Plecia Nearctica localized can number in the hundreds of thousands. The slow drifting insects occur twice a year and I hear everyone asking – ‘Why didn’t Harvey drown the Lovebugs ?”
To be honest, I didn’t think much more than a smile every time I heard or read that statement ‘on the line’ or on The Facebook. But today, I changed my mind as I was greeted with a thick swarm of the tiny beast with two tiny red heads seemingly swiming through the air in opposing directions.
So you know me… I set out to find the answer to why didn’t they drown. If only for a bit of a distraction before I cleaned the dead ones out of my car and around the doors of my home.
Lovebugs, also known as the honeymoon fly, a double-headed bug or in my family Anna-bugs (because she hates them so much), are actually helpful. What, ARE ACTUALLY HELPFUL? Really? Okay how so? I read that the larvae feed on partially decayed vegetation in the landscape and therefore are beneficial to humans. Not to automobiles… just to humans. (Side question – why would you ride a motorcycle during this time of year?) Fact, the species’ reputation is that of a nuisance (duh), but not because of any bite or sting, but because of it’s slightly acidic body chemistry that can exist in enormous (LIKE EMORMOUS) numbers near highways which cause their death in large numbers on the windshields, hoods and grills of our cars and trucks. In the past, if their remains are left on the car for just 24 hours their normally neutral pH would become acidic and damage the paint. However, advances in paints and protective coatings have reduced their effect of damage on our paint jobs significantly. Also, have you noticed how bad they smell once smashed on said cars or trucks, I think that is also because of that acidic pH.
They are attracted to light-colored surfaces (like the white door of the house I was showing today, or my friends white SUV and maybe the white lines in the shirt I worn when I felt like a Lovebug fly trap) where the adult congregate almost anywhere there is reflective sunlight. I think they like the warmth of the road surfaces too, but that is just me.
The most interesting fact I discovered was that the first Lovebugs were found in Galveston, Tx in the 1940’s and have since traveled all along the Gulf Coast region. Even with that being said, I still love Galveston.
Okay, but why, just WHY are they still here and around after 5 days of rain? Well, it seems these bugs which have 2 flights each year (one of those periods being now) and the total yearly life span of a lovebug is 4-5 months, with is amazing if you think about the life span of a typically Lovebug is only 4-6 days. One female, just one lady lovebug, can lay as many as 100-350 eggs and it must be in moist ground around decaying material. Lovebug eggs take 2-4 days to hatch after which the larvae will start to feed on the decaying material they were born around and live, remaining in the soil developing into the pupa stage; this is normally unseen by humans. The larva can remain in the larvae phase for approximately 120 days and if cool enough 240 days. Larva stay in the Papa stage for 7-9 days before becoming an adult. Males will emerge first followed by the females. Thus, explaining the abundance of them this year – moist ground – yep, we have had that and they all remained in the soil as larvae unseen by us during Harvey. They all seemed to come out at once and now we are all witness to the activity by which they get their name.
Their pairing up will last up to 12 hours (12 HOURS) with the female laying her eggs 2-3 days later and directly followed by her death. The average love bug life span is 3-4 days.
Of course, many die early as they find themselves in the direct path of my Besty girl headed north or south at 75 mph.
Can you imagine how many there would be if it where not for our cars and trucks? My head wants to spin at that thought.
Okay I was wondering – and I thought I would share. Just so you know, if I schedule an appointment to show your home or listing – I will do my BEST to get in and out with clients without letting an army of the unloved Lovebugs in your home – they are a pest.
One last thought on these creatures, I have noticed that if you are stopped at a red light and you see a single female (they are the larger ones) land on your windshield, it is highly likely that before you get a green light, she will find a mate. Then the interesting part is that she with remained focused as your increase your speed to 40 miles per hour hanging on withstanding the force of the wind. HOWEVER, the male with be attached to her and flapping in the wind – I observed the a few times this week on FM 1097. The poor male was a shell of a bug by the time I reached the office. It was amusing… I will just end this here.
Remember, I’ll get you Home, and I’ll get as many of the bugs on the road as I can – even if it means 2 trips to the car wash a week.
Author:Kelly Lawson Phone: 936-525-9589 Dated: September 14th 2017 Views: 229 About Kelly: My passion is to get you home. It’s that simple. The process is not always that simple, but it’s...
Hurricane Harvey continues to keep people out of their homes. Experts
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