What do you do with lovebug guts?


wiseGEEK Writing Contest

Actually small flies, these sex-crazed insects, for the most part, live their short lives copulating and committing suicide upside a vehicle windshield.

Originally from Central America, most swarms of lovebugs now converge in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico including Florida, Louisiana and Texas with an occasional sighting in Georgia and South Carolina. They don’t bite, sting or carry diseases. As adults, they live to copulate. As larvae they live by eating dead plant matter. Fish have been seen spitting the bugs out and birds have been seen avoiding the pesky insects. That has lead even scientists to say that the bugs only known predator is the moving vehicle.

The adult lovebugs’ life span is only about three to four days – almost 13 hours of that spent mating. Once mated, the male and female split and are both able to mate with different partners which will take up another 12 to 13 hours of their life. However, the male bugs die after mating twice, and the females die after laying up to 300 eggs. Female bugs lay their eggs – anywhere from 100 to 350 – beneath decaying vegetation. The eggs only take two to four days to hatch. However, depending on the outside temperature, the larva can take anywhere from 120 days to 240 days before becoming adults.

The male larvae become adults quicker than the females. The male adults hover in a swarm over the females waiting for them to take flight. As the females fly up, the males grasp onto them. The pair fall to the ground where they couple. Initially the male is on the back of the female with both of the bugs facing the same direction. Afterwards, the male turns 180 degrees and faces the opposite direction. It is at that time, and the hours afterwards, that these coupling adult bugs splatter vehicle windshields and clog radiator grills. Their acidic, fatty guts have been known to pit paint jobs and to cause motors to overheat.

To prevent the bugs from splattering on your vehicle, go nocturnal and limit driving to night. The bugs rest in low vegetation during the dark hours, and swarm at peak times of daylight to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. until dusk. Try driving slower – it will reduce the number that go splat on the vehicle. To prepare for the bug guts, put a good Teflon finish or a layer of cooking spray on the vehicle. The cleaning job will be a little easier.

However, if it seems that an entire colony has performed mass suicide on the front of your vehicle, try the following home remedies: 1. Use warm water and a strong arm. 2. Rub the guts with wet dryer sheets to help remove. 3. At the first sighting, put a layer of a cooking spray such as Pam onto the exposed front end of the vehicle. 4. Use a mixture of Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo and water then scrub. You can also used a mixture of cola and water or white vinegar and water.

Bottom line, the fatty guts need to be removed before 48 hours in order to keep the acidic innards from ruing a vehicle’s paint job. I little warm water and “elbow grease” will go a long way in keeping your vehicle’s finish lovebug gut free.

submitted by Dori Claytor Holmes