or bite. They feed on the nectar of various plants, especially sweet clover, goldenrod and brazilian pepper. Usually, lovebug flights are restricted to daylight hours and temperatures above 68°F. At night lovebugs rest on low growing vegetation.

** Lovebugs Hinder Motorists **

Lovebugs are a considerable nuisance to motorists. They congregate in unbelievable numbers along highways and the insects spatter on the windshields and grills of moving trucks and automobiles. Windshields become covered with the fatty remains, and vision is obscured. During flights, the flies clog radiator fins causing cars to overheat. They also get into refrigeration equipment on trucks causing them to malfunction. The fatty tissue will cause pitting of the car’s finish if it is not removed within a few days. Flies enter cars and sometimes drivers and passengers soil their clothing by sitting on lovebugs. They are also a considerable nuisance to fresh paint. The flies enter houses under construction in such numbers that carpenters refuse to work. Beekeepers complain because worker bees do not visit flowers that have been infested with the flies. A number of insecticides have been evaluated for effectiveness in controlling lovebug larvae and adults. Most of them kill lovebugs but are impractical because high populations of the insects occur over vast areas of the state. A vacuum cleaner can be used to remove adults from confined areas, such as in buildings and vehicles.

Credits: University of Florida

What Chris said, and very well I might add. One other thing. To my knowledge the only known enemy of the lovebug is the automobile. Ive never seen anything else even remotely look at them as food. They must not taste like chicken.