Yes, we see them twice per year, and yes, they are the bane of our existence during those spring and fall weeks (especially those of you who commute on any of our interstates and toll roads.) There are a few things that can, however, lessen the impact of these “lovey” insects on the exterior of your vehicle.
- Have your car waxed just prior to (or as soon as) the love bugs swarm. The bugs contain a type of acid that will eat away at your paint in as little as 24 hours. If left on the paint long enough, it can actually pit the surface causing permanent damage! Keeping your car properly waxed will help to prevent this acid from reaching the paint on your car. It acts as a protective shield, so to speak.
- Run your car through the wash tunnel every 2 to 3 days. The spray wax used in the tunnel will extend the life of the hand-wax, allowing you to go 90 days before re-applying the hand wax. (And, let’s face it…you’ll want to run your car through the tunnel on a regular basis in order to get those acidic bugs off of your paint!).
- Consider using a special washer fluid during “Love Bug Season.” Special formulas can be purchased at most retail stores that help to prevent the nasty streaks that can appear when using regular wash fluid. These streaks are pretty gross, and can be difficult to remove when left to bake in Central FL’s beautiful sunshine. The ‘bug’ fluid helps by applying a slick coat that prevents the gross guts from sticking to, and damaging, the windshield.
- Be sure to check the grill of your car. If left unchecked, the bugs can actually build up
to the point where they clog your radiator. No one wants to overheat on I-4!
- Love Bugs swarm in late Spring and early Fall (usually May and September, although this can vary by a few weeks)
- The season typically lasts 3 – 5 weeks.
- The bugs are most active in mid-morning and just before nightfall (just in time for rush hour!)
- Oh, and the story that UF released these bugs to combat mosquitoes…yeah…that’s a myth. They actually came from Central America in the 1800s. (For those of you that want or need more science in your daily reading diet, check out UF’s Entomology Department at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/MG068)