It’s February and romance is in the air. On Valentine’s Day, we take the time to share with our special someone how much they mean to us with flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, stuffed animals, special nights out-on-the-town and possibly some jewelry thrown in the mix. In the midst of Valentine’s Day, with all of the amorous atmosphere and lovey-dovey goings on, love bugs and kissing bugs are looking for that special someone to be their Valentine. Interested? Check out their dating profiles on BzzzSingles.com.
Name: Lovebug, nicknames include nuisance pest, honeymoon fly, united fly and other names with “expletives that are not repeatable,” according to the University of Florida’s EDIS site.
- Location: the Southern United States, especially the gulf coast and Central America. Originally from Central America, lovebugs are thought to have landed in North America in shipping containers by way of Galveston, TX or New Orleans, LA. Most likely seen in South Florida as swarms of quarter-inch black flies with luxurious wings and sexy crimson thoraxes, lovebugs like March and September the best.
- Looking For: Another adventure-seeking lovebug to mate with and fly around near highways in heavy traffic. Soulmate must love sandy sites with adequate moisture, dead leaves, grass clippings, cow manure, other decomposing organic debris and UV irradiated aldehydes, a major component of automobile exhaust fumes that smell just like decaying matter. Must enjoy the heat, make it 84° F and it’s on.
- Hobbies: Swarming near highways, baking on cars, grills and liquid-cooled engines, pitting your car paint, making a complete nuisance of themselves, at least twice a year. While they’re a huge bother to motorists and homeowners, as they also enjoy sticking to light surfaces, preferably freshly painted, lovebugs don’t bite, sting or cause any health threats to humans or pets. They’re also not easy to eliminate.
- Fun Fact: Contrary to popular urban myth, lovebugs weren’t created in the lab by a University of Florida experiment gone awry. Fake news has it that in an attempt to produce a mosquito predator, a lovebug pair, escaped from the lab and landed on your car.
The best way to reduce your run-ins with lovebugs is to keep driving on busy roads to a minimum in March and September, between the hours of 10 AM and 6 PM, in temps above 84° F. Wash your car immediately after a lovebug encounter. In your home, keeping your air-conditioner fan running during these times can keep lovebugs out of your home. Contact a professional pest control company, such as Hulett, a local family business and one of the top 20 pest control companies in the US, to schedule a free pest inspection and show you how to pest-proof your home and property.
Our other love-seeker is looking for an exciting love date with a certain Dracula flair.
Name: Kissing Bugs, nicknames include vampire bugs, conenose bugs and assassin bugs.
- Location: Originally found in Latin and Central America, kissing bugs have now spread to 28 US states that include Florida, Louisiana, Texas and most southern states. Known in Latin America as barbeiros, chinches, vinchucas and pitos, kissing bugs have pear-shaped, one-inch long bodies, with sassy brown, red or yellow stripes and one pair of transparent wings. Nocturnal, sleeping out of sight during the day, lovebugs enjoy nights out. Attracted to flying near lights, in and around your home, kissing bugs carry trypanosoma cruzi parasites, in their digestive tract that can enter the bloodstream and trigger Chagas Disease.
- Looking for: Someone who digs warm bodies at rest and exhaled carbon monoxide, a good blood meal and staying out late. Outdoorsy type that gets into a good woodpile and also delights in frequenting chicken coops, and goat corrals. Must love to crawl into crevices in beds and cracks in walls for some quiet time before dinner.
- Hobbies: Transmitting Chagas Disease through excretions in uncooked food, laboratory accidents or infected organ donor transplants. Causing a stir! Shaking it up! In reality, the likelihood of kissing bugs infecting humans and pets with Chagas is improbable, at best.
- Fun Fact: In 1909, a Brazilian physician and epidemiologist named Carlos Justiniano Ribeiro Chagas described a parasite he found in the intestines of people who lived in a rural area of the Amazon – hence the name.
Exclusion is the best prevention plan for kissing bugs, as well as practicing vigilance in cleaning in and around your home. Removing rock piles and other clutter from your yard can reduce kissing bug activity. When removing a kissing bug from your home, the CDC warns against touching the insect with your bare hands but instead, picking it up with a plastic bag and drowning it in alcohol.
With Hulett’s Healthy Home approach you won’t be worried about kissing bugs and lovebugs this Valentine’s Day. With 45 years of pest-proofing experience in South Florida homes and businesses, Hulett’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system takes care of your home and loved ones with the most environmentally responsible methods and materials, tailored for your lifestyle. This Valentine’s Day, give the gift that keeps on giving.