Happy swatting: Love bug season should be just as gross as last year

Protect your car, stay inside; love bugs are coming

Swarm of lovebugs, Plecia nearctica Hardy, on flowers. (Photo: James Castner, University of Florida)
Swarm of lovebugs, Plecia nearctica Hardy, on flowers. (Photo: James Castner, University of Florida)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Although Valentine's Day  has long passed, the true season of love is just around the corner here in Florida: love bug season.

The buggy time graces us twice a year, in May and September. It usually lasts about four weeks and can vary in intensity depending on the weather that precedes it. 

The weather between October and April can have a large impact on how bad the season will be. This is a vital time when they lay eggs and those eggs become larva down at the soil surface.

Any extreme weather could inhibit growth of the larvae during their “dormant” months. Larvae thrive when the weather is slightly warmer and drier than normal.

Unfortunately for the human population, this year looks to be just as bad as 2018. 

Looking back at fall 2018, winter 2019 and the early part of spring, warmer and drier weather has been common. Temperatures have hovered about 2 to 3 degrees above normal since October, with rain totals running about 2 to 3 inches below the average.

Love bugs are a non native species of insect that migrated to Central Florida in the 1940s. Although love bugs live in Florida year-round, they become their pesky hovering selves during their love making season in May and September.

So whether you’re ready or not, love bug season is approaching. The best form of defense? Avoid being outdoors between the hours of of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or when temperatures are above 84 degrees. Also, prepping and cleaning your car regularly throughout the season will help in the fight. There’s nothing a good car wash and wax can’t fix (at least when it comes to love bugs).

Happy swatting!

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