As Central Florida residents, there are a few things we grow accustomed to and familiar with: alligators, I-4 construction, and hurricane preparedness. But the one phenomenon we can’t seem to get a handle on are lovebugs, also known as march flies (plecia neartica). Let’s take a look at what’s folklore and what’s true about these harmless, yet annoying pests.
Fact or Fiction: This is the worst lovebug season yet!
Fiction. Our windshields are well covered with bug guts. But it was nowhere nearly as bad as what drivers had to deal with in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Florida drivers would have to pull off the road every 10 miles or so to clean the bugs off just so they could continue their journey. Children would even forgo lemonade stands to offer bug cleaning services.
Fact or Fiction: University of Florida scientists created lovebugs to eat mosquitos.
Fiction. These lovers found their way to Florida in the mid 1900s, all the way from Central America to Texas, flying east to find the perfect climate. Florida cattle manure and cut grass are two of their favorite places to hang out.
Fact or Fiction: Lovebugs serve no purpose in the circle of life.
Fiction. The slightly acidic bugs feed on decaying matter and help return organic material into the soil, so they’re not completely worthless! They do important work in nature.
Fact or Fiction: Lovebugs can damage your car.
Fact. Besides from ruining a perfectly good paint job, if enough bugs gather in your radiator they can restrict airflow and cause your engine to run hotter than normal. The best way to clean them out of your radiator is with a water hose and wash brush.
Fact or Fiction: A damp dryer sheet helps clean lovebugs off your car.
Fact-ish. The latest craze is using dryer sheets to get those guts off. However, it’s really messy and not for the faint of heart. We recommend researching cleaners that are specifically designed to remove smashed bugs and other critters from the front of your car. And be sure to do your best to remove them within about 48 hours. It always helps to get your car waxed a couple times a year, creating a barrier between the exterior and all those winged road warriors.
We hope we've cleared up some myths about these little affectionate guys and gals. If you think they've damaged more than just the exterior of your vehicle, make an appointment with us and we'll get it checked out! Give us a call at 407-322-8415.