ORLANDO, Fla. —You are probably celebrating that lovebugs disappeared with the month of May. But don’t celebrate too long, they’re coming back! They represent no risk to human health whatsoever, but won’t take long to become a nuisance. The good news is that thankfully they are short-lived. May marks mating season for the nuisance bugs, and it lasts four weeks. Then, they do it again in September, essentially marking the coming of summer and the coming of fall. Lovebugs cannot hurt you, they do not bite or sting and they do not carry any diseases.
Their name comes as a description of their nature. An adult lovebug only lives for three to fours days, and those days are mostly filled with mating. That is the reason why you often see them stuck together.
After mating for two to three days, female loves bugs lay their eggs and die, according to the University of Florida. You will mostly see them between 10 in the morning and 6 in the afternoon, and they love temperatures above 84 degrees so we live in their ideal scenario.
Photo courtesy of weather.com
A rumor that the bugs were created by the University of Florida as an experiment to control mosquitoes has persisted for years, but debunked. Another misconception is that love bugs are acidic and that their guts will dissolve the paint on your car. This is not true either. Most of the “white splat” that you see is actually their eggs.
Love bugs don't even eat mosquitoes, they feed on nectar from flowers like other pollinators —which represents a real benefit for the environment as it is important to counteract our dislike for them. According to the Crowley Museum and Nature Center, lovebugs are an exotic and invasive species, coming from Central America that migrated into the United States in the 1920s and into Florida in the 1940s. One of the reasons for their successful reproduction is that not many predators are interested in eating them.
Lovebugs migrated to the U.S. from Central America in the 1920s and to Florida in the 1940s. They migrated through Texas and Louisiana before coming to Florida, and continue to expand so now can be found as far north as South Carolina.
The University of Florida says nothing gets rid of lovebugs for good, but there is one trick that can attract them away from your front door. Fill a white bucket or bowl with baby oil and water. Then watch as the lovebugs gather. This method will not get rid of lovebugs, but it will provide some temporary relief, as it will keep them away from the area around the bowl.
The Brevard County Agricultural Center, which is an extension of the University of Florida said that internet hacks are bogus. For example, they said that using citrus or minty smells to keep lovebugs away does not work. Using a wet dryer sheet on your car to get dead lovebugs off also does not work. Instead, they recommend to use a sponge with a mesh or net texture, liquid detergent, and some warm water. They, however, do not recommend to leave the dead bugs stick to your car for too long.