No love for aggravating insects
Published 1:41 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2006
By By Lisa Tindell
March fly, honeymoon fly, telephone bug, kissybug or love bug. No matter what you call them they can simply be called a nuisance.
With the second appearance of the year for this aggravating insect during the last week, an increase in car washing can be seen across the area.
Rayford Lowery, co-owner of Qwik Car Wash on Mildred Street, says he has mixed feelings about the bugs.
According to the University of Florida Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences web site, the lovebugs can be seen from as far away as Costa Rica all the way up to the southeastern United States including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas.
The key to keeping your auto's paint looking it's best is to wash away the acidic bugs as soon as possible said Greg Stewart of Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Brewton.
There is little that can be done to prevent the bugs from attaching themselves to vehicles.
The website indicates that the bugs usually appear twice each year with one appearance in late May and again in mid-to late September.
The female, the larger of the two bugs, mates once, lays eggs and dies about 68 hours later, the site said. Lovebugs swarm around parked cars and on highways due to their attraction to gasoline and diesel fumes. The bodily fluid of the bugs is acidic which explaines how paint can become etched or chipped if left on for more than 24 to 36 hours after their death.
The insects are more common in the southern part of Alabama than in the northern region of the state. The infestation and swarming activity of the bugs usually lasts for 5 to 9 days, the site said.