Summer Rains Mean Lovebugs Are In The Air

Dale K. Pollet, Blanchard, Tobie M.  |  9/13/2007 1:13:03 AM

News Release Distributed 09/12/07

Lovebug populations have been low over the past two years. These pests typically make appearances around May and September.

"We managed to miss a significant population in the spring, but we won’t escape them this month," said LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Dale Pollet.

"We’ve had all the rain we need, and there is a lot of moisture in some areas that encourage their emergence," Pollet said.

Lovebugs are a nuisance for motorists, but they do serve one beneficial purpose.

"They assist in the decomposition of grass and other debris along roadways," Pollet explained. "The larvae feed and develop on this material."

The entomologist says this beneficial action is dismissed once the adults emerge and hover around highways.

This insect is prevalent around roadways because they are attracted to heat and combustible gasses from vehicles, Pollet said. If you drive a light-colored vehicle, you are more likely to attract lovebugs because they are drawn to the reflected heat.

Pollet said this is not a good time to paint your house, "particularly if your color is white, yellow or light tan."

Lovebugs live for only a few days but emerge over an extended period, so the population will be around for several weeks.

"This time can be shortened if we are lucky enough to get a cool snap," Pollet said.

There are no good ways to control lovebugs – only clean up – and drivers are likely to find their car hoods and bumpers covered with these pests.

Pollet recommends wetting dirty areas and using a wet fabric softener sheet to get the bugs off.

"Some elbow grease will be required," he said.

Drivers shouldn’t neglect to clean under the hood either, Pollet said. Infestations can be dense enough to stop up the radiator vents and cause the vehicle to overheat.

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Contact: Dale Pollet at (225) 578-2370 or dpollet@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer: Tobie Blanchard at (225) 578-5649 or tblanchard@agcenter.lsu.edu

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