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The season between summer and autumn

Okay…one could argue that we don’t really have seasons around here.  One could argue—and I frequently have—that we have three flavors of summer: Summer’s Coming, Summer’s HERE, and OMG, it’s STILL Summer!  Then, in January, the outside temperature drops into the sixties, I open the windows, and pretend that I’m back in Michigan with the furnace struggling to keep the living room comfortable.

But, after fifteen years and despite my best efforts otherwise, I’ve acclimated. When I go outside, I know that it’s not STILL Summer, it’s July, August will feel different, and there’s an extra season in the middle of September: the season of the Love Bugs. Technically, it’s the second coming of the Love Bugs, since they also appear in May, but the May swarm always seems smaller and only last about two weeks. The September swarm is epic

They don’t bite or sting. They don’t even make that high-pitched gnat/mosquito whine. All they do is mate with each other…for days. According to the University of Florida, the 1/4″ males fly low in search of the 1/3″ females and when they find them, they latch on — butt to butt. Then they’re off, in the air…on the move, for two, maybe three days: a bit over 1/2″ worth of insect with two heads, two sets of wings and absolutely no sense of direction!.

Other bugs get out of the way, but not love bugs. If there’s a  pair of love bugs hovering in the air in front of you (it’s almost always a pair and theyhover well…I think it has something to do with the two sets of wings pointed in opposite directions) the only way it’s going to get out of your way is if you swing wide and give it a shove. If you don’t give it a shove, you wind up with it staggering around on your face, your hair, your clothes, etc.

If it were just one pair of love bugs, but it’s swarms of them: hundred of them, thousands…hundreds of thousands of them, drifting together, drifting toward your CAR–because for reasons no one can explain to me, the only things love bugs love more than each other is pavement and cars. For three weeks in September, when I head for my car, I head into a swarm of love bugs and when I drive down a road it’s like driving a steady drizzle, except the windshield wipers only make matters worse, turning splotches into streaks.

The whole front end winds up looking like it’s got a particularly unpleasant, fuzzy, fungal infection. The headlights are no longer as bright as they were. And if you’re really unlucky, they’ll clog your radiator grill and overheat your engine!

Needless to say, the carwash emporiums do land-office business during love bug season.

But I think maybe love-bug season is coming to an end. When I went out today, there were only a handful hovering over the windshield. The season of It’s STILL Summer is at hand!

5 comments to The season between summer and autumn

  • Some Northern friends came to visit us one May, and we took them on a tour around a State Park. I will never forget one continuing to try to fight off the love bugs the whole time we were outside, shouting, “STOP HAVING SEX ON ME!”. 😉

  • Lynn

    Ah…life in the Sunshine State! That’s definitely the best love-bug reaction I’ve heard and so very true!

  • Teegan

    I lived in Southeast Texas most of my life until 1997 when I moved to Maryland, where we don NOT have love bugs. And I really don’t miss them at all. I used to drive from Houston to Port Arthur to see my family, through the marshes, and after 2 hours at highway speed the car would covered in’em. I never could figure out how they managed to fly when they were facing opposite directions.

  • joekc6nlx

    I used to live in Bellview, just south of Ocala. I rode a motorcycle since that was my only transportation. I just loved the season, especially when the mirror stem on my handlebar would meet up with a hovering pair. Washing was out of the question until I got home or got to work.

  • Lynn

    They’re so much larger than the “blind mosquitoes” that follow them (perhaps I should have said we have TWO seasons between summer and winter?) The air had begun to clear and the skies turn the brilliant blue of November (how odd to live in a place where November is the most glorious month of the year) when Sandy arrived. We’ve seen little rain and the wind would be normal for Oklahoma, but gray skies since Wednesday…that’s one huge storm out there. I worry for my friends in the Northeast.