Road Rants: Why lovebugs adore rush hours

Road Rants

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – This week’s Road Rants is probably one most Floridians have twice a year: Lovebugs, the bug we love to hate.

Entomologists, or the people who study bugs, say lovebugs love rush hour! Or at least it seems that way.

There are a couple of reasons why.

First, female love bugs usually emerge from grassy areas between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The male lovebugs are there to greet them. That’s why you’ll see swarms more frequently at these times.

Lovebugs are also attracted to exhaust fumes. That’s double trouble for drivers.

Lovebug expert Dr. Norm Leppala with the University of Florida says the white splatter you’ll see on your windshield is lovebug eggs. And, he says, the eggs and bug splatter technically don’t damage paint because lovebugs aren’t acidic or basic, they’re neutral.

Leppala explains the problem arises when lovebug smoosh is heated by the sun and microorganisms grow, which can damage vehicle paint.

His advice is to soak your car for about five minutes, which will loosen the bugs. Then scrub your vehicle. Leppala says to do this as soon as possible.

I asked Leppala if he thinks any of the home remedies for lovebug removal works, or if he’d recommend them.

He says the technique many people use, a wet drier sheet, is useful for cleaning windshields. However, he says drier sheets contaminated with lovebugs will leave behind a sticky residue, and it’s important to follow up with a clean rag.

As for various cleaning product remedies you might read about online, Leppala has concerns that some products may result in paint damage. It’s best to stick with regular car-cleaning products and use the soak-and-scrub method.

Making sure your car is waxed will make cleaning easier, as well.

What’s driving you crazy on the road? Send your Road Rants to me at mcensullo@wfla.com or through Facebook at WFLA Meredyth.

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