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.