Throughout the spring and summer, March flies or love bugs in Florida are seen pretty often. Love bugs are known for gathering near cars, plants, and flowers in swarms. Though they're pretty harmless to humans, love bugs can destroy crops and automobiles which is why they're annoying. Here's what you need to know about love bugs!
If you find bugs in the car, how are you sure they're love bugs? Here's everything you need to know about love bugs in Florida:
- Love bugs are also called honeymoon flies and March flies
- They're small, red, and black insects native to Central America and are now a problem in some regions in Mexico and the southeast United States
- Love bugs have a reddish-orange abdomen, black heads, and thoraxes that are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch long
- Love bugs love to gather around cars, especially on the front car grille, radiator, or headlights in swarms
- These insects are active throughout the day because cars' heat and light attract them which can lead to collisions with vehicles' windshield
- Love bugs spent most of their life cycle in soil and peak in late May and early June
- These bugs fly in couples with the male love bug leading and the female trailing behind
- Love bugs have a relatively short lifespan of 4 to 5 days
- These insects live in gardens, wooded areas, and pastures
- Love bugs are also attracted to other light-colored objects like buildings
While love bugs in Florida don't spread diseases, they can get annoying because they swarm cars. If you're not sure if there are love bugs in your area, consult a professional pest control expert.
Just like other bugs in Florida, you can prevent a love bug infestation with a combination of methods:
- Do your research on the mating, feeding, and reproduction cycles of love bugs in their native habitat.
- Keep windows and doors closed. Since love bugs are drawn to light, keeping windows and doors closed will help keep them out of your house.
- To keep love bugs out of your home, put screens or mesh on the doors and windows.
- Avoid using light-colored paint on surfaces in the garden or your home.
- Provide birds and other natural predators homes and food to prey on love bugs in the area
- Use a bug spray or repellent if you see adult love bugs
- Check your car windshield for streaks and dead love bugs and clean them up
Be wary of love bug populations in the summer and spring. For accurate identification and treatment, it is best to speak with a professional pest management specialist if you think you may have love bugs in Florida.
How to Get Rid of Love Bugs in Florida
You can use natural methods to get rid of love bugs or chemical remedies if you have large infestations.
Natural treatments that help get rid of love bugs include:
- Essential oil: eucalyptus, lemon, and peppermint essential oils are bug repellant. Use a diffuser or a few drops of essential oil in water and use a spray bottle to protect your home or car from these bugs.
- Natural predators: by providing feeding areas for natural predators like bats and birds, you can control love bug populations
- Plant natural repellants: marigolds, citronella, and lemongrass can be planted around your house or near your car to prevent an infestation.
- Vacuum: choose any of the most popular vacuum cleaners and remove love bugs from your vehicle or around the house. Make sure to empty the vacuum cleaner bug outside.
- Soap and water: make an anti-love bug spray with water and a few drops of dish soap
- Lemon juice: combine equal parts of lemon juice and water in a spray bottle and spray the love bugs to suffocate them
- Vinegar: fill up a spray bottle with equal parts of vinegar and water and spray the insects to suffocate them
- Garlic: mince or crush fresh garlic cloves and combine with water. Spray this mixture around your house to ward off love bugs.
Here are a few chemical treatments for love bug eradication:
- Insecticides: these chemicals can be used on cars, plants, and other places where the love bugs are. Pyrethrins are frequently found in insecticides and are derived from chrysanthemums.
- Pesticides: we recommend contacting a professional pest control expert to handle and use pesticides on love bug populations. You can look for a broad-spectrum organophosphate pesticide called malathion or the synthetic pyrethroid pesticide deltamethrin for love bugs.
- Foggers: foggers can be used to eradicate large infestations in big regions but should be used by experts.
To safely use chemicals like insecticides and pesticides:
- Read and abide by the instructions on the product label.
- Wear protective gear like goggles, a mask, and gloves.
- Use the recommended amount by manufacturers.
- Use chemicals in well-ventilated areas.
- Keep these products away from food and drink
- Do not apply these solutions near water sources.
Make sure to get advice from a specialist or the entomology department at the University of Florida if you have any questions about love bugs in Florida.
You can avail of professional pest control services to identify love bugs, diagnose the seriousness of an infestation, use special equipment and chemical products that require a license, monitor love bug populations, and put together a prevention strategy.
Do your homework and check a company's credentials and reviews before hiring a professional. Also, remember that these pest control services are an investment.
When To Call a Professional Exterminator
You may have to call in expert help to deal with love bugs in Florida if:
- The infestation is serious and out of your hands
- You used DIY methods and they didn't work
- You have questions about how to use chemical solutions
- You're allergic to the love bugs in Florida
Bottom Line: Love Bugs in Florida
Love bugs, honeymoon flies, or March flies are a pretty common occurrence in Florida. This pest is an insect that is drawn to moving cars and will often fly right into windshields. Love bugs in Florida are definitely a nuisance but they can be taken care of.
While we strongly recommend using natural repellents and management techniques, you can reach out to a professional pest control expert for chemical alternatives to control the love bug population and prevent infestations.
Love Bugs in Florida FAQs
What do love bugs look like in Florida?
Love bugs are tiny, bugs that have reddish-orange abdomens, a black head, and a thorax. These pests usually thrive in the spring or summer and are about 1/4 to 1/2 inches long.
Why are love bugs drawn to vehicles?
Moving cars produce heat and are often light colors which attract love bugs. As a result, they'll crash into vehicles and leave streaks behind.
Are love bugs harmful to humans?
No, love bugs don't carry any diseases so they're not harmful to humans.
How can you avoid love bugs?
You can close windows and doors in the summer or spring, use screens or mesh, bug spray, and avoid light-colored paint to avoid love bugs in Florida.
How can I check for love bugs in Florida?
You can look for love bugs in Florida in swarms around lights, wooded areas, pastures, and gardens.
How can love bugs be repelled naturally?
Marigolds, citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint oil, soap vinegar, and garlic spray can all be used as natural repellents for love bugs.
What are the chemical treatments for getting rid of love bugs?
You can use insecticides, pesticides, and foggers to get rid of love bugs, but should only be used in accordance with the instructions on the product label or by an expert pest control specialist. The chemicals that can control this species include pyrethrins, malathion, and deltamethrin.
How may love bugs be treated with insecticides safely?
Always use insecticides as instructed by manufacturers, wear protective gear, and keep the area well-ventilated.
When is hiring a qualified exterminator necessary?
You can hire an expert pest control professional if you're allergic to love bugs, DIY methods didn't work, or you cannot find the source of the infestation.
How does a certified Florida exterminator handle love bugs?
A seasoned expert pest control specialist can diagnose the current infestation, use equipment, and chemical remedies, as well as employ preventive measures.
Are professional love bug treatments more expensive than home remedies?
Yes, paying for professional love bug treatment is more expensive than using DIY or natural remedies.