ORLANDO, Fla. — Here are nine facts about the pesky critters that we love to hate: Lovebugs.
Where they came from: Lovebugs 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 lovebugs to help solve a growing mosquito problem. Interesting, but untrue!
Mating ritual: Female lovebugs will fly into swarms of male lovebugs. 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 lovebugs 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: Lovebugs 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 lovebug spends almost the entirety of its life copulating with its mate, hence their romantic nicknames, such as the honeymoon fly, telephone bug and kissybug.
Lovebugs 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: Lovebugs don’t sting either, nor do they carry infectious diseases.
Cox Media Group