Despite their name, lovebugs aren’t one of the most lovable insects. Lovebugs swarm near roadways in large numbers where cars that drive past end up with decreased visibility. This can often result in car accidents. Knowing what these romantically inclined insects are, where they thrive and how to get rid of them can help you a lot if you’re dealing with a swarm of lovebugs in your home or in your car. That’s why the experts from Fantastic Pest Control have come to help and share everything they know about lovebugs.
What Is a Lovebug?
The lovebug, otherwise called “the honeymoon fly” or “the double-headed bug”, is a species of march fly that frequently appears in the region of Central America and the Southeastern parts of the United States. They are also present in other countries, including Australia. They prefer warm, humid climates and are commonly attracted to the gasses emitted by vehicles.
This overly graceful pest gets its name because, during its mating season, it remains attached to its partner for several days. The matured pair even flies in this connected state, which can be either funny or terrifying. It all depends on how you see it. Lovebugs have black bodies and red heads, and they are typically 6 to 9 millimetres long. Even though they’re referred to as “bugs”, they’re more closely related to biting midges and mosquitoes rather than other common bugs like grasshoppers or termites.
Lovebugs spend only a short period of their life cycles as flies and most of it as larvae. Female specimens can lay around 200 to 300 eggs and usually do it on the ground. However, the plants surrounding your home also form the perfect breeding and feeding grounds for them. The females can often lay their larvae in flower beds as well.
Lovebug Urban Legends
There’s an old wives’ tale about the lovebug. It’s said that they’re a synthetic insect that’s been a part of a failed experiment from the University of Florida to control mosquito populations. However, there’s no reliable proof to support this claim.
When Can We See Lovebugs?
Lovebugs can fly in swarms twice a year and can be seen twice a year – once in late spring (April and May) and again in late summer (August and September). Sometimes, a third occurrence can happen in December. Lovebug flights last about 4 to 5 weeks. If you happen to walk nearby after their mating, you will see swarms of romantically intertwined two-headed bugs.
Natural Pest Control
The lovebug migration, like any other, is a significant cause for concern. However, they also have a natural enemy in the natural course of things. The relocation of a new specimen to another place is usually excessive and, in many cases, causes devastation.
Lovebug flights were large in numbers when they were first described in the 1940s, but not so much nowadays. Currently, their biggest predator is thought to be fungi. However, they’re also a food source for birds, such as quails and robins, spiders and centipedes.
How to Get Rid of Lovebugs
Lovebugs don’t bite or sting humans. However, they cause harm in other ways. These insects tend to be drawn to highways, and they’re a big nuisance to drivers because they often get splattered on the windshields of passing vehicles. Besides that, they can cause damage to a car’s engine. They can enter the radiator and clog the vehicle parts. In extreme cases, they can coat the car’s grill to disrupt the engine’s airflow and cause the car to overheat.
Besides that, lovebugs often invade areas with excessive moisture. They can easily make their way into dark, humid areas such as basements, attics, and storage rooms. Since these humid areas have the potential to grow plants, they create an environment for lovebugs to breed. Luckily, lovebugs pose no harm to pets.
If you have a fan, specifically a ceiling fan, it’ll be a lot easier to chase them out of your house or prevent them from getting inside in the first place. If this method doesn’t work, try these alternatives:
- Light mosquito candles. Most mosquito repellents and incenses also drive lovebugs away.
- This is the easiest way to get rid of them. Suck them in with a vacuum cleaner. If you have a small hand-held vacuum, it should do a perfect job.
- Mow your lawn. If you live in a house with a front or back yard, keep the lawn mowed. If you miss doing that, it’ll be the perfect place for lovebugs to hide and breed their larvae. Don’t also forget frequently to check your flower beds for larvae.
- Don’t swat at them. Unlike regular houseflies, lovebugs leave a big mess because of the high acidity of their bodies. Try to stay calm and don’t immediately get alarmed when you see them.
- Make sure your house doesn’t have standing water. Be aware of your home’s humidity to protect it before it gets infested.
- Try natural sprays with essential oils to repel lovebugs from your space. It’s a safe, simple and often effective approach to eliminate them.
How to Get Rid of Lovebugs On Your Car
Because of lovebugs’ acidic bodies, it may be tough to clean up their remains if they hit your vehicle’s windshield. They can remain there for a long time. This can damage your car’s paint, especially when they’re already dead. If their corpses spend hours in the sun, their acidity can increase. The following steps can help you resolve this problem:
- Soak the spot on your car with water.
- Scrub it with a paper sheet.
- Wax your car.
There are car waxes that make splattered insect stains easier to clean. Alternatively, you can use a transparent cooking spray on the windshield to achieve the same effect.
Whether lovebugs are an experiment gone wrong or just an annoying invasive species, they’re a pest that lives up to their name and creates an unpleasant mess. It’s good to know that if you’re dealing with a lovebug infestation, the female specimens only live from 3 to 6 days. The infestation will most likely die away naturally.