Living in Louisiana comes with its fair share of bug experiences. Gnats, mosquitos, and horseflies are just some of the insects residents run into in their day to day life. Perhaps none are as universally detested as a species of March fly known as the lovebug.

The slow-moving insect is infamous among residents for being a major pain. They define a time of year when car hoods, grills and windshields are riddled with a veritable wall of lovebug carcasses.

There is, however, a bit of mystery and misconception surrounding the origin of the lovebug.

One common myth about lovebugs is that they were genetically engineered by scientists at the University of Florida in the 1940s, to combat the mosquito population. In reality, the lovebugs migrated in the early 20th century, from Central America to the Southern