Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sometimes you’re the windshield …

Ah, springtime. For many, it means long days spent barbecuing or hanging out at the beach. But for truckers hauling in the South, this year’s balmiest season will also include one very unwanted accessory – lovebugs.

No, we’re not talking about 1960s Volkswagens here. The lovebug – also known as Plecia nearctica in the entomological community – is a small, black bug that, until recent years, was native only to Central America.

Unfortunately, no one bothered to tell the little pest to stay in its homeland, and drivers in Florida and throughout the southern part of the country are paying the price for the critter’s recent immigration to the U.S., especially during its mating season in the spring and late summer months. And now is one of those special times.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a single, quarter-inch-long lovebug can create a pretty big mess on its own. The problem is, this is one romantic insect, and the males and females tend to be, um, rather attached to one another while in flight a lot of the time. Does its name make a little more sense now?

Besides the fact that a giant chunk of bug gunk flying through the air can wreak havoc on windshields and clog radiator fins, the insect’s acidic insides have also been known to score glass and eat through paint if they aren’t washed off promptly.

If it weren’t so disgusting, a lovebug stain on your bumper might even be considered romantic – sort of like “Romeo and Juliet” for the insect world.

Editor’s note: This previously ran in the August 2006 issue of Land Line Magazine. It was written by Aaron Ladage. However, with lovebugs in, ummm, season we couldn’t help but share it again.