Love Bugs all hooked up. Female on right. © Clint Norwood
What The Heck Are They?The Love Bugs scientific name is Plecia nearctica. It is a type of March Fly or Honeymoon Fly. It is also sometimes called the Telephone Bug or The United Bug. It does not sting or bite nor is it poisonous. In fact the adults don't eat at all.
Where The Heck Did They Come From?Scientist believe they originally came to the United States in the 1920s, through Texas or New Orleans probably on a ship that originated in Central America which is their original home. They now live all along the Gulf Coast and as far north as South Carolina.
Female Love Bug © Clint Norwood
No. I Mean Where Do They Come From, They Seem To Just Appear Out Of Nowhere.The Love Bug larvae live in the soil for the vast majority of their lives. They eat dead grass and other decomposing matter.
Twice a year they do a complete metamorphosis into their adult phase of which we are so familiar.
Love Bugs usually swarm in April-May and again in August-September, but they may be seen anytime during the warmer months.
Once they take on their adult form they only live for a couple of weeks maximum. The males usually die soon after mating and the females drag them around for a day or two before they deposit their eggs and then the females also die.
Love Bugs are most active between 10 Am and 6 PM as long as the temperature is 84°F or above. And they are attracted to the exhaust fumes from automobiles and trucks so they tend to swarm near roadways.
Anyone who has had to drive when swarms are active will know that the overwhelming amount of splattered bugs on windshields and radiators can cause big problems. The body fluids of Love Bugs also seems to have some property that eats paint.
About the only way to remove Love Bug paste is to wash it off as soon as possible. Once it's dried on it will take a lot of effort to remove.
Love Bug Larvae. Picture by James Castner, University of Florida.
There is a Urban Myth that Love Bugs originated in a Florida lab as a result of an experiment gone wrong. This is probably not true.
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