Well, it is May, folks, and that means millions of sex-crazed, love-hungry and suicidal love bugs will be making that fatal splat on our windshields. It sounds like a scene out of a bad science fiction movie where perhaps a supersized love bug swoops down to consume earth, or maybe just the paint off of every car bumper on the planet but, no, this is just springtime in Florida.
If it is your first experience with love bugs and you are wondering if this is a fluke or maybe these flying bugs are just docile mosquitoes, you are not correct. Love bugs invade us each May and September and send us into heated overdrive to protect the paint on our automobiles. Car washes become little emergency rooms for our autos, washing these vapid creatures away before they devalue your auto quicker than a fender bender. This is not something you will hear about in a Chamber of Commerce ad but, nonetheless, a real part of life here in Florida.
So, where did they come from? Were they the creation of mad scientists in laboratories across the state, mostly thought to hail from the University of Florida as a way to eat mosquitoes? Though this old wives tale has lasted for generations and is good fodder for conversations with your neighbor, this theory has been debunked. They are thought to have made their way here via cargo ships that had traveled from Central and South America. Once the crates were opened, these pesky critters became our nemesis, much like the fruit canker that has severely affected local growers. Their amorous ways have proven to be helpful in keeping them around as twice a year they emerge, holding love fests near every paved area in Florida. Sometimes their swarms are so thick that you literally have to brush them off of your clothing, being careful to not inhale, lest they make their way into your nostrils. And, all the while, let’s not forget they are in full orgy mode. Okay, enough about that.
Do love bugs serve any purpose to our world? As it turns out, thank goodness, all of this havoc that they wreak is balanced with a useful contribution to nature. Similar to a maggot (and I know you’ve used that term to describe them), love bugs lay their eggs in the soil so that when the larvae appear, they consume the dead organic materials around them. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, they emerge from the soil every May and September. After they complete their act as nature’s garbage disposal, they are to mate, lay eggs and die, a pretty dismal existence by any person’s measure. They get distracted by exhaust fumes and hot roads, plus I imagine it is difficult to fly while having intercourse but that is just my speculation. Thousands have already faced an untimely demise on the vehicles in my driveway. The clock is ticking, as it is about 48 hours before their decaying bodies become like battery acid to the paint on the cars. Time to head to the car wash. We really hate you, love bugs.
Photos courtesy of sleepstwo.blogspot.com and Roque Pastorius FB page