16 September 2012
Lovebugs (plecia neartica) are related to flies (Diptera), and, if you're like me, you forget about them until they emerge and begin mating. That's what I've been seeing this week. They usually have two life cycles per year - in the spring and now, in the fall. Females deposit their eggs in damp areas - ditches, swamps, etc. After hatching, the larva live in grassy areas, feeding on decaying plant material. After the larva go through several stages, they pupate for about eight days, emerging as an adult after that.
Females live for about four days, and males a little longer, so it's very important that they find each other and mate - As we have all seen, they seem to spend their whole adult life attached. Since they are a problem only twice a year (three in Florida), there hasn't been a lot of research put into controlling them. Not a lot is known about the larval stages on this insect. It is suspected that various fungi act as a biological control.
So what can be done about them? Not much. They're not around long enough do anything. The drought we're having probably helps, but not if you live near water, like we all do. Just know that fall has arrived.