The insect species officially known as Plecia nearctica is a nuisance insect pest that dwells in South America and up into the southeastern United States, mostly in the southernmost Gulf Coast states. This species is commonly known as a “love bug”, or “lovebug”. In some cases, a single article will refer to this species in both its one-word form and two-word form. Whether or not this insect’s common name is two words or one, one thing is for sure, love bugs will swarm residential and urban areas at least twice per year in Louisiana.
With the exception of locusts, and possibly mayflies, lovebug swarms are the largest-sized airborne insect swarms known to humankind. Love bug swarms can contain as many as hundreds of thousands of individual bugs, beating out Formosan termite swarms, which can contain nearly 100,000 swarmers, but far less than locust swarms, which have been estimated to contain literally trillions of swarmers. Of course, the number of winged insects in a lovebug swarm varies greatly, but experts believe that this year could possibly see the largest love bug swarms in Louisiana’s recent history.
To put it simply, this year’s love bug swarms in Louisiana will be particularly large due to the effects of global warming. This past winter was unusually mild in Louisiana, which allowed love bug larvae to overwinter in the soil while gorging on endless amounts of plant matter. With the arrival of spring, the first, and largest, of two annual swarms occur in the southeast. No matter how cold the previous winter, love bugs always swarm in massive numbers twice per year in Louisiana, making the insects well known nuisance pests in the state.
Love bugs can also be classified as economically significant insect pests, as drivers cannot avoid driving through their swarms, which sometimes results in clogged radiators. The acidic fluids that drain from their smashed corpses are also known for corroding vehicle paint. These automobile issues can cost drivers thousands of dollars in engine and/or cosmetic repairs. For reasons that are still unknown, winged love bugs gravitate towards large white objects, like white houses and white vehicles. Keeping your lawn mowed and free of dead plant matter will greatly reduce the amount of love bug larvae that dwell in residential lawns.
Have you ever driven through a love bug swarm?
Tags: Love Bugs, pest control