Every area of the world has some species that is peculiar to that region. In Nashville we had the 7 year cicada, which made the wooded areas (and there are a surprisingly large number of wooded areas there) ring with a buzzing sound that would go on 24/7 until they died off. It was just a few months before we moved to Columbia that we encountered the “Love Bug”. Actually, it would be more accurate to suggest that they encountered us….by the hundreds on the front of my car.
Being the curious sort, I placed a call to a professor of biology, someone who studies these things. He summed up their existence like this,
“They’re just a nuisance”
No kidding doc….
It’s scientific name is Plecia nearctica and was first identified by scientists in southeast Texas in the early 1940’s, and has spread over the years to the gulf coast states as far north as South Carolina. I have only noticed them in our area during September, but there are other areas where they do their thing in May as well. As for most creatures great and small, they do have a benefit to our environment, but usually long before we see them.
The females lay their eggs in decaying soil, grass, and after they hatch, the larvae begin munching down on the matter which is beneficial to the ecosystem. It’s when they become adults that the fun begins for them (literally), and for us (well…not so much). The male develop faster and will start hovering around until the females being showing up (sound familar). They begin linking up with the females and will stay attached for up to two to three days until fertilization is complete. Of course during this frenzy of looking for love and hooking up, the males seems totally oblivious to anything else around it (sound familiar), which of course, includes oncoming traffic.
After this two to three day extravaganza, the female will find decaying matter in which to lay the eggs after which she goes off to die, probably of exhaustion, and the male has expired already, probably from exhaustion. This whole dance will last 3-5 days unless they have found their untimely end on the front of my car. Which causes problems of their own.
You see after the love bugs die, their remains become highly acidic, which is why complaints come about what they can do to a paint job. The damage isn’t quite as bad with advances made in car paint, but that is not always the case. There are more than several remedies you can find on the internet, so choose wisely, or better yet, talk to your auto body specialist.
The good news in all of this, is that it only lasts 3-5 weeks, depending on where you live. The highly wooded areas seem to be much worse, but I know they have been around a couple of weeks already, hopefully we’ll see the last of them soon.