Love Bugs: Herbie – good/Plecia nearctica – NOT GOOD!

Let me begin this post with a disclaimer:
I am blessed. I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I serve a righteous and merciful God. I enjoy good health, a great husband and kids, a wonderful circle of family and friends and am not in want of any material possessions. I choose to work as a painter because I love what I do, but the family finances do not depend on what I make from my “projects”. (And for that, I am VERY grateful!) Add to this bucket load of blessing, this blog has now been read on every continent around the world except Antarctica. An observation that is simultaneously humbling and completely baffling.
As an American citizen, I enjoy privileges and luxuries that I know I take for granted. I know that many brave men and women have sacrificed their very lives protecting the freedoms that so many of us take for granted; that people devote their entire lives in an effort to improve the lives of the communities and the country they live in by choosing to educate our children, defend the marginalized in society, fight injustices, and serve the public in numerous ways.
I will repeat my earlier statement: I have absolutely nothing to complain about. (I bet you know where this is going.) With all the real tragedy and heartache in the world, why would I waste a blog post writing about a little bug? (which technically really isn’t officially a bug.) Because I’m an American, and we like to complain about stuff. So please forgive me. I need to vent…

First, a little background courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia:

Upon reaching maturity the lovebug spends almost the entirety of its life copulating with its mate, hence its numerous romantic nicknames. The male and female attach themselves at the rear of the abdomen and remain that way at all times, even in flight. In fact, after mating, the male dies and is dragged around by the female until she lays her eggs. Females lay up to 350 eggs in debris, and about 20 days later the eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae may live for months before passing into adulthood.
Lovebug flights can number in the hundreds of thousands. The slow, drifting movement of the insects is almost reminiscent of snow fall. The flights occur twice each year, first in late spring, then again in late summer. The spring flight occurs during late April and May. The summer flight occurs during late August and September. Flights extend over periods of 4 to 5 weeks.
Its reputation as a public nuisance is due not to its bite or sting (as it is not capable of either), but to its slightly acidic body chemistry. Because airborne lovebugs can exist in enormous numbers near highways, they die en masse on automobile windshields, hoods, and radiator grills when the vehicles travel at high speeds. If left for more than an hour or two, the remains become dried and extremely difficult to remove. In the past, the acidity of the dead adult body, especially the female’s egg masses, often resulted in pits and etches in automotive paint and chrome if not quickly removed. However, advances in automotive paints and protective coatings have reduced this threat significantly. Now the greatest concern is excessive clogging of vehicle radiator air passages with the bodies of the adults, with the reduction of the cooling effect on engines, and the obstruction of windshields when the remains of the adults and egg masses are smeared on the glass.

The reason I haven’t been writing much lately is because I’ve been systematically clearing out and cleaning up my house — inside and out. Without a doubt, the biggest job so far has been our garage.
The hardest part was getting started. Once I took the plunge, it was quite liberating to get rid of so much junk just taking up space. I didn’t count them, but I took at least 20 gallons (probably more) of paint to a recycling center. I also swept down enough spider webs to knit the world’s largest scarf and matching mittens. (If I could knit and/or you could actually use spider webs to do so.*) After 4 days and countless hours of filthy, dirty work, the result was the sense of accomplishment I felt when I stood back and looked at my newly clean and organized garage…
I left the door open, went inside to wash the filth off of me, and came back out to find HUNDREDS OF DEAD LOVE BUGS EVERYWHERE!!!!! (punk bugs!) I swept them away, only to find the same scenario a couple of hours later. Added to my frustration is the fact that I have two chairs and a vanity set that need to be painted, but I can’t until the swarm is over, because those stupid bugs will throw themselves willingly onto the wet paint and die. I got a call from a lady today that wants me to refinish a coffee table for her. She asked me how long it would take to complete the project. When I told her I didn’t know, she hesitated. My follow up answer was two words: Love bugs. “Oh, right”, she answered. She must be from here…
*If you can, in fact, knit a scarf out of spider webs, please don’t tell me… There are some things I’d just rather not know about.
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11 Responses to “Love Bugs: Herbie – good/Plecia nearctica – NOT GOOD!”

  1. JP's Gal September 8, 2008 at 11:05 pm #

    >I hated those stupid bugs. I’m thankful to say that I haven’t seen any up here yet! 🙂 You can flee from “Ike” and the love bugs this weekend and come to our house.

  2. katdish September 9, 2008 at 7:43 am #

    >You know…we may just take you up on that generous offer! Of course, Ready-Ron has the generator gassed up and is ready for a hurricane (or an invasion, whichever comes first.)

  3. Helen September 9, 2008 at 8:28 am #

    >Sorry to hear about the bugs. I’m not especially fond of them myself, but it sounds like a real pain to be having them interfere with your work. I hope they will be gone soon.

  4. Kris September 9, 2008 at 8:43 am #

    >They were just here in May. I remember because we had to use the whipers so we could see as we drove…


  5. katdish September 9, 2008 at 9:42 am #

    >Helen – thanks, the lovebug plauge is something we have to deal with twice a year. We also have to deal seasonally with something called a june bug — which is equally disgusting in its own way. Then of course, there’s the mosquitos and ever popular fire ants. It’s really just a cornicopia of insect pestilence down here in the Lone Star state. But we love it here anyway!

    Kris – which vehicle did you install “whipers” on? Wipers are only marginaly effective. Whipers on the other hand…(you know I had to tease you about that one.)

  6. Kris September 9, 2008 at 9:45 am #

    >oops! i did it again….

    i am a BAD speller.

    however,whipers are the new and improved, environmentally safe and bug friendly kind. where have you been?


  7. Helen September 9, 2008 at 9:56 am #

    >A while ago you posted about a map that lets you know where your visitors are from. I coveted that map, but had trouble with my e-mail so I never got the passwords and stuff, but ever since your post I knew I wanted one. Anyway, I checked out the gadgets at blogger, and now I have one. You are right, it is amazing to see how many people have visited one’s blog without leaving any comment. Thanks for the tip.

  8. jamie in rose cottage September 10, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    >Hee-hee-hee! I am so laughing at you and your love-bug haven right now… but only because I am not dealing with same issues! I guess we don’t have them around here, but I remember a dreaded family vacation when I was a kid, and those blasted things were everywhere; then the a/c in the car went out, and we had to drive with the windows down so we didn’t die of a heat stroke, but those bugs were EVERYWHERE!!!!!

  9. JML September 10, 2008 at 4:23 pm #

    >I feel like I’d make a fool out of myself with that many bugs just flying around and falling dead everywhere because really, one would land on me, and I just don’t like bugs to be on me like that! I might scream like a girl and flip out. It’s kinda unfortunate. I hope that you’re doing well and all that!!!! Have fun cleaning!!!!!!

  10. katdish September 11, 2008 at 11:56 pm #

    >jamie – the reason your a/c went out was probably because it was clogged full of those stupid bugs!

    jml – I think I’d pay good money to see you running around screaming like a girl covered in dead lovebug. Thinking about it just makes me smile.

  11. Anonymous September 12, 2008 at 12:27 am #

    >I’m with you on the lovebugs. They have selected my dryer vent as a place to be harmonious. Therefore, every time I turn on the dryer, hundreds of these little suckers shoot out. That wouldn’t be so bad but my ex thought he was so bright when he rerouted the dryer vent to exit right outside my front door (in the cold weather, he could then turn on the dryer and stand right outside the front door in the warm “breeze” and smoke). Right now I have 100’s of the bugs at my front door and its been swept often…hoping Ike will blow them all away.


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