Lovebugs in Florida
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Lovebugs in Florida

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The Lovebug in Florida:

The Lovebug in Florida:
Setting the Record Straight

J.P. Cuda and N.C. Leppla
University of Florida/IFAS

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Lovebugs in Florida Lovebugs in Florida Presentation Transcript

  • The Lovebug in Florida: Setting the Record Straight J. P. Cuda and N. C. Leppla
  • Adult Lovebugs on Flowers
    • Lovebugs were released by UF entomologists as part of an experiment that failed
    • Lovebugs eat mosquitoes
    • NOT!!!
    True or False?
    • Lovebugs are not bugs but flies
      • Order Hemiptera- “True bugs”
      • Order Diptera- “Flies”
        • Family Bibionidae- March flies
    • Lovebug has other names
      • Honeymoon bug
      • Plecia nearctica Hardy
      • $@#%&@%$# !!!!!!!
    Did You Know ?
    • Lovebugs are not native to the US
      • Emigrated from Central America into Texas
    • Lovebugs spread east along Gulf Coast
      • Louisiana- 1920s
      • Mississippi-1940- type locality
      • Alabama- early 1940s ?
      • South Carolina- 1975
    Did You Know ?
  • Distribution of Lovebugs Map
    • Lovebugs did not appear in Florida until the late 1940s
    • Lovebugs entered Florida from the Panhandle and eventually migrated southward
    Did You Know ?
  • Lovebug Invasion of Florida
  • Lovebug Invasion of Florida
  • Lovebug Invasion of Florida
  • Lovebug Invasion of Florida
  • Lovebug Invasion of Florida
    • Immature or larval stage of the lovebug is a maggot
    Did You Know ?
    • Lovebug larvae require several months to develop into adults
      • Oct to April- Spring generation
      • May to September- Fall generation
    • Lovebug larvae are beneficial
      • Recycle decaying organic matter
      • Large numbers found under cow manure
    Did You Know ?
    • Female lovebugs larger than males
      • Deposit ca. 350 eggs
    • Adult lovebugs live only 3- 4 days
    • Lovebugs separate on vegetation but not in flight or at night
    • Male lovebug’s eyes 4X larger than the female’s
      • Help locate potential mates
    Did You Know ?
    • Mating begins when females fly into a swarm of hovering males between 8-10 AM or 4-5 PM
    • Larger males near bottom of swarms have greater mating success
    • Up to 8 males compete for 1 female
    • Mating lasts up ca. 56 hrs
      • (or until smashed by a vehicle)
    Did You Know ?
    • Several factors contribute to the lovebug problem
      • Improved pastures (thatch) & cattle production (manure)
      • Reduction in annual burning of woodlands and leaf litter
      • Banning of DDT for insect control in mid-1960s
    Did You Know ?
    • Lovebug mating flights:
      • Occur Apr-May & Aug-Sept
      • Reach altitudes of 1500 ft
      • Extend several miles over the Gulf of Mexico
      • Cover 25% of Florida’s land area
      • Occur between 10 AM & 4 PM at a temperature above 82 o F
    Did You Know ?
  • Lovebug Flight Activity Leppla et al. (1974)
    • Lovebugs congregate at highway intersections, traffic lights, filling stations, and truck stops
    • Are attracted to exhaust fumes (formaldehyde), hot engines, and vehicle vibrations
    Did You Know ?
    • Lovebugs have natural enemies
      • Birds eat larvae
      • Spiders eat adults
      • Humans (vehicles kill adults)
    • Lovebugs are economically important
      • Bees do not visit flowers infested with lovebugs
      • Clog vehicle radiators, damage paint
    Did You Know ?
    • Authors: J. P. Cuda and N. C. Leppla, IFAS
    • University of Florida
    • Images: Mike Sanford, University of Florida
    • Detailed Information on the Lovebug is Available on the Featured Creatures Web Site
    • http: //creatures.ifas.ufl.edu
    • Entomology & Nematology Department Copyright University of Florida 2002
    • http: //entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu
    Acknowledgements