Forget Valentine’s Day in February. Every true Floridian knows that the real season of love starts in April-May and returns again mid–September.
That’s right: We’re talking Love Bugs.
All across the state, people bond over a shared nuisance: little black and red bugs that stick themselves to car windshields, fly in our mouths, and apparently even lock people out of their homes.
To help you mentally prepare for the (let’s just say it — the worst) season, here are a few fast facts and tips about the insect we all love to hate.
🐞 Breaking the myth.
They were not created by the University of Florida to eat mosquitos. The species actually flew into Texas from Central America, migrated east, and finally made themselves at home in our neck of the woods.
🐞 What’s that on my windshield?
Love Bugs are strangely attracted to vehicle fumes and hot asphalt. Experts also say they thrive in cow waste and freshly cut grass. Pro tip: Download the “That Gunk on Your Car” app to help identify the bug guts on your windshield.
For effective cleaning, use hot soapy water right away to prevent chipped automobile paint — their bodies are slightly acidic.
🐞 How bad will this season be?
It’s too soon to tell, but the weather can have a large impact on how bad the season will be. Colonies thrive when the temperature is slightly warmer and drier. In the 1960s and 1970s, populations were so dense that it became too dangerous to drive during the day.
🐞 Do these things have any good qualities?
They are a vital part of the ecosystem. Love Bugs feed on decaying matter and return organic material to the soil.