|Our car covered with Love Bugs. The other side of the car had just as many.|
So if everyone hates them, why are they called Love Bugs? If you look at the picture below you will understand.
|Love Bugs doing their thing|
Popular local mythology says that Love Bugs are the result of a diabolical failed experiment at the University of Florida. This is, of course, not true. (Apparently the same rumor exists in other states, such as Texas, about their respective university entomology departments.) Love Bugs are native to Texas and Louisiana and Central America and have only recently (since the 40's) arrived in Florida, which adds credence to the UF conspiracy theory since they're relative newcomers. Also, they are not bugs at all, but are actually variety of March Fly. Birds and other insects don't seem to eat Love Bugs. The same chemicals that cause them to corrode your car's finish also makes them taste bad. But they are good pollinators. At the same time that car owners are cursing as they scrape their cars clean, Love Bugs are busily swarming in fields of flowers. In addition to being attracted to petrochemicals, they are also attracted to flowers. The adults feed on nectar. And when they move from flower to flower, pollen sticks to their hairy bodies. The larvae feed on decaying leaf matter and can be beneficial as decomposers.
|Love Bugs on Goldenrod (Solidago sp.)|
|Love Bugs on Passion Flowers (Passiflora incarnata|