(WTXL) - Floridians and lovebugs have a hate-hate affair that intensifies when the small black flies swarm along highways and inconsiderately splash their guts on their cars.
One of the main times for lovebugs to make themselves a major nuisance is approaching.
Scientists say that twice yearly the lovebugs reach the peak of their mating season - four weeks in September and May - although the insects are out and about throughout the summer.
Automobiles are attractive to lovebugs, scientists at the University of Florida Extension Service theorize, perhaps because the exhaust fumes seem to the bugs like decomposing plant debris. Then, too, the lovebugs like heat.
Thus the lovebugs and automobiles are primed for the bugs' fatal, messy collisions that can result in damage to automobile paint if the insects are "baked" in the sun.
After a lovebug-filled drive, of course, the solution to saving your car's paint is to wash your car with water and scrub it to remove the lovebugs.
Some people take a preventive step to spare their car damage from spattered lovebugs, the addition of a hood air deflector or screen. Wax can also provide protection.
Lovebugs, despite a popular belief, were not introduced to Florida by the University of Florida, say the University of Florida Extension scientists.
"During the 20th century, lovebugs migrated from Central America, traveling through Texas and Louisiana before arriving in Friday," the scientists wrote on their site.
A couple of other facts about lovebugs:
- Lovebugs are usually active between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in temperatures about 84 degrees.
- Chemical controls are ineffective because the lovebug is widespread and continually drifts onto highways from adjacent areas.
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