The lovebug is a species of insects found in the southern parts and the central parts of the United States. They are also commonly found along the gulf coast. The species are also known as the two-headed bugs or the honeymoon fly. As the lovebugs mate, the adults remain paired or coupled for some days. These insects were first recorded ion 1940 by Dr.Hardy although they were first seen in Louisiana as early as 1911. By the time, Dr. Hardy was reporting about the lovebugs, and they had been previously experienced in Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. However, by the end of the 20th century, the insects had spread to many other habitats such as South Carolina, Georgia, and the Mexico gulf among many more other places (Clarke, 2010). The adult lovebugs feed on the nectar from various plants such as; Brazilian pepper, golden cover and sweet clover, on the other side, the young larvae feed on the decomposing vegetation in the landscape, and this is beneficial to the ecosystem.
In May, as it is their norm, the most annoying creatures in Huntsville, Texas plagued the region. The lovebugs swarmed in March and were confined in their typical habitat, the dark alleys, private clubs, the bars, the vehicles and at homes. They everywhere included on the roads. Like most of the times, the lovebugs have been experienced in different places at least twice per year, the infestation of lovebugs in Huntsville was, therefore, not a new message to the residents. After a week of the invasion, there was a need to know why these insects swam, how they messed up with the vehicles in the region and why they fly around attachedanother. The first thing that I realized is that the lovebugs were in Huntsville just like any other animal, the fish, the python among many more. The love bugs had come from their native land, the central and South America, presumably in search of retirement communities and theme parks.
Localized lovebugs can number into a hundred of thousands. The residents have described the drifting and the slow movement of the insects as a snowfall. The only difference is that these insects could rise into the air, unlike the snow that only falls from the sky. The insects commonly invade twice per year, and the first flight occurs in the late spring while the other one takes place in the late summer (Fitzgerald, 2009). However, in rare cases, the insects can invade in December. The summer invasion occurs in the late August and September as it was the case in Huntsville, while the spring invasion takes place in during April and May as in the case of south Florida invasion. The infestation mainly takes place in a period of four to five weeks. The process of mating takes place immediately after the female lovebugs emerge. The adult female lives for only three to four days while the male lovebugs stay alive a little longer than the females. When they are mating, the lovebugs must be attached at all times.
The challenge with these small insects is that they don’t get up enjoy the retirement. The love bugs only die a few days after they are hatched. The first thing is that they hatch, then after that, they mate and eventually perish. They are, therefore, short-lived insects. The male hatch first them swam feverishly waiting for the female to arrive. After the female lovebugs come, a fight arises where the male tries to impress the female. The female lovebug then chooses the male love bug who excites her; it is after this step that they hitch for life. After finding the spouse; the two lovebugs mate leaving no time for safe sex lessons. For some days, these couples must stay attached for some days. The male stay connected to the female to ensure that no other male lovebug can come and fertilize the female. The problem is that these little insects don’t stay attached for an extended time, they only die after a few days.
The lovebugs reputation as a nuisance to the public is not due to their stings or any but rather due to the acidic body chemistry that they have. Because the lovebugs exist in large numbers, they can die in large numbers on the radiator grills, windscreens, and hoods on the moving vehicles. The lovebugs are considered nuisance because when they die and stay for an hour or two, it becomes difficult to remove the remains from the windscreen, radiator grills among many more others. The chemistry of the lovebugs body is that they have a neutral 6.5 pH but may become acidic at 4.25 pH if left to decay for a day. This acidity level is dangerous because it can alter various things; for example, the acidity of the dead adult body and especially the female lovebug with mass eggs can result to etches in the automobile paints if they are not quickly removed. The innovations in the automotive paintings and coating have, however, reduced this threat. The challenge is now on the excessive clogging of the adult bodies in the vehicle radiator air passages. The lovebugs mainly like light-colored surfaces and especially if they are freshly painted (Arthurs, 2011). There is, therefore, a great concern about the lovebugs.
These insects are subject to significant natural controls such as the parasitic fungi, and the dry weather which dry the thatch causing the high mortality of immature lovebugs. When the insects first swam to Texas, there was a public outcry, and everyone wanted to know their origin because of the public concern that they raised. Nowadays, people don’t complain a lot because the natural controls of the lovebugs take control. The dry weather in many parts of their targeted habitats has reduced the number of lovebugs. Although a large number can be experienced in some regions such as Huntsville in a specific year, this is not likely to be repeated in the successive years. Most insectivorous do not prefer consuming lovebugs; this is because of their acidic taste. However, there are some birds such as robins and the quails that eat lovebugs. The arthropod predators of lovebugs include; centipedes, beetle larvae and spiders.
The lifecycle of the lovebugs is impressive. The insect is reported to have two main flights annually. The first flight takes place in during of April and May and the second flight in August to September. The swam mainly lasts for a period of four to five weeks. There are 300 to 350 eggs that are generally laid by a single female lovebug. The laying occurs typically around the dead decaying plants in the surface of the ground. The eggs hatching period depend on the season; sometimes it takes two days while in other time 3 to 4 days. After the egg has been hatched, the young larvae continue feeding on the decaying materials around the area of hatching (Denmark, 2010). These larvae also feed on the other organic materials and decaying plants as they wait for their pupa state. During the colder months, the lovebugs can stay in their larvae stage for approximate 240 days while during the hotter months, they can remain in this stage for around 120 days before getting to the pupa stage. The lovebugs stay in their pupa stage for 7 to 9 days and develop to the other phase which is the adult stage. In the adult stage, the lovebugs are mature enough to start reproducing. After the male lovebugs emerge from their pupa stage, they start hovering around as they wait for the female to appear. The mating begins immediately after the female chooses the male spouse. The two lovebugs, the male and the female remains attached for some days. Here. The male copulates until the female becomes fully fertilized. Fertilization mainly takes place for approximately two to three days, and after this, the female lays eggs and dies immediately. The male on the other side also dies after some days. The common lovebug lives for a period of four to six days.
Clarke, S. (2010). Catch that buzz: A brief history of musical insect groups, part 1. American Entomologist, 56(3), 140-145.
Fitzgerald, S. J. (2009). Bibionidae (March flies, love-bugs). Brown, BV; Borkent, A.; Cumming, JM; Wood, DM, 245-251.
Arthurs, S. P., Tofangsazi, N., & Cherry, R. (2013). The attraction of lovebugs (Diptera: Bibionidae) to visual and olfactory stimuli. Journal of entomological science, 48(4), 291-298.
Denmark, H. A., Mead, F. W., & Fasulo, T. R. (2010). Lovebug Plecia nearctica Hardy (Insecta: Diptera: Bibionidae). University of Florida IFAS Extension, EDIS publication EENY47: http://edis. ifas. ufl. edu/in204.