Invasive Species: The Florida Lovebug

Anyone living in Florida will know about the lovebug also known as the most obnoxious invasive species on earth. They’re worthless, are practically inedible to prey, and worst of all, they plaster your cars with extremely difficult to remove bug guts that if not cleaned off immediately will destroy your paint.

After having lived so long in Florida I’ve always wondered about the truth of where they came from. There has always been a rumor stating that they were engineered at the University of Florida as an experiment to get rid of mosquitoes. This is not true. They are actually a species common to Central America and southeastern United States. The lovebug is capable of flying to far distances for several days and by the end of the 20th century the lovebug migrated from Central America to areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Georgia, and South Carolina. You see them around their “flights”, one being during late August and September and on another that is during late April and May. The lovebug is attracted to heat and decomposing plant debris, but confuse these odors with exhaust fumes. This causes them to congregate around streets and highways.

Now, the lovebug isn’t completely useless. The larvae feed on decaying vegetation that is very crucial to the environment. Unlike the acidic adult, the lovebug larvae are food for birds, spiders, and other important wildlife. The lovebug has also, believe it or not, started businesses.  Their destructive bug splatter has brought forth the production of special automotive paint and protective coating companies.

Overall, the lovebug may not be so bad. They don’t bite, sting, or carry diseases. They’re just very annoying…


5 thoughts on “Invasive Species: The Florida Lovebug

  1. It’s really interesting to see that a strange, seemingly useless species of an ecosystem impacts the environment so much as you said it decomposes vegetation most likely converting it into something that composes soil and is an important part of the food chain, for without it, everything wouldn’t die off necessarily, but every other species in the ecosystem’s fitness and survivability would decrease.

  2. Oh wow, I remember those things! One year, I think when I was a freshmen, there were swarms everywhere! Everyone’s cars would be splattered black from them!

  3. Worst bugs ever! I remember when I was a freshmen I was helping my friends move out of the dorms, EVERYONE of there boxes was covered with these bugs!

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