It is almost lovebug (Plecia nearctica) season in North Florida and you may have noticed a few more of these strange looking bugs flying around.
The Life of a Lovebug
Lovebugs are flies that are black with a red spot on their backs and harmless to people. You may notice them as a single insect or attached together. Lovebugs that are attached are mating, which can take up to 12 hours. The female then lays eggs on the soil or just under leaf litter. Lovebugs tend to live near pastures with bahiagrass, moist areas, and wooded areas. They prefer areas with consistent moisture and some shade and usually found near roadsides. North Florida typically has two lovebug seasons in May and September. Luckily, adult lovebugs tend to hang around for only about 4 weeks.
Where Did They Come From?
The first record of lovebugs is from Escambia County in 1949. They migrated from Central America through Texas and finally into Florida. Lovebugs have now been found in all Southern states and as far north as North Carolina.
Do They have a Purpose?
Many people wonder if lovebugs have a purpose. The y don’t bite, eat plants, or seem to do much of anything except be a nuisance. While the adult lovebug may not seem very helpful, the larvae are actually play a role in the ecosystem. Lovebugs lay their eggs in leaf litter and on the soil surface. The eggs hatch and the baby lovebugs then feed on decaying materials, causing this material to breakdown further. It is an important function for soil development.