‘Tis the biannual Season for lovebugs (Plecia neacrtica). Lovebugs mate and swarm, annoyingly, in the spring (April/May) and in the fall (August/September). They do not bite, but their sheer volume can be daunting and damaging to vehicle paint. University of Florida (UF) recommends cleaning them off of your car as soon as you, since their body acids may ruin paint, as well as waxing your car for protection and to make removal easier.
No, they were not released accidentally by the UF and are not a mosquito control biocontrol attempt gone awry. They are yet another invasive pest that has found its way to Florida from central America. Click here to learn lots about lovebugs from the UF Department of Entomology’s Featured Creatures..
The good news: They live only a few days during which time they mate and nectar on plants. Honeymoon bug is another name for this seasonal insect.
Love bugs are diurnal, so you are unlikely to encounter them at dawn, dusk, or during the night. Peak swarming occurs in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
You often will find them nectaring on white flowered fragrant plants including saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) …
… and Simpsons’ stopper (Myrcinathes fragrans) …
Citronella and citrusy scents are said to repel lovebugs.
What good are lovebugs? They are pollinators. They are food for lizards and other critters. Lovebugs lay their eggs on moist decaying leaf litter, and the larvae act as decomposers.