Love is in the air. But with love bugs, what you get are thousands of flies waiting to cause a nuisance in your home, car, and yard.
This means that, unlike love, love bugs aren’t what you’d like to keep. Because even though they rarely bite or sting, they cause damage whose repair can break the bank.
So, getting rid of them is a priority. And in this article, you can find all the answers you need on how to get rid of love bugs.
What Are Love Bugs?
Unlike the general belief, love bugs are not bugs that spread wild, sacrificial, and unconditional love in the air.
In fact, they aren’t like the rumors from the ‘50s where people thought that love bugs were some failed government science experiments bred to rain hell on Florida.
Instead, love bugs are just like any natural insects. To be more specific, they are just March flies. And originally, these flies are from the Gulf of Mexico.
Like many other insects, they migrate and swarm during reproductive seasons. So, every May and September of each year, they fly out of the Mexican Gulf to the United States, especially to areas like Florida.
The only reason many people think Lovebugs are special is that during their swarming, they often pop up like a thief in the night.
When they do, love bugs crash into windows, windscreens, and any surface they find. On these surfaces, the crashing love bugs would splash the contents of their guts to cause dirty and irritable stains.
What Do Love Bugs Look Like?
Lovebugs, aka the double-headed bugs or the honeymoon fly, are quite small compared to other flies, like dragonflies and butterflies. (A brief science class here, you should know that both butterflies and dragonflies are not true flies. They belong to two different insects that are not even related to flies.)
That said, love bugs have a typically tiny, reddish head with a long, black body. This alone is enough to recognize them. But there are other insects like this out there.
So, for love bugs, you will notice their adult males and females are conjoined in pairs at either tail. The reason for this conjunction is pretty simple.
Often when we see love bugs flying in large numbers in the air, there’s a high chance that their reproductive season is nigh.
So, seeing the males and females joined would mean that they are mating. Their mating process is very slow and the females only live for just about 2–5 days. They use most of this time together to ensure continuity of their life by mating!
Are Love Bugs Dangerous?
At first, the black and red color combo on Love bugs would advertise them as some kind of venomous insects with painful bites.
However, love bugs rarely sting or bite; if at all. They are not venomous. And you shouldn’t be scared that they would transmit, to you, diseases of any kind.
In a nutshell, Lovebugs are safe to be around you or your pets. But that’s only if you look at things from the vantage point of health.
Looking at things from the damage perspective, you might have a second thought. So, let’s shed a bit more light on things.
Lovebugs gang up around cars and any other place that’s wet and highly humid like gardens.
Around cars, these love bugs concentrate in so large numbers that they can hamper the visibility of the driver. That, of course, can cause accidents.
For that reason, experts and government agencies advise you to pull over or slow down when you drive along a path that’s rich in love bugs.
Besides that, love bugs can cause severe damage to your car. For one, they can clog the vents, and block the radiator or any parts that can lead to car overheating.
Then again, when love bugs splash their intestines on your car, they damage the paint of your car permanently if not removed immediately.
Not only that; love bugs also love to colonize gardens with lots of ornamental flowers. If they do, they compete with the food materials used by the plants.
This is because those things serve as breeding and feeding zones for their larvae.
What Attracts Love Bugs?
After years of scientific study, experts realize that love bugs are attracted by three main things aside from food. Namely, they include:
The major reason love bugs attack cars is that they like the heat oozing out from a car’s engine. This is also why we see them in large numbers near the hood of a car.
Besides that, love bugs also follow car vibrations and car exhaust. These two things often generate relatively less heat than the engine of the car. However, they still count.
- Light Colors.
Aside from cars, the next places you’re likely to see love bugs are any places with light bulbs or white colors. However, the reason for this is still unknown.
According to some experts, they agree that the light sensitivity in these love bugs runs in the family line of most insects. So, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
But as for the white surfaces, we think it’s just basic science. White bodies reflect light more than any surface. So, the more the light they reflect, the higher the tendency for these surfaces to attract love bugs.
However, love bugs often display a particular strange pattern; they also get attracted to highway roads that are painted black. Surprising how one thing can love two things that are directly opposite, right?
Well… the thing is; like white surfaces, black surfaces have a pattern of behavior with heat and light. But while light surfaces reflect both heat and light, black surfaces absorb them.
Black-colored roads get as hot as they come. Since love bugs love warmth, they fly towards those blacktopped tarmacs.
- High Moisture.
Lovebugs prefer places with an excess amount of water. One commonplace that qualifies for this is our gardens. So, they come around to using the gardens as breeding sites.
But that aside, love bugs also colonize yards and gardens because of food. Their food can mostly be found in flower nectars.
So, in your gardens, that major part they attack are the flowers and flower beds. Likewise, they like to be around decaying plant materials.
