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Love Bug Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from love bugs by learning techniques for identification and control.

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Plecia nearctica
6 - 9 mm
Honeymoon fly or double-headed bug
Black body, red thorax

Love Bugs Treatment

How do I get rid of love bugs?

What Orkin Does

Orkin is trained to help manage love bugs and similar pests. For more information on getting rid of love bugs, call your local Orkin branch. These helpful tips may also help reduce love bugs and prevent them from swarming around your home or car.

  • Remove all stagnant water, mow the yard regularly, and clean up yard debris to prevent love bug populations from increasing. Love bug larvae can’t survive as grass thatch dries out and stagnant water sources are removed.

  • Travel at night to help avoid love bugs since they reach peak activity at mid-morning and stop flying at dusk.

  • Make a DIY love bug repellent by mixing 3 tablespoons of mouthwash and 3 tablespoons of citrus dish soap into 1 cup of water. Use a spray bottle to apply on plants, walls, and any other affected areas.

  • Use fans to deter flying love bugs and a vacuum to physically remove them.

  • Foggers and aerosol insecticides designed for quick knockdown of adult love bugs may provide temporary relief since foggers disperse quickly and soon lose their effectiveness. Love bug flights may last for several weeks, so multiple treatments with foggers and other pest control products are required throughout the flight periods.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Love Bugs

What do love bugs look like?

Love bugs are small black flies with a dull, somewhat velvety appearance. The top of the body behind the head is red. Both adults and love bug larvae are about 3/8-inch long; adults have smoky-colored wings and larvae are gray in color with dark-colored heads.

Love Bugs Life Cycle

Female love bugs lay 100-350 eggs that are deposited underneath debris and decaying vegetation. After about 20 days, the larvae hatch and feed on the decaying plant vegetation. Once the larvae mature and have stopped feeding on the decomposing vegetation, they pupate, or mature into their next stage. There are two generations of love bugs each year, and large adult populations are present during May and September. In warmer climates, such as Florida and other Gulf Coast states, the generations during the summer are significantly shorter than the winter generations since the rate at which the larvae pupate increases as the temperature increases. The adults live just long enough to mate, feed, disperse, and lay another batch of eggs — about three to four days.

What do love bugs eat?

Love bug larvae develop under and feed on dead, partially decayed plant material, particularly in moist to damp areas in pastures and under cow manure. The larvae act as a “composter” in their natural habitat by converting plant material into nutrients that can be used by the plants. Adults will also consume nectar from various plants such as clover and goldenrod. The largest populations of love bugs are found in grassy habitats including areas with Bahia grass, pastures, and roadsides.

Where do love bugs live?

Love bug populations are well established in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the southeastern US including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Texas.

Why are love bugs stuck together?

The purpose of the love bug swarm is for the males and females to find a mate, join together, and reproduce. The mating swarm is most dense at about 1-5 feet above the ground; however, swarms can be as high as 20 feet above the ground.

Males hover over the females by orienting themselves with the wind to ease the difficulty of flight. Larger males often dominate the bottom of the swarm in competition to get a healthy female to mate with. Male love bugs prefer larger, heavier females because they provide a better likelihood of reproducing. As the females emerge from vegetation, males immediately swoop down to grasp one. At times, males will grasp a female that is already mating with another male. As many as 10 males have been observed holding onto one female, each attempting to mate with her. After finding a match, both the male and female love bugs come to rest on the vegetation below the swarm and finish their mating process.

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