TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — If you’re noticing lovebugs earlier in the year than usual, you’re not alone. Several viewers sent News Channel 8 pictures of the pests already landing on cars. Typically the bugs don’t show up until a few months from now.
“I came outside to do my watering and saw them flying around. I’m thinking ‘you’re a little early,'” Tina Scott, who lives in Myakka Valley Ranch in Sarasota County said. “I’m thinking go ahead and smash yourselves on cars in January and maybe there won’t be so many in May.”
Deby Cassill, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Services at the University of South Florida, says lovebugs simply love our warm winter weather.
“Warmer winters mean more love bugs. Love bugs (also called kissing bugs or honeymoon bugs) time their once-in-a-lifetime courtship and mating rituals based on the Goldilocks Principle,” Cassill told News Channel 8 in an email. “The ground and air temperatures can’t be too hot or too cold. It has to be ‘just right.’ Our warm winter has been ‘just right’ for the love bugs.”
Cassill says with the recent cold snaps the love bugs will fade until high season starts.
Interesting Lovebag facts via Deby Cassill, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Services, USF St. Petersburg:
- Today’s car paints are far more resistant to the body acids of dead love bugs. The dense swarms of love bugs can clog the car’s lungs (radiators and the air system) or a car’s eyes (the windshield).
- Larvae (juvenile love bugs) live in the soil and feed on rotting leaves, turning dead plant parts into fertilizer for the baby grass sprouts.
- Love bugs have been around since the days of the dinosaurs (the Jurassic period).
- Their adult lifespan is about a week, so they only have time to mate once. The males “mating organ” is 3 times longer than his body.