Love is in the Air

We just survived another life and death experience in Florida: The annual invasion of the love bugs. These innocuously named creatures seem to have no beneficial purpose in life. They look like fireflies, but instead of glowing in the dark, they just crowd your space all day long. When they hatch, there are dozens of them per square foot, creating a nuisance, as I will describe below.

As they emerge into the world, they immediately seek the companionship of the opposite sex. Hence “love bugs.” The smaller male attaches himself to his larger female mate, tail to tail and they fly around with her in the lead and him in tow. (Sara assumes that she leads because he’s afraid to ask for directions.) When I first saw them in the air, it reminded me of a comment made by an irate divorcee at a singles forum many years ago. She got up in front of hundreds of eligible men and women and angrily proclaimed, “Men are emotional cripples, that have to be lead around by the  . . . !” At the time, I dismissed the comment as having no basis in fact. Now I have reason to believe otherwise. But I’m digressing.

You can’t imagine the mess these little buggers make. A short trip to the grocery store leaves your windshield, bumper, and hood covered with hundreds of crushed bodies, embraced to each other and cemented to your car. Bike riding is even more difficult. They’re on your arms, legs and chest, procreating away. If you open your mouth, they perceive it as a tunnel of love. And you certainly don’t want that happening in your mouth!

These plague-like swarms are an amazing thing to see. Hundreds of thousands of them are in the air, wandering aimlessly in search of some unknown destination. The female is doing all the work, pulling the male along backwards in their love ritual. What he thinks is erotic ecstasy is actually airsickness. And when they splatter on your windshield, what you think is love serum is really his lunch.