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!