Love Bug Season Hits Florida Again
Bugs Are A Nuisance And Danger To Vehicles
Each May and September, Floridians are reminded that living in the Sunshine State brings unique challenges and obstacles. Love bugs, those pesky insects that invade our home like clockwork, come out in droves during the late spring and early fall. While love bugs don’t bite humans and are generally docile creatures, their sting is felt by your vehicle’s paint job and your visibility through your windshield.
Love bugs, or the officially named Plecia nearctica, came to Florida from Central America via Louisiana in the 1940s. Rumors about the origin of love bugs abound, including the false belief that love bugs are the result of a botched science experiment conducted by the University of Florida, or that love bugs are genetically engineered insects created to control the mosquito population. In fact, love bugs do not eat other insects, instead feeding on various plants.
The fatty tissue left behind by love bugs will damage your paint job or windshield if left unattended. Soaking the area in water usually clears the remains off, but sometimes extensive cleaning is required. Some of the removal methods recommended by car care experts include washing your vehicle with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, mixing baking soda and water and applying to the love bugs, or spraying the bugs with WD-40 and wiping them away. A dryer sheet is also said to work well at removing the dead bugs. Applying a thin coat of baby oil to the hood and grill before love bug season starts will ease their removal at a later date.
Love bugs can also damage your vehicle if too many build up. Steve Torreigante, owner of Big Mechanic.Com located at 13721 21st St. in Dade City, has seen first-hand what a swarm of love bugs can do to a vehicle. “I’ve seen inoperable a/c systems over a clogged condenser, which is mounted in front of the radiator,” he said. Torreigante stresses the importance of clearing out any dead bugs, especially on long road trips. “They cannot be easily cleaned, as they cannot be blown from the inside-out due to accessibility,” he adds.
But Torreigante does have a fool-proof plan for those looking to avoid getting the pesky creatures on their car, and with a glimmer of humor.
“With all the home remedies, the best advice I have (from a 5th generation Floridian), is not drive in early May or mid-September,” he joked.