What are love bugs?
Well, it seems that everyone is stumped when people ask what lovebugs are. Lovebugs are small, winged beetles found in the southeastern region of the United States. They are known as March Flies because they appear around the beginning of March and sometimes lasting until May.
You may wonder why these little creatures have earned the name “love bug.” Well, they do not have anything to do with love at all. These insects are named after the fact that they mate en masse during their mating season, which lasts for about 2-3 weeks, then die off shortly after mating.
The males fly around searching for a female to mate with; once they find one another, they will pair up and fly together. They make a buzzing noise as they fly around. The two insects will come together wing to wing, belly to belly, and mate while flying in the air. This die-off is the reason they are called love bugs because of their association with romantic love.
These tiny creatures have been known throughout history since the early 1800s but were not officially classified until 1955 by Dr. Glover Allen, a professor at Harvard University. There are over a thousand different types of flies that can be found throughout the world. So far, scientists have identified about 100 species of March flies in the United States alone! Some have even been found on other continents such as Asia, Europe, Australia, and Africa. Scientists have not yet figured out what exactly distinguishes a March fly from a regular old housefly which usually lasts all year round.
How do they look?
March flies are smaller than your average insect. They can grow up to be as long as 3/8 of an inch, and their wingspan is about 1/2 of an inch. These insects are also known for being different colors such as brown, red or yellow.
The shapes vary as well depending on the species, but most appear in shades of grey or black with spots or stripes that resemble lightning strikes down their backs and sides. They also have two distinct behinds! Yes, I said two. March Flies have two back ends instead of one, and both look like little pincher bugs; one is to help them mate while the other is used to help them reproduce.
March Flies have a claw-shaped organ on their rear end that holds onto the female while mating. Their legs also have claws instead of regular little hairs, and these too are used to grasp onto one’s partner during sex.
How long do they live?
March flies live depending on soil and species, which takes months or even years. From egg to adult, it takes about two months for March fly larvae to hatch into an adult and grow wings, whereas other species can take up to two years!
What makes them go out?
When love bugs are present, they will be seen anywhere from bushes and trees to houses and buildings, usually around lights. This is because, unlike most insects, they don’t actually see the light as a source of danger but instead as a way to find their mating partner! So if you happen to turn your porch light on and suddenly notice several dead love bugs all over your face or front doorstep, it’s probably because those little fellas got confused by your bright idea!
Are they pests?
Love bugs have been known for being pests that many people have considered when naming these creatures. In some places such as Japan, where you can find up to fifteen different types of March flies, these “love bugs” have been seen as a large pest because of their tendency to swerve around vehicles and crash right into the side of them, causing damage. At least one reported case in which a tractor-trailer was totaled after hitting a swarm of love bugs!
These insects have also been known to ruin the exteriors of cars by leaving behind what is called love bug bodies, and these bodies can cause permanent scratches on paint if not taken care of within 24 hours.
Traffic is another reason they’re considered pests. For example, in Tampa, Florida, March flies were so problematic during mating season that they caused problems with traffic due to having to close down roads and highways late at night when they would be most active. The last reason they are notably pests is that along with the mating season comes the maggots. These fat disgusting larvae that love to eat away at dead flesh can also be a nuisance.
How to Get Rid of Love Bugs?
Of course, if there is warm weather with moist conditions outside (and even indoors), now is the time when you should be on the watch for any swarms that may come about. The larvae will continue to develop and grow into adult March fly stages if the conditions are right, which means they’ll be around for a few months until the humidity levels drop or it gets cold outside.
You can now inspect your home for moist areas where these pests might breed, concentrate and spread since this is how you will notice their presence first. Having an exterminator spray pesticides from a truck-mounted device would be ideal because the PMP would have access to all possible breeding sites and surrounding areas as well as periodically inspecting them monthly throughout the year should be done just in case new March flies begin appearing out of no-where.
Once you bring in a professional pest control operator, ask how often they would be coming out to your home to spray for March flies, how they would treat the exterior of your property if it is getting infested and how close they will get to areas where you store or keep things that are sensitive to toxic chemicals.
If the weather gets warmer outside in the next few months with higher humidity levels, you should be extra cautious about how often you see these bugs flying around in your vicinity. Since they are attracted to moist areas, places like sewers, garbage piles, drains, or anywhere else where there’s a lot of moisture present is where you may start noticing them most in numbers.
If they are flying around outside in large swarms at any time after spring has sprung, conditions are just right for them to breed and grow into adult March fly stages that will be there all through the summer months. It would be best if you kept an eye out for them in outdoor locations where water is still present, damp grassy areas, and places like trees, bushes, and other plants near your home, which can hold a lot of moisture throughout the year.
If you notice any nests or breeding grounds around your home, ask how often it would cost to treat these areas with a professional pest control operator. If they are left untreated, the problem will only worsen over time. They may not seem like much since their bodies are so small, but if you see large black patches on your window sill or the floor inside your house, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t contact an exterminator to inspect the areas and potentially spray them down with pesticides.
The adult March fly stage doesn’t look like any other bug that you might be familiar with because they are brown, slightly transparent, and have clear wings that lay flat over their body, unlike wasps or bees that hold their wings up vertically when resting.
Benefits of the Love Bug?
Love bugs have been known as pests as well as an annoyance for many people, but there is one benefit from their yearly visit, and it has nothing to do with reproduction or weather patterns. As annoying as they are, love bugs actually eat up tons of insects that damage forests like snails, caterpillars, and even termites! This might explain why birds freak out during mating season because having less competition for food is something to get excited about!