The Love Bugs Are Back!

The southern states are home to all sorts of pesky creatures, cockroaches, ants, and general insectoid and buggy critters. But there is one in particular that causes southern drivers to curse, rant, and commit mass murder: the dreaded love bug!

Twice a year, in May and September, the love bugs take to skies in swarms to meet, greet, fornicate, and perpetuate their pesky lineage. Small flies with black bodies and wings and an orange spot just behind the head, the scientific name is Plecia Nearctica. In south Alabama, they are simply known as the *#&$ love bugs, so called because when they emerge in flight, you rarely see one without another attached in tandem to the backside. While one is always flying forward, the other is a helpless hanger-on doomed to see the world in backward motion and pray the one in charge knows what it is doing.

The reason southern drivers despise these bugs is not because they bite, sting or crawl into orifices like some of our pest imports from Central America. Love bugs travel in pairs, fly low, and are slow moving due to the extra passenger in the back. Windshields, car bumpers, front grills, and every other exposed part of a moving vehicle are soon coated in a lovely science experiment display of carcasses. And love bug innards ain’t easy to get rid of!

Car owners have resorted to myriads of urban legend solutions to the problem of removing love bug from a paint job. Extra strength bug remover cleansers, specialized squeegees, ultra-protection waxes, and even daily dousing with baby oil have all been tried at one time or another. You can usually tell how long someone has been living in the south by the condition of their cars during love bug season. Old timers know the only solution is to wait until they disappear again and then spend a weekend washing the car. New comers are in their front yards every other evening with buckets, sponges and a box full of spray products. You also know when your neighbor or best friend slipped off to the Florida beaches without telling you. The number of miles you have traveled can be derived by applying mathematical algorithms to the number of love bugs in your front grill. And motorcycle riders, as you can imagine, suffer their own brand of hell during love bug outbreaks, especially as the pests tend to swarm at intersections and gas station parking lots.

One day some scientist backed by federal tax dollars will discover that the number of love bug offspring has risen in direct correlation with the rise in the number of cars on the road. Despite the automobile’s attempt at mass genocide, the swarms have appeared to get thicker with each emergence in the last few years. They are also continuing to slowly make their way northward, with love bugs being spotted as far north as Wilmington, NC. So Yankees beware; the love bugs are on the move.

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