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Teachable Moment


Where do love bugs come from?

Lovebugs (Plecia nearctica) are small- to medium-sized flies found in Central America and the southeastern U.S. Also known as the honeymoon fly, they’re almost constantly mating. They don’t even stop while flying or eating!

Despite urban myths, experts say love bugs were not produced in a cloning experiment, they did not escape from a research facility, and they were not bioengineered to attack mosquitoes. Bug specialists say the bugs migrated from Central America to Texas in the mid 1920s and by the 1940s, they had arrived in Florida.

These insects have a short lifespan, living just a couple of weeks total. In that short time, they have time to hatch, develop from larvae into adults, eat, mate, and die. They hatch in gigantic droves twice per year and mate constantly during this time since the survival of their species depends on their having a lot of offspring. Their sole purpose appears to be flying, mating and laying eggs.

Love bugs can cause some damage. When their acid-filled bodies squash onto cars, they attract bacteria. The mix of the bacteria and acid can etch paint and ruin the finish.

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