Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Whole Lotta Lovin Going On

It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of bugs! Remember this post: http://familosinsweethomealabama.blogspot.com/2007/07/its-bugs-life.html As summer comes to an end and fall approaches, I find myself looking forward to a few less pests. Wishful thinking I suppose as September is apparently “Love Bug” Season.


After conducting a little research, I discovered that love bugs are not bugs at all but rather small black flies with red thoraxes called Plecia nearctica. “Upon reaching maturity the love bug spends the entirety of its life copulating with its mate, hence its romantic name. The male and female attach themselves at the rear of the abdomen and remain that way at all times, even in flight. In fact, after mating, the male dies and is dragged around by the female until she lays her eggs (Wikipedia).”

“Copulatory behavior begins with the male darting and grasping a female that is flying through the swarm. The pair falls to the ground where they couple. Initially the male is positioned on the back of the female and both sexes face the same direction. After coupling, the male turns 180° and faces the opposite direction (Denmark, H.A. and Mead, F.W.).” As one might imagine there is intense competition among males for females at emergence sites. Just like a typical male, the male love bugs fight for one last fatal fling with the sex goddess. I guess if you have to go, this way is better than most!



(These pictures were taken in our back yard. Looks like I caught them after doing the deed since the male is turned around! I have to admit, I felt a little voyeurish capturing these pictures)

“Although their behavior and their common name may be amusing, their presence in such large numbers can be somewhat of a nuisance. Cars driving through these aerial orgies become spattered with these loving bugs. As a result, radiator fins may become clogged causing cars to over-heat. Insects spattered on the windshields (click here for picture) can obscure vision, and if the dead insects are not cleaned off, they can ruin the car's finish” due to their highly acidic body chemistry (Drees, Bastiaan).

I can attest to the danger of driving through swarms of love bugs. I was driving home from Dothan late one afternoon last week and it appeared as though it were raining love bugs. As the suicidal pairs of love bugs splattered their love potion all over my windshield, not even my washer fluid could touch, let alone remove, the remains of this potent love juice. I drove home through the smeared streaks of what looked like some concoction of Love Potion Number 9.

Urban legend has it that these overly amorous bugs were the result of a genetic experiment to rid the world of mosquitos gone wrong. Acording to Snopes.com, this legend is false. See for yourself: http://www.snopes.com/critters/lurkers/lovebugs.asp. They apparently migrated from Central America and now swarm the Gulfcoast region twice a year, first in late spring, then again in late summer for a period of 4 to 5 weeks.

Yet another reason to love Lower Alabama or LA, as it is so cleverly called. Not only do I have deal with these pesky, sex-crazed critters during what is normally my favorite time of year, I have to scrape them off of my windshield after an afternoon drive and explain to my five-year-old son why they are, um, connected together. Rather than explain that these bugs are “copulating”, as one source claims, and that the female is such a sex goddess that she kills her mate with her sexual prowess and then drags him around for good measure, I simply tell him that they are two-headed bugs!!! :)

3 comments:

Amy said...

Two headed bugs, huh? Once Dad told me that he was in WW3 and I went to 4th grade proudly telling my whole class that it was true -- we really did have a 3rd WW. Mom still won't forgive him for that!

Of course that's better than telling him the truth. Once Molly and the neighbor dog got a little "busy" in front of the kids while grown ups were chatting and not paying attention. That started MONTHS of questions from Chase about breeding. Not fun.

Sarah said...

lol...I wish I had a picture of you outside trying to take a picture of lovebugs. I'm sure it wasn't hard, those little freaks are everywhere. Sean told me about the new pet in the Familo household. No comment. :-) Give's me the willies just thinking about it. Talk to you later and I hope you enjoyed your weekend, and the one day we actually have husband's. Sunday, now known as Studyday, doesn't count.

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

Love bugs are my evil nemesis! Their goo and dead bodies are everywhere. This year was actually better than the past two years as far as love bugs go.

Where abouts in LA do you live...you can email me your answer if you want. playgroupie@gmail.com