If you live in the south, odds are you’ve encountered those strange red and black bugs that seem to be attached at the hip. What are they and why are they always in pairs?
The love bug, AKA the honeymoon fly or the double-headed bug, is a species of fly that is found in Central America and the Southeastern United States, most commonly along the Gulf Coast. They are small with black bodies and red heads. Their most striking feature, however, is the fact that they are almost always seen as a pair, with male and female lined up tail to tail. Why are love bugs stuck together? The answer – they are mating!
There are 2 major flights of love bugs during the year. The spring flight is usually from April to May and the summer flight is from August to September. Each flight lasts about 5 weeks.
While love bugs can be extremely annoying, especially if you are driving in the southern states, they are not capable of biting or stinging and pose no health threats to humans or other animals. They are also not known to transmit any diseases. They do cause other problems, however. Love bugs are attracted to the gas that is emitted from automobiles and will often congregate in large numbers near highways. This causes them to be killed in large numbers on car hoods, grills, and windshields. If left for too long, dead love bugs can cause damage to car paint, obstruct windshields, and even clog radiator passages and grills, causing mechanical issues and engines to overheat. These pests also thrive in humid environments so they can be found in basements, attics, and storage rooms, and even on flowers or in flower beds with high moisture content.
Even though love bugs don’t pose a serious threat to humans, they can be aggravating enough to want to get rid of them. Here are a few ways to help prevent love bugs:
- Clean Your Car. Wash your car often with warm soapy water, especially if there are dead love bugs stuck to it. Wax your car prior to mating season to make it harder for them to stick to the exterior.
- Eliminate Standing Water. Inspect your home and yard for any areas of standing water and get rid of them. This will also help with mosquitoes. Monitor your home’s humidity levels, as well.
- Natural Repellents. You can try natural repellent sprays made from essential oils such as peppermint. to repel love bugs.
- Clean Up The Yard. Keep the grass mowed and shrubbery trimmed. Clear any debris from the yard, especially anything that can hold moisture.
- Vacuum. The best way to get rid of live love bugs that may be swarming around your home is to vacuum them up.
While love bugs don’t pose any significant threat to humans, they can be a nuisance. If you have an issue with love bugs or any other pest, contact a professional pest control company for assistance.