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Love Bugs

Discussion in 'Florida' started by APA#1, May 14, 2019.

  1. APA#1

    APA#1 Formula Junior
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    Nov 5, 2003
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    Have you been driving your exotic due to all the love bugs around in the last few weeks? Seems in Central Fl we are having an overabundance of these bi-annual b#$%rds this month.
     
  2. PGI

    PGI Rookie

    Oct 24, 2017
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    Ken
    After a 1/2 hour drive, a swarm followed me home. I stopped the car and they engulfed the vehicle, the garage, and the front of my house
     
  3. BartonWorkman

    BartonWorkman F1 Veteran
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    Only see a few love bugs in Miami as the phenomenon is more of a Central Florida thing.

    Have seen some vehicles that obviously drove through Central Florida though and they were plastered
    with love bugs. Other than being a pain in the ass, love bugs are harmless but they do cause damage to
    paint if their guts are left on the finish to dry for too long. There is a toxin in their guts that eats through
    paint eventually.

    Love bugs first became a thing back in the 70s. The rumor was that they were created in a lab to
    help control the mosquito population. Some had escaped the lab and they reproduced at a rapid
    rate. It used to be that tens of millions of them would swarm areas. They're attracted to the smell
    of gasoline and white colors so they're common along the roadways and in shopping center parking
    lots.

    If hanging any white items outside to dry, you may guarantee the item(s) will be covered in love bugs
    like a blanket in no time. Likewise, if you sit on love bugs, their guts will stain clothes.

    In those days, they'd be so many of them in shopping center parking lots, you'd literally be stepping
    on them and they'd crunch under your feet.

    For cars, a big selling thing were screens that hooked on through the wheel arches, ugly but effective.
    Someone got smart and sprayed Pam on their car and evidently that is effective in making the love bugs
    slide off at speed and somewhat protects the finish.

    BHW
     
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  4. Shamile

    Shamile F1 Veteran

    Dec 31, 2002
    6,156
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    I live in central Florida and I swear, it's insane this year. I've never seen so many love bugs in a season and I've lived in Florida for over 20 years.

    My Murcielago Roadster got plastered on Sunday on the way to a car show. I then got into heavy rain with the top off....all of a sudden, lovebugs were the least of my problems lol

    Shamile

    Freeze....Miami Vice!

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  5. tonyswfla

    tonyswfla Formula Junior

    Dec 2, 2007
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    state of mind
    its all over the state
     
  6. kenneyd

    kenneyd Formula Junior
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    They are not too bad up in NE florida. On my 25mi commute I get about ~10-20 hits. I just clean them off as soon as i get home. I have seen a few cars completely covered!
    I do tend to not drive the F cars this time of year until its done
     
  7. JAM1

    JAM1 F1 Rookie
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    Oct 22, 2004
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    They're back and bad in Tampa too. This is taken from an article with some facts about these little bastards:


    Dreaded lovebugs are back, swarming cars. What you should know about the invasive species

    Jim Waymer, Florida Published 7:01 a.m. ET May 7, 2019 | Updated 12:13 p.m. ET May 7, 2019

    MELBOURNE, Fla. – No, they aren't some genetic experiment gone wrong, just the usual swarm that splatters its way through the Space Coast twice a year.

    They don't belong. But they aren't going away.

    Lovebugs live just three or four days, packing plenty of annoyance into short lifespans. They madden motorists as they splatter their guts on windshields and hoods.

    They gross out joggers and cyclists as they land in their mouths. And they stress out the chronically clean as they speckle otherwise immaculate white walls of beachside resorts and condos almost completely black. Someone's got to clean them up.

    There's nothing illusory about their gooey impacts. But many myths persist about the lowly lovebug: Do they bite or spread disease? How did they get here? Are the white splotches they leave behind acidic?

    Norman Leppla, an entomologist at the University of Florida, has spent years debunking the multitude of lovebug myths in his presentations for UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

    For starters, he says, lovebugs weren't genetically modified and then released by UF scientists as a way to rid the state of mosquitoes, Leppla assures. They don't even eat mosquitoes.

    They are an invasive species, however. They emigrated into Texas and Louisiana from Central America in the 1920s, Leppla says. They didn't show up in Florida until the 1940s, and Brevard until the 1970s, when they were much worse than now. Their spread in Florida might have been helped along by prevailing winds, vehicle traffic, sod transport, expansion of pastures and increased habitat along highways, UF researchers suspect.

    "They came to Florida just after World War II, we think pretty much by themselves, across the Yucatan," Leppla says in an IFAS educational video about the bug. "And they radiated across to Florida, and we had a lot more of them then than we do now."

    They're always around, but the infamous lovebug "swarms" only happen for a few weeks a year, typically in May and September, entomologists say.

    Lovebugs are attracted to irradiated exhaust fumes from cars, lawnmowers and other engines, and to heat.

    Males swarm over places where they know females will soon emerge. The females fly into swarms of the hovering males, typically from 8 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 5 p.m. The timing can plaster lovebug carcasses all over cars as rush-hour traffic passes bug-packed Brazilian pepper trees and other roadside vegetation where the bugs live along interstates and major thoroughfares.

    Up to eight males compete for each female. The lovebug "flights" usually only happen during daylight and temperatures above 68 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, they rest on low-growing plants.

    Lovebugs don't sting or bite. They feed on plant nectar, especially sweet clover, goldenrod and Brazilian pepper.

    "Lovebugs have no risk to human health whatsoever," Leppla assures in the IFAS video. "They don't transmit diseases ... They couldn't bite you if they wanted to."

