Love Bugs

Steve Borel, LSU AgCenter

I just returned from a trip to LSU-A and I can barely see out of my windshield. Yep, you guessed it love bugs were to blame.

There are two generations of love bugs each year, one in the spring usually around April and the other about September. Each female can lay more than 300 eggs, and the love bugs we are seeing now are the ones that were laid last fall.

The eggs are deposited in high organic matter areas with lots of vegetation. One of the most popular places for them to lay eggs is in the median of the interstate and along roads where there is a huge thatch layer of decaying grass from mowing. Those eggs will hatch and the larvae will feed on the organic matter and perform a beneficial function of breaking down the vegetation and releasing the nutrients to build up the soil.

Love bugs are attracted to heat. That would also help to explain why so many of them find their way to the interstate and highways. You will also note that their swarms will grow as the day heats up. They also will swarm a warm car after you park it, but do not seem to bother a cool car. There also seems to be a greater attraction to the color white than darker colors.

Another drawback to love bugs is the mess that they make on the front of the vehicles. Their bodies splattered all over the front of the car are more than an annoyance. The remains of the splattered bugs is very acid and can remove the paint if left on the vehicle. You should remove the splattered bugs daily to avoid paint damage and remember to rinse off the radiator if you encounter heavy populations as they clog the radiator and can make the engine run hot.