Any resident or former resident of Florida will not hesitate to show their annoyance of lovebugs. These pests will plague your car and might even fly into your mouth. There are urban myths about these lovebugs and what attracts them. But what is actually true?
Lovebugs are attracted to many different things but there are some places that you will almost always find them. Exhaust fumes, asphalt, and freshly painted light-colored surfaces are among the favorite gathering places of adult lovebugs.
Living in Florida is mostly great with all of the sand and sun. But the lovebugs are a major pest that residents deal with. I did some research to find out not only what lovebugs are attracted to but also how to deal with them, what they hate, and how long the season lasts.
What Are Lovebugs Attracted To?
There are certain things that lovebugs seem to be attracted to and anyone familiar with this pest will not be surprised. Some of these things are actually made more attractive by the sun.
- Exhaust Fumes are not as attractive to the bugs without the sun’s rays. For some reason, this environmental factor makes these fumes irresistible to lovebugs. If you have ever been driving down the road and had a swarm of lovebugs come straight for you, this is why.
- Asphalt is also attractive to lovebugs because of how the sun’s rays interact with it. While lovebugs may still like asphalt without the sun, it wouldn’t be as magnetic for them.
- Freshly-painted light-colored surfaces call like a siren to the lovebugs. It isn’t unusual during the high season to not be cable to see the side of a light-colored building because there are so many lovebugs.
How Do You Deal With Lovebugs?
Dealing with lovebugs is something that any Florida native will tell you is not easy. However, there are things that you can try to make lovebug season a little more bearable. While this is not going to be an exhaustive list of all possible ways to deal with lovebugs, I am going to list the top five ways to deal with them.
- Drive slower and at night. This may sound like pain and you will definitely need to leave earlier to go to work but it will keep the bugs from splattering all over your car. Driving at high speeds during the peak time of day will ultimately result in dead lovebugs all over your car. If you can drive early in the morning or later in the evening that would also be ideal. But if you can’t avoid driving between 10 am and 6 pm for four weeks then at least drive slower.
- Rack up the grass clippings. Because the larvae of lovebugs like to eat dead grass and leaves if you don’t clean the clippings out of your yard this becomes the perfect place to nest. The last thing you want is a swarm of lovebugs laying eggs in your yard.
- Don’t idle your car or lawnmower. Because exhaust fumes attract these bugs it is best to only run the cars or lawnmowers when you need to during lovebug season. Try not to idle the engine for any period of time. It is also a good idea to mow or drive later in the day around sunset because the bugs are not usually out at that time.
- Waxing your car will make the surface slick and help with the removal of lovebugs during the high season. One of the reasons that lovebugs are such a menace is because they can damage the paint on cars. They tend to be acidic and are hard to remove. Wax will help with this problem.
- Use darker paint for your walls and exterior of the house if possible. However, don’t do the painting during lovebug season because not only do they love light colors but they also love paint fumes.
How Long Does Lovebug Season Last In Florida?
Lovebug season is a relatively short season in Florida but it seems much longer than it is. If you have ever been to Florida during this season you know what I am talking about. Lovebug season means that this is the time of year that the adult lovebugs are swarming to mate and lay eggs.
This, unfortunately, happens not once a year but twice a year. For four weeks in May and again in September, Florida is plagued by these flying bugs. The season is not long which may be a relief for some. Those Florida residents that have lived through many seasons may be experienced but they dread this time of year as much as the new residents.
During this season the lovebugs actually have specific hours when they are active and will only come out if the temperature is in their ideal range during that time. If the temperature is higher than 84 degrees between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm then the bugs will be out in force.
What Do Lovebugs Hate?
Just like lovebugs have a list of things that they really like and are attracted to, they also have a list of things that they hate. These are a go-to when you want to discourage lovebug activity in your house, in your yard, or anywhere around you.
- Citrus is on the list of things that lovebugs hate. We don’t know why but they are repelled by any citrus scent. This is great news for Floridians because they are not short on citrus fruits and scented items. If you are a fan of essential oils then you probably have some citrus oils available to make a spray or to wipe door and window frames. Citronella candles or torches can also be a good way to repel these pests when you are outside. There are citronella candles that have citrus scents added as well.
- Dark colors don’t repel lovebugs but they don’t attract them either. Wearing dark colored clothes or painting walls a dark color prior to the lovebug season will be helpful. Not attracting them in the first place is as helpful as repelling them. If you have been through many lovebug seasons you probably have it on your radar and know when to start wearing all of your dark clothes.
- Insect Spray does work on lovebugs. This is one pretty helpful way to deal with lovebugs because they hate insect repellant. Using a spray is ideal when you can’t stay inside during peak times to avoid drawing them to you. Insect spray used along with dark clothing and citrus scents will help you have minimum exposure to this annoying pest.
- Wet Surfaces don’t really repel the bugs but they don’t want to swarm on wet surfaces. It isn’t ideal to keep your home or driveway wet all of the time during lovebug season but if you are experience a swarming problem it might help. You can spray the swarm off of the surface using soap and water. Leave the surface to dry naturally and then repeat if they come back. This will also help your yard. Running your sprinklers during lovebug season will discourage them from laying eggs in your yard.
- Low Temperatures are not a favorite of the lovebug. They prefer temperatures to be above 84 degrees and enjoy the beating sun. Keeping your home below 84 and keeping the humidity down will help keep them out of your house. Lovebugs naturally avoid low temperatures which is why they are found on the gulf coast and in Florida in such large numbers.
Lovebugs are not fun to deal with and can really cause problems for your home and car. But if you know what they are attracted to and what they hate you will have a good chance of making it through lovebug season with minimum annoyance.