5 ways to beat the love bug blues

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May 14, 2024

A pair of love bugs, awwww. Photo: Chase D'animulls/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A pair of love bugs, awwww. PHOTO: CHASE D’ANIMULLS/ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

It’s May, and love is still in the air in Florida. That’s because love bugs (Plecia nearctica) have made their grand entrance once again in the Sunshine State! They are also found throughout the southern U.S., with reports from Louisiana and Texas to Georgia and South Carolina.

As we gear up for warmer weather, these notorious insects are back in full force, swarming the skies and leaving their mark on cars and homes.

Did you know that love bugs emerge in Florida during two seasons: late spring (which we’re currently experiencing) and late summer? These small black flies with red markings on their backs might look harmless, but when they swarm, they can cover every inch of vehicles or structures.

Despite their short lifespan of only two to three days, these little guys can make quite a mess during their two-to-four-week season.

Why are they called love bugs?

You might have noticed that love bugs have a romantic lifestyle. During mating season, which happens twice a year, you can often spot two love bugs flying around, er, “attached” to each other. This can last up to two days, after which the female detaches to lay her eggs before dying.

Their presence might be annoying, but remember that love bugs do play an important role in the environment. They aid in nutrient recycling and soil enrichment by contributing to the decomposition of organic matter as larvae. So, the next time you see a love bug, remember that they’re not just pests, they’re also doing their part for the ecosystem.

How can PMPs help their customers?

Love bugs’ short lifespan means that standard flying insect treatments aren’t really worth the hassle, as they’ll stop being pests within a matter of days. Our team at Greenhouse Termite and Pest Control are offering the following five tips to our customers. We’re sharing them here with our pest management professional (PMP) colleagues to ensure as many consumers as possible are getting advice from the pros, not from rumors or misinformation:

  1. Get ready to wash everything outdoors — like cars, boats and porches — more often than usual.
  2. Create a “home-brewed” love bug repellent with a 1:1 ratio of warm water and dish soap, and apply it as a  spray to areas where love bugs are most active outside your home.
  3. These pests like to be around decaying matter, so dispose of any organic waste and keep your outdoor spaces neat and tidy.
  4. When preparing your car for love bug season, consider waxing the exterior beforehand. A layer of wax creates a slick surface that makes it harder for love bugs to stick, simplifying cleanup when bugs do land.
  5. For removing love bugs, try using wet dryer sheets. Their sight abrasiveness and anti-static properties make them surprisingly effective at lifting bugs off your car without scratching the paint.

Are there tips that you have given your customers that we’ve missed? Sound off below or email pmpeditor@northcoastmedia.net.

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About the Author

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Cassie Arriel is the Marketing Coordinator at Greenhouse Termite and Pest Control.

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