What Can Get Rid of Love Bugs?
Earlier, we clarified that Lovebugs have been a problem in the US since the 1950s.
So, over the years, a lot of products, whether commercial, natural, or homemade, have gotten rid of love bugs. Let’s talk about a few of them below:
Commercial Products to Get Rid of Love Bugs
- Garden Safe Insecticidal Repellent.
This product is made of fatty acids and potassium salts. It is a universal garden product. But it can also kill love bugs especially.
As for love bugs, Garden Safe nips the growth of their larvae and sabotages their lifecycle. Yet, you can safely apply it to any plant with no adverse side effects.
- Ben’s 100 Insect Repellent.
Unlike most repellents that rely on odor aversion, this product is quite odorless.
It’s also quite cheap for the size and quality you get. And aside from love bugs, it works against many other species of insects, like aphids, gnats, ticks, and other flies.
- Love Bug Magic Cleaner.
This product removed love bugs from any surface. It works by softening the attachment between the bugs and the surface. So, easily, you can just scrub off the bugs.
- Simple Green.
This product is made specifically for delicate surfaces like car windshields and windows.
And it’s quite effective for removing dirt, bugs, and any form of soil grime on the surfaces.
- BotaniGard 22WP Biological Insecticide.
This product is made from an insect-killing fungus known as Beauveria bassiana. So, that means that this BotaniGard product is eco-friendly. And it can kill and repel any species of Lovebugs in your yard or garden.
- FIA Universal Bug Screen.
With cars, there’s hardly much you do about Lovebugs. That’s because they would keep coming at you as soon as you get on the highway during their mating season.
However, you can screen off the bugs using the FIA Universal Bug screen. This product acts like a heavy-duty metallic cover on the car grill. With it, you can keep every bug and debris off your car.
Home-made Recipes to Get Rid of Love Bugs.
- Best homemade love bug repellent.
Get a spraying bottle. Inside it, mix any dishwashing soap that’s lemon-scented with hot water and mouthwash. Then, spray as needed.
Now, we know there are different dish soaps out there. But there’s a reason we recommend one with lemon scents.
Lovebugs hate the smell of anything citruses like orange, lime, or lemon. For ages now, lemon is a good insect repellent. So, you get the catch-22 now, right?
- Best Homemade Lovebug remover.
To do this, mix an equal amount of warm water, glass cleaner, and lemon-scented dishwashing soap. Bottle the cocktail in a can and spray as needed.
For a while, let the mixture soak in on the surface. Then spray again.
But as you spray the surface this time, make sure you scrub the affected area with a moderately hard brush or sponge. By the end, expect wonders.
- Best Home-made Diversion for Love Bugs.
Unlike most of the other pests that are often localized, love bugs affect many parts of the US, especially Florida. So, that means you’re not the only one with the issue and it will keep coming back to you twice a year.
So, your best action plan is to either repel the love bugs or divert them to a less-annoying section on your property.
To do this, get a white bowl filled with warm water. Add to the water some baby oil and place the bowl somewhere you will find less troubling than your porch.
Before long, the swarming love bugs will get attracted to both the heat and the white bowl. So, they move towards it and a good number of them may drown and die.
However, try to use over one bowl. Because as soon as it fills up, the love bugs would resume to other areas on your property. And that can spell a lot of damage.
How to Get Rid of Love Bugs on Your Car and Yard.
- Ensure that you begin the removal process as soon as you can.
- Resist the urge to remove the stains hurriedly with your windshield wiper and washer fluid that comes with every car. If you do, you’re in for a lot of work.
- So, on any affected surface, start by blowing off the bug parts using a high-power hose or washer.
- Then, start washing and scrubbing with a good squeegee or sponger and a liquid washer that can either be commercial or homemade.
- Earlier, we made a list of commercial removers like Super clean and Spray ‘n Wash. But you can also opt-in for homemade ones like a mixture of hot water, dish soap with lemon scent, and mouthwash.
- When homemade removers might take longer to make, you can use bounce or dryer sheets instead. To use it, allow the dryer sheet to get soaked. Then, scrub it over the windshield as hard and as many times as possible. But rinse with soapy water each time.
- With cars, you can double up your hood or bumper protection by coating it with baby oil or wax if you’d be passing an area rich in love bug activity. Likewise, you can carry a gallon of water and scrub.
Lovebugs cause a lot of expensive damage to cars and yards. To remove them, you can use commercial products like Magic Cleaner and Simple Green.
Likewise, you can opt-in for cheaper and homemade substances like dryer sheets or a cocktail of hot water and dish soaps.
However, while using any of the cleaners, make sure you start the removal process very early. Because the longer the lovebugs stay attached to the surfaces, the more damage they cause to the painting especially.