Love Bugs Not So Lovely
Theyíre not named Herbie, a VW Bug that starred in a series of classic Disney movies. Theyíre not particularly a favorite in any region, but twice a year, they are seen everywhere in the air, and on your car. Yes folks, itís that love bug time of year, and theyíve been around for decades.
A member of the family of march flies, the lovebugís scientific name is Plecia nearctica, and they were first recognized in 1940 in Texas. They were first common in parts of Central America and the southeast U.S., especially along states that border the Gulf of Mexico. They travel in what is called flights that last up to five weeks, twice a year; once in the spring and once in the late summer. The lifespan of these lovebugs is quite short, with adult females living only three or four days, and the adult males, just a little longer.
They donít bite and they donít sting, so theyíre not especially bothersome to us. However, they can definitely be a problem for cars. These flights like to hover near highways, which means they die in large numbers when theyíre hit by cars. That explains the unsavory remains that hit your carís windshield, hood and grill. Itís bad enough when that happens, but the problem escalates if you donít remove them from your car sooner than later. Although their body chemistry is neutral, it becomes acidic the longer it remains on your car, and itís that body chemistry change that leads to damage, from paint to leaving pits. Thankfully, the advances over the years in automotive paints and finishes have mostly eliminated that problem, but don\'t leave them on too long. Your bigger worry has more to do with the clogging of your carís radiator passages, which can cause overheating of your engine and malfunction of your air conditioner.
Removing these lovely pests is simpler than you think. Common household items can be used to remove the bugs. One: dryer sheets. Simply wet them and wipe the bugs off your car. Just be careful not to rub too hard as it can damage your carís clear coat finish. Liquid products that work to remove these bugs include bug and tar remover, Simple Green, WD-40 and dish liquid. A helpful hint: rinse the affected area first, and use a netted sponge. Once thatís done, itís best to then wash your entire car and rinse thoroughly. A great way to help protect your car is to wax it, and use Rain-X for problem areas. For quick protection before a trip to Tampa or Miami, Spray the front of your car with a furniture product like Pledge. It would help.
Johnny Nocera has been on the radio airwaves in Southwest Florida with ďDr. Johnnyís Car ClinicĒ WGUF New Radio 98.9 FM every Saturday morning from 9-10 for over 27 years. He also owns, along with his sons Jr. and Jimmy, Supreme Auto and Collision located in downtown Naples, and has been in business for more than 38 years.