Love is the Air

It’s that time of year, again! Love bugs flourish twice per year: April – May and August – September.

Also know as honeymoon bugs, double-headed bugs, and March flies, these short-lived insects are harmless to people but hell on automotive paint. They are attracted to vehicle emissions, and, by their sheer numbers, can encrust a windshield or radiator. Be sure to clean them off of your vehicle promptly or the acidity of their fatty remains will pit your paint.

Love bugs are most active from 10:00AM to 6:00PM. They only live for 2 – 4 days. A female can lay 100 – 350 eggs in leaf litter. The eggs hatch after a few days, and the larvae feed on the leaf litter. They are beneficial decomposers.

Adults nectar on plants and seems to be especially attracted to fragrant, whitish flowers like those of Simpson’s stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans) and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). Wildlife including birds and amardillos feed on them opportunistically. Large numbers of them have been found in the gut contents of quail and robins.

Did the University of Florida accidentally release them in an experiment gone awry? No. Though once thought to be an invasive insect from south America, love bugs likely are native to the U.S.: They were collected in Texas in 1940, long before love bugs were thought to have immigrated.

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