The twice-yearly invasion of lovebugs is a long-standing urban legend, something of a rite of passage for new residents and tourists to the Sunshine State. These noxious bugs emerge in the spring and fall, breed, and then vanish as fast as they appeared. Their origins are legends, and their purpose is hotly questioned. Here are some facts to help dispel typical lovebug beliefs once and for all and for those that want to know what love bugs are.
Myth: They were created due to an experiment and escaped from the University of Florida's lab.
Fact: Along the Gulf of Mexico, lovebugs naturally moved into Florida. They were initially discovered in southeastern Texas in 1940 and quickly spread across the Gulf Coast.
Myth: They're exclusively found in the state of Florida.
FACT: Lovebugs can be found in the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. They've made their way into Georgia and South Carolina as well.
Myth: According to legend, they were bred to eat mosquitoes.
Fact: They were not created as a result of some sort of experiment. They also do not eat mosquitoes. Mature lovebugs don't consume at all (which is strange in and of itself), while larval lovebugs feed on decaying plant materials.
FACT: Their blood is corrosive, according to legend.
While you shouldn't leave love bugs splattered on your car, their blood isn't what eats the paint. The damage is caused by the sun and Florida heat reacting with bacteria that arise during decomposition. So, as quickly as possible, wash the bugs off your car.
Myth: They take in carbon monoxide through their lungs.
NO, NO, NO, and NO The fact that lovebugs tend to swarm the highways gave rise to this notion. This is due to their attraction to the heat and fumes produced by exhaust and motors. During lovebug season, many people who travel frequently install retractable nets over the front ends of their automobiles to make cleanup easier. The thick accumulation can even cause cars to overheat when the swarms are very severe.
MYTH: They have no natural predators, according to myth.
FACT: Lovebug remains have been discovered in birds' stomachs, and praying mantis will consume almost any insect. There's nothing to keep other insects, lizards, or birds from eating lovebugs. The only other predator to love bugs, is the services from a pest control company. Even with the services of a pest control company, they will by no means protect that car of yours finish.