Love bugs good for parish

September 27, 2007 at 8:23 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

There is not doubt that love bugs can be annoying insects.

Not only do they congregate along highways and constantly serve as food for windshields and grills of trucks and automobiles, but they enjoy swarming around homes and pestering area residents.

However, parish entomologist Steve Polovich says that those little annoying insects are actually good for the environment.

"If you have a large hatch of them, the rain and humidity makes them breed and the adults feed on nectar and plant juices, but they are not harmful," Polovich said. "They help to break down decaying vegetation."

Love bugs are seasonal insects that appear in our area twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Polovich says that the decaying material that the bugs feed off of helps to fertilize the soil, which in turns causes plant growth. Because of that, Polovich says that the parish does not spray for love bugs. Instead, they spray only at night and only for mosquitoes.

While the insects may not be harmful to people, they can harm automobiles. They can clog up radiators, causing cars to overheat, and they can also ruin a car's paint. Of course, those little insects can also impair driving if enough of them swarm around an area.

To deal with the problem, Polovich suggest checking with a lawn and garden center for a pesticide that can repel the insects.

"There's probably repellent products that deal with love bugs," Polovich said. "Pet control professionals don't normally kill the love bugs."

The Louisiana Agricultural Center offers these tips to clean the pesky insects off cars.

- Be sure to stop and clean your windows or be sure you have cleaner in the window washer

- Those on the body of the car can be cleaned off by wetting them thoroughly and spraying a little soap on them and scrubbing with a soft cloth. Or, wet them and use a fabric softener sheet to remove them

- Be sure to flush off the radiator to prevent overheating when going through dense flights of these little bugs

Splattered bugs should be washed off as soon as possible. Soaking for several minutes with water makes the mess easier to remove. When the remains are left on a car for several days, the finish may be permanently damaged. In addition, Polovich says that a screen can be placed in front of the grill to keep radiator fins from clogging while protecting the front of the car.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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