The Truth About Love Bugs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

The Truth About Love Bugs

They come around twice a year; they travel in packs; and they force you to wash your car more than you may want. We're talking about love bugs. But are the bugs beneficial or simply a nuisance?  

"Love bugs are actually flies related to mosquitoes and biting midis. But they don't bite," says David Held an entomologist with the Mississippi State University.

Held says while the bugs don't sting or bite, they could cause damage to your car.

The initial splat of the bug won't cause you any harm but as time progresses love bugs become acidic and will eat away at the paint after 24 hours.

Held says there are some benefits to the bugs.

"Love bugs as an adult we don't get any benefit from, it's the immature stage. The little manget that lives in the grassy areas, they are decomposers," Held said.

An old folklore claimed the love bugs were a biological control for mosquitos. Held says that has never been the case. 

He says in its adult stage, the bug is drawn to exhaust, which is why you will find them on highways.

Because the bugs can't survive in cooler temperaturs, Held says we can expect love bugs to linger around the coast for about two more weeks. Then south Mississippians can take a break from the bugs until next spring.

By Elise Roberts

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