FLORIDA - Here are nine facts about those pesky critters that we love to hate: Love bugs.
Where they came from: Love bugs migrated across the Gulf States from Central America and reached the Florida Panhandle in 1949.
Urban myth: The bugs are not the product of a botched experiment by the University of Florida as the myth suggests. According to the myth, the school created the love bugs to help solve a growing mosquito problem. Interesting, but untrue!
Mating ritual: Female love bugs will fly into swarms of male love bugs. When a male unites with a female, their abdomens will stay attached for up to two days, although mating lasts about 12 hours. The male then dies and is dragged around by the female.
Lifespan: Adult love bugs live about three to four days; long enough to mate, feed, disperse and deposit a batch of eggs. The female dies soon after she lays between 150 and 600 eggs.
The bugs’ peak: Love bugs can be seen almost every month of the year, but their populations peak in May and September for about four to five weeks.
When the bugs are gone: The adults have died, and it is a matter of months until the larvae developing in the ground mature into pupae and new adults emerge.
Nicknames: The love bug spends almost the entirety of its life copulating with its mate, hence their romantic nicknames, such as the honeymoon fly, telephone bug and kissybug.
Love bugs serve a purpose: As larvae, they help decompose dead plant material. The larvae develop on decaying plant material and under cow manure.
They don’t bite: Love bugs don’t sting either, nor do they carry infectious diseases.
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