Rene Schmit | 10/11/2012 8:54:02 PM
One of the most annoying insect pests in Louisiana especially this time of the year is the Plecia neartica more commonly known as the love bug. These pesky insects don’t bite, sting or attack agronomic crops but once you get your vehicle on the road you become fair game! Love bugs are attracted to heat and use organic matter to feed on and lay their eggs. Decaying grass clippings along heat-retaining highways provides the perfect habitat for love bugs and contributes to the main reason why they seem congregated in direct path of your windshield. The larvae feed on decaying organic material, turning it into humas. Beyond that little can be said for the usefulness of these insects.
There are two generations of these pests each year with the first usually occurring in May and the second occurring, you guessed it, now in late August and early September. Fortunately, each generation lasts only about six weeks. Short of parking your car for six weeks, it is virtually impossible to avoid love bugs especially when populations are very high and active. The dryer and hotter the weather, the more love bugs to contend with.
The key to limiting the damage they do is to not speed up on the highway but rather to use speed in removing them. Some people have recommended spraying the front of your car with Pam, but that just makes a sticky mess. One of the best actions is to wet the area of the vehicle thoroughly, rub with a liquid concentrated soap and let stand for five minutes before washing off. Keep in mind that the digestive juices of the love bugs are acidic and will damage paint, even the best of clear coated finishes. The longer you wait to wash them off, the harder it becomes to remove them. And don’t forget to check your headlights. What’s generally on the windshield is on the headlights as well!
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture