Love bugs are back for their fall run

Published 3:06 pm Sunday, September 15, 2013

They’re backkkk….those pesky little stinking black fly-like insects we call love bugs.

Every year just before Fair time they appear and not only stink up everything, they also cover our cars.

If you happen to be outside when they are swarming, you dare not open your mouth in fear of getting a mouthful! Yuck!

The only thing good about their appearing is that sooner or later we know they are sure to go away. But…have you noticed that now they are appearing not once a year as in the beginning, but twice a year? How long will it be before they are here all the time? Perish the thought!

A lot of us older folks can remember a time when there were no love bugs. But then again I can remember when there were no fire ants…just regular ants. Where do these things come from? And what surprises await us in the future?

Many years ago when the love bugs were first becoming really common in Louisiana we made a trip to Arkansas, and not too far into that state we stopped to get gas.

As soon as we stopped a guy quickly came out of the service station, squeegee in hand (you can tell this was really, really a long time ago) and, while he pumped gas, he attempted to clean our windshield.

He had no idea what he was getting into. He cleaned and scrubbed and added water and squee-geed and finally asked what in the world we had on our windshield. He stared in disbelief when we told him they were Louisiana love bugs.

I wonder if the love bugs have made it to Arkansas. I know they have spread from Texas and Louisiana to other Gulf States. Perhaps it gets too cold in Arkansas.

Besides really messing up our cars, large numbers of the bugs can clog radiators, reduce visibility with a messed-up windshield and, if left too long on cars, the fluid from the dead bugs will actually ruin the paint. If removed at once, there’s less danger of this, which is called etching.

I have noticed if I don’t clean my windshield regularly, night driving particularly is impacted as the greasy fluid from the bugs makes for very bad visibility.

From some information I found on the Internet I discovered the spring love bug appearance occurs during late April and May and the second one during late August and September. 

They stay from four to five weeks, but the individual bugs live only two to three days, so being spattered on windshields is obviously a quick way to go. 

Just picture hundreds of little black bugs committing suicide on our windshields.

Mating takes place almost immediately after they hatch, and the females lay from 100 to 350 eggs. No wonder there are so many of them!

You can spray entrance ways to your home with household insecticides, and it will control them somewhat in those areas. It seems love bugs love white painted surfaces almost as much as they love gas and diesel fumes.

So how do you get the little buggers off your car? Most recommend drenching with water as soon as possible and scrubbing them off. Some people swear by dryer softener sheets. Just use them dry and wipe the bugs away. Others clean the car before the bugs get bad, apply cooking spray to the front and leave it there until they go away.

Then there are those who put paste wax on the front of the car and leave it there without polishing. I don’t see nearly as many of the screens attached to the front of vehicles as in earlier days, but that does work.

They are aggravating little creatures to be sure, but thankfully they don’t bite or sting.

Be thankful for small favors, pray for patience and remember…this too shall pass…or at least until next spring!

Retired Lifestyle Editor Bob Ann Breland, a resident of Pine, writes a weekly column and may be contacted at bobann_b@ yahoo. com.