If you have lived in East Texas as long as I have, you have had hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of so-called "love bugs" die on your car or truck while depositing their remains on your vehicle. Tiny spots of black punctuated with gooey bug guts pepper the front end of every vehicle which makes its way down the highway in these parts.
I have been driving quite a bit lately. My car is covered with their amorous carcasses. They seem to love flying united from one to five feet above every major and minor highway in the state. Research reveals this insect we call "the love bug" is known more properly as Plecia nearctica. It mates in spring and later summer, and it is during those mating seasons they become our driving nightmare.
A little research reveals that the problem lies in their body chemistry. While their body chemistry is fairly normal in its acidity, the removal of their remains from one's vehicle is imperative within twenty four hours, unless one is willing to deal with the super glue like transformation of the splattered remains. Because the acidity varies in time, the impact on the vehicle changes. The bug guts become more difficult to remove as time passes.
I have a theory that super glue was produced by someone who thought to reverse engineer the sticking quality of love bug innards. That stuff is almost impossible to remove once it hardens. It's been known to pit paint jobs. I have a bug scrubber I use, along with copious amounts of Windex, but it's still a mess getting it cleaned up.
It appears they are attracted to light colors, automotive exhaust fumes, and perhaps the effects of sunlight bouncing off vehicles. They may be attracted to freshly painted items, although that would not appear to be a factor for the assault they make on our vehicles every time we drive the roads here for several weeks a year.
They attach to one another in mating pairs, rear end to rear end, making what appears to be one bug with orange eyes on both ends, connected in the middle. We see them crawling or flying about, but find them relatively unobtrusive until they get airborne above our driving arteries. Two at a time, they kamikaze our windshield, slowly covering it with their black and off white deposits.
Plecia nearctica does not bite. It does not sting. We would probably be blissfully ignorant of the love bug if it did not pester us so thoroughly when we drive. There seem to be only two reasonable solutions. Either do not drive, or if driving, clean the car’s exterior of the love bug remains within hours of their accumulation.
I have to admit that I never knew it was critical to get the little buggers off the car with all due haste. Had I known that sooner, I would have practiced it sooner. The things I learn writing about them.
© 2012, Jim “Pappy” Moore,
All Rights Reserved.
Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home. email@example.com