It is no hidden secret that Floridians dread lovebug season. Natives often blame a botched experiment at the University of Florida in the 1950s for this annoying annual swarm of bugs. The story goes that university researchers created the insect in a lab, and the bugs later escaped captivity. The black mutant bugs, are said, to have quickly reproduced out of control, taking over Florida one car grille at a time.
Though the tale about lovebugs may be a popular campfire story passed down through generations, it is actually a myth.
Stated in a news release,
“Although most people have heard, or told, this story in some form or another, it’s just not true. I started hearing this story in 1979, my first year as an entomologist in Florida, but other entomologists told me they heard the same story long before that. How it got started we just don’t know”, said Thomas Fasulo, an extension entomologist with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.”
Turns out lovebugs aren’t mutant manmade creatures after all. These pesky black flies are native to Texas lowlands, and migrated to Florida hundreds of years ago. Typical tourists- coming and infesting our local environment.
Just like Snowbirds and tourists, lovebugs invade Florida every summer from May until September. It’s a toss up between tourists and lovebugs as the most annoying creatures that infest the highways of Florida during this time.
Due to their strange attraction to headlights and gas fumes, lovebugs get plastered to thousands of cars as they speed down Florida highways. If drivers don’t quickly remove the insect carnage off of their front carriage, the Florida heat can bake the lovebugs into the paint, destroying clear coat and layers of paint on automobiles.
Though these pesky bugs can get your blood boiling in the summer heat, they do not appear to be changing their yearly vacation plans anytime soon.