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The Lovebug

In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about the Lovebug, also known as Plecia nearctica.

While we in the Midwest are not prone to these little buggers, if you are traveling to the Southern United States at all this year, especially during the months of May and September, you will want to look out for the Lovebug.

Despite it’s cutesy nickname, this species of fly is not cute.

These flies are small and black, often considered to have a velvety textured appearance and spotted with a bright red area behind the head.

While the Lovebug is not dangerous, they can be pesky for drivers. This species can be found buzzing along highways and often become mashed on windshields and car hoods.

They may in fact pose a problem because Lovebugs can clog radiators, limit visibility, and muddle the car’s exterior paint.

With a nickname like Lovebug, you can imagine that the Pliecia nearctica have their fair share of folklore. And, they do— One legend says that entomologists from the University of Florida created this pesky, harmless bug and accidentally released them in the 1950’s.

Of course, this tall tale is just that, a tall tale. The Plecia nearactica came to Florida and other Southern states via the Gulf Coast.


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