    The white splatter they leave on the cars is their eggs, Leppla says. "They aren't acid and they aren't basic. They're fairly neutral. So what causes the problem is leaving those on the car, until the sun and the heat, and perhaps microorganisms cause them to be damaging."

    Over several days, bacteria increases the acidity and etches the paint. So IFAS recommends soaking the surface with water for about five minutes, then scrubbing within 15 to 20 minutes to remove most of the lovebugs without harm to automobile paint.

    There really isn't any way to control lovebugs, scientists warn. Pesticides don't help. The bugs fly up into the breeze to avoid it. Few predators eat them.

    Biologists say that now that lovebugs are here, they do serve an important ecological role in Florida. Lovebug larvae convert plant material into organic components that growing plants recycle for food, according to a University of Florida report.

    Lovebugs add to the litany of Florida creatures that herald what's to come, biologist say.

    "They tell us when it's going to be summer," Leppla said. "They tell us when it's going to be fall, when they come out in September. So they're kind of an organism that brings in the seasons."
     
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  8. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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  9. BartonWorkman

    BartonWorkman F1 Veteran
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    Informative article.

    IIRC, love bugs are closely related to what we used to call blind mosquitoes. They look similar only love bugs
    are slightly longer with the tell tale orange spot on their backs.

    Growing up in Sebring, the love bugs drove my mother crazy. Our house was painted white and the love bugs
    would swarm all over the front patio area. We'd go out and empty cans of bug spray on them and then wash
    them down with a hose which left millions of the little buggers dead in the landscaping.

    This worked pretty good for about fifteen minutes until the next wave of love bugs would be right back again.

    You'd think that lizards, birds, bats, etc. would have a field day with love bugs but as the article states, they don't seem
    to have any natural predators so they thrive.

    The only thing you can do really is just wait it out as eventually they die or go away.

    BHW
     
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  10. HotShoe

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    My wife works up in Palm Beach and I noticed she had a bunch on the front of her car last night after getting home from work.

    I thought it was odd as I can't remember the last time I've seen them down here. I used to live in central Florida and I hated love bug season.
     
  11. mkraft3003

    mkraft3003 Karting

    Aug 20, 2016
    58
    Tampa, Fl
    They have been really bad in Tampa for the first couple of weeks but appear to be going away now. I have not been driving the 812 much until they are all gone.
     
  12. APA#1

    APA#1 Formula Junior
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    I ran the gas pressure washer the other day, I swear there were 10K of them around. Blew out the garage today and about 500 came out.
     
  13. Wade

    Wade Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Seems to be winding down. Now mostly the males who missed the party.
     
  14. phil the brit

    phil the brit Formula Junior
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    I go back to the UK during love bug seasons.
    You would think someone would invent a repellant. How does Disney keep them away?
     
  15. Rosso328

    Rosso328 F1 Veteran
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    Dec 11, 2006
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    Even lovebugs don’t dare cross The Mouse.
     
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  16. BartonWorkman

    BartonWorkman F1 Veteran
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    Obviously, if love bugs were a threat to agricultural interests, there would have been
    a repellant or some sort of sterilization process to curtail their populations years ago.

    Has there been an explanation as to why the love bug invasion has been larger this year
    (IE: colder winter, drier or wetter winter, etc?) than normal?

    Good question on Disney. Who's to say they don't have the same problem there? With
    tens of thousands of cars in their parking lot, that is an irresistible target for love bugs.
    Anyone in Orlando know?

    BHW
     
  17. Wade

    Wade Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Maybe Disney is able to use effective natural controls? In other words, minimize decaying vegetation that the larvae feed on while eliminating certain nectar-producing vegetation preferred by the adult Love Bugs (e.g. sweet clover, goldenrod, and Brazilian pepper).

    Also, I wonder if Disney introduces certain types of fungi as part of a bio-based pest management program.

    No, not staying at a Hampton Inn tonight. :D

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovebug
    http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/lovebug.htm
     
  18. Fireman1291

    Fireman1291 Formula Junior
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    They are about gone now...to answer your question I didn't drive much because it was in the shop getting red seatbelts but the trick is to drive early or late while it's cooler out. They don't fly much around the roads until the sun heats it up.
     
  19. APA#1

    APA#1 Formula Junior
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    Went to Celebration CC yesterday, there and back had about 100 plastered. Much better than last week though, went for a drive and had hundreds.
     
  20. GatorFL

    GatorFL Moderator
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    Nov 18, 2005
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    Had some friends at Disney last weekend and they were swarmed at 3 parks.
     
  21. phil the brit

    phil the brit Formula Junior
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    Interesting, I have a friend in marketing there, works interviewing customers. Says there is not one in the park. Didn't know how Disney did it though.
     
  22. GatorFL

    GatorFL Moderator
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    I don't have the video but they showed me the other night at dinner. Grandma was wearing a white shirt and they were all over her all day. The went from Magic Kingdom to Epcot to Animal Kingdom. It got to be pretty funny to watch. :D
     
  23. BartonWorkman

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    Spotted this Mercedes-Benz this morning on our walk in Miami.

    Obviously, it had been through quite a swarm. I haven't seen them like this since the '70s when
    their swarms could literally block out sunlight.

    Crazy!

    BHW

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  24. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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    Wow that is the worst I've ever seen. And on a black paint car no less. lol
     
  25. phil the brit

    phil the brit Formula Junior
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    Did they only get her between the parks or actually at the parks do you know?
     

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