They are easy to identify, being black with a red spot. They usually come in pairs and have eight legs. Males are relatively smaller than their mates. Two bugs spend the majority of their short lives attached to each other. They fly around that way, and even though the male eventually dies, he is not released until the female lays her eggs. This explains alternate names such as the honeymoon fly and the kissybug. Whatever one may call them, they are intriguing insects.
When it is dark, lovebugs feed off of vegetation. They are a problem solely during daylight hours. They infest wooded areas more than anywhere else. They prefer to live inland, near pastures and rotting vegetation. They make matters worse for people when it rains; more of their eggs hatch, and their enormous population contributes to human aggravation. It is not that lovebugs are poisonous or unfriendly. They don't ever sting, bite, or stink, and they don't often carry disease. These insects are a type of March fly and are otherwise known as Plecia nearctica. In many ways, they are similar most other flies.
The mature female lovebug's lifespan is limited to mere days. She quickly reproduces and lays eggs under rotting vegetation, off of which her larvae feed. That is when they begin to "provide a beneficial function by converting the plant material into organic components which can again be used by the growing plants" (Short). Once they are fully grown, though less than an inch long, they cause serious damage. They help plants live, but they also frustrate most with whom they cross paths.
The flight of the lovebug is extremely troublesome. It lasts for four to five weeks, mostly around the months of May and September. When the temperature tops sixty-eight degrees and it is light outside, swarms are attracted to the warmth of nearby streets. Sometimes, so many end up covering one windshield that a driver must struggle to see the road ahead. They seem to be drawn to light colors, which makes it worse for light cars. Lovebugs also clog radiator fins during their flights and make cars overheat. The acid in their fatty tissue can ruin a car's finish if the mess they make is not taken care of quickly. The problems they cause are certainly expensive to fix, especially if "you don't clean your car every two days," according to News 13, Central Florida News.
There are numerous other reasons for individuals to dislike lovebugs. For instance, beekeepers are unhappy with them; bees ignore flowers that flies infest. In addition, they "get into refrigeration equipment on trucks causing them to malfunction... and sometimes drivers and passengers soil their clothing by sitting on lovebugs" (Short). Handling these creatures can be tedious. The issue is so serious that sometimes carpenters will not paint if their work might be ruined by a swarm! Luckily, simple solutions are at hand.
Dealing with lovebugs has become routine for many Floridians. It is useful to note that they feed on nectar, and their favorite meals include goldenrod, Brazilian pepper, and sweet clover. Avoiding these flowers in personal gardens will help to keep them at bay. However, Brazilian pepper is "public enemy No. 1 among invasive species" (Waymer), so it might help to keep a few planted nearby. It depends on personal preference.
Some have attempted using insecticides to control