Patricia M. Arledge, Sharpe, Kenneth W. | 11/5/2013 2:28:14 AM
News Article for September 9, 2013:
Love bugs seem to make their presence known every Labor Day. They have not become real bad yet but I have managed to swallow a few while trying to cut my lawn.
There are two generations of love bugs each year, one in the spring usually around March and the other about September. Each female can lay more than 300 eggs and the love bugs we are seeing now are the ones that were laid in the spring earlier this year.
The eggs are deposited in high organic matter areas with lots of vegetation. One of the most popular places for them to lay eggs is in the median of the interstate and along roads where there is a huge thatch layer of decaying grass from mowing. Those eggs will hatch and the larvae will feed on the organic matter and perform a beneficial function of breaking down the vegetation and releasing the nutrients to build up the soil.
Love bugs are attracted to heat. That would also help to explain why so many of them find their way to the interstate and highways. You will also note that their swarms will grow as the day heats up. They also will swarm a warm car after you park it, but do not seem to bother a cool car. I have attracted quite a cloud of love bugs as I cut the grass and they follow the lawnmower around the yard. I also see a lot of them congregating around outside drink machines and water fountains, not because they are thirsty but they once again are attracted to the heat being emitted.
There also seems to be a greater attraction to the color white than darker colors. In my younger years I spent a very frustrating Labor Day weekend trying to paint the outside trim of my house white. Through sheer perseverance I was able to accomplish the project but found that I had to start very early in the morning and still some of the job became a poke a dot pattern of white with black on top. I would avoid painting outside for a few weeks.
Another drawback to love bugs is the mess that they make on the front of the vehicles. Their bodies splattered all over the front of the car are more than an annoyance. The remains of the splattered bugs is very acid and can remove the paint if left on the vehicle. You should remove the splattered bugs daily to avoid paint damage and remember to rinse off the radiator if you encounter heavy populations as they clog the radiator and can make the engine run hot.