Lovebugs (plecia nearctica) invade Florida twice a year.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
TAMPA - It is that time of year again. The end of summer marks kids back to school, a little cooler weather, less rain, and the fall arrival of the dreaded lovebug.
As you smash through them in your car, here are some interesting tidbits.
The lovebug's official name is Plecia nearctica.
It is also called the kissing bug, the honeymoon fly, or the double-headed bug.
Lovebugs were first seen in 1940 by D.E. Hardy from Galveston, TX. Most reported incidence of lovebugs were in Texas and Louisiana. But by the end of the 20th century they had spread to all of the areas of the Gulf Coast, Georgia and South Carolina. They have been reported as far north as Wilmington, North Carolina.
The Lovebug larvae begin life in damp vegetation and thatch. They live there until they mature which can be up to a year. They feed on decaying vegetable matter. As adults they feed exclusively on nectar.
Mating begins almost as soon as the females emerge. Females live for up to 4 days while males live a little bit longer.
But they will leave a lasting impression on your vehicle if you leave them on after you drive through them.
Because of the lovebugs' acidic body chemistry, in two hours after impact to your vehicle, damage can occur. If left on a car for longer than a day, pitting and etching can occur on paint and chrome.
Where did they come from?
We know for sure they did not come from a University of Florida or University of Texas genetics experiment gone wrong. The biggest urban legend about lovebugs is that they were created to attempt to control mosquito population. Not true.
They are native to Central America. They probably arrived in Galveston or New Orleans around 1920, then migrated to Florida in 1947.
Needless to say, they are here to stay. So get your car washing equipment ready to go.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Emergency officials in Pinellas County are working a multiple stabbing incident at a pub in Indian Rocks Beach.