Love Bug Population Increase Due to Alabama’s Weather Conditions
Love bugs are everywhere and people are complaining.
“I’m wondering what is it that brought them back, because whatever it is, I wish it would take them back from where they came from,” Sue Thomas said.
Other Pike County residents agree.
“They’re on the car, the house. I have to sweep my porch every morning of dead love bugs, and they’re back there again the next morning,” Brenda Scrushy said.
We wanted to know what was causing an increase in the bug’s population this year. Doctor Alvin Diamond is an assistant professor of Biology and teaches Entomology, or the study of bugs, on Troy University’s campus. He says the current weather conditions in Alabama are contributing to the increase in the pesky fly.
“When it’s dry, that kills off a lot of them. But in years we’ve had plenty of rainfall, they survive to adulthood,” Diamond said.
He explained that the love bugs don’t feed, but the larva eat rotting vegetation and grass. Love bugs typically do not have a predator because of their acidic bodies.
“When they get mashed, the fluids out of their body are slightly acidic. They will eat any type of metal or paint and they can cause some damage,” Diamond explained.
The bugs’ acidic body is helping businesses like Espree Car Wash in Troy see up to a 15 to 20 percent income spike. However, more work is having to be put in to cleaning and detailing the vehicles.
“It delays you from cleaning a car up about 15 more extra minutes, because they have to place more emphasis on the bugs and really scrub and use a lot of chemicals to remove them,” Espree Car Wash owner Jeffery Knox said. He says his business is advising customers to make sure to get the bugs off their vehicles immiediately to avoid damage to paint.
As far as a remedy to keep lovebugs away, Diamond says there’s not much that can help.
“There’s not really any way to specifically get rid of them because they’re not really feeding on anything, so you can’t put out any sort of bait like that.”
According to diamond, the love bug was originally found in Mexico and Central America, but were collected in America in 1940 and have moved northward since.