“LOVEBUGS”

The lovebug, Plecia nearctica, is a member of the family of march flies. It is also known as the honeymoon fly, kissingbug, or double-headed bug. The adult is a small, flying insect common to parts of Central America and the southeastern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast.   During and after mating, adult pairs remain coupled, even in flight, for up to several days.

File:Lovebug Plecia nearctica.jpg

File:Lovebugs.jpg

Localized lovebug flights can number in the hundreds of thousands. The slow, drifting movement of the insects is almost reminiscent of snow fall except that the flies also rise in the air. Two major flights occur each year, first in late spring, then again in late summer.  Mating takes place almost immediately after emergence of the females. Adult females live only three to four days, while males live a little longer.

Localized lovebug flights can number in the hundreds of thousands. The slow, drifting movement of the insects is almost reminiscent of snow fall except that the flies also rise in the air. Two major flights occur each year, first in late spring, then again in late summer.  Flights extend over periods of four to five weeks.  Mating takes place almost immediately after emergence of the females. Adult females live only three to four days, while males live a little longer.

Immature lovebugs larvae feed on partially decayed vegetation in the landscape and, in this respect, are beneficial. Adults feed only on nectar during this brief life stage.

While lovebugs are not a favored food of most insectivores due to their acidic taste, lovebug larvae—and some adults—are food for birds such as quail and robins. Arthropod predators include spiders, some predatory insects such as earwigs, at least two species of beetle larvae, and centipedes.

I have never found a good use for lovebugs, but if quail like them, I guess they have some use after all.  I love to hunt quail in South Texas, but I still don’t care for lovebugs.  My first experience with lovebugs was in Port Arthur.  They were also called telephone bugs because people on the Gulf Coast said they said “hello” and “hung up.”

Here in East Texas we experience the lovebug season twice each year when hundreds of thousands suddenly appear on the highways and commit suicide on our automobiles.  Sometime they are so thick they make it almost impossible to see through the windshield after their collision.  The front of our vehicles will get covered and if not removed by the next day the acid will damage the paint.  When they have been baked on by the sun and heat, they are very difficult to remove.  You don’t just collide with one lovebug…you hit them in pairs. You can buy bug removal products, but it still takes “elbow grease” to remove them.

When I am mowing the grass, I have learned to keep my mouth closed…they taste really, really, bad.  They also will get between my eyes and my glasses.

On one of our trips to Austin during the Longhorn baseball season, I went to the car wash near our hotel and the attendant asked if I had been in East Texas.  I don’t think Austin experiences the inconvenience of lovebugs and wondered how  he knew about them.  I told him I was from Jasper and found out he was the nephew of my attorney.  Small world.

I hate lovebugs and don’t look forward to their appearance each year, but I just make the best of it.  The cost of a car wash is a small price to pay to watch Longhorn baseball each spring.  My reasoning is that my Escalade needed washing anyway…and it usually does.

If you have never experienced these pests, I don’t recommend making the trip just to see them first hand.  Take my word for it and experience life without lovebugs.

*****

There are many things I don’t understand in life.  I don’t understand all  the ways of God.  He allows the difficulties in life as well as the good things.  There is one thing I do understand.  God is in charge of all things.  If we love Him, all things work for our benefit.  I am sure lovebugs teach me some lesson…maybe it’s patience.  Maybe He is only saying, “it’s time for a car wash.”  Maybe He wants me to take care of all He has provided for me and continues to do so.  All I really know is that I am truly blessed.

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One Response to ““LOVEBUGS””

  1. Edna N Ramirez Says:

    I always like to have a read about such things, my blog is related if you want to have a look round it please feel free. I have added yours to my bookmarks.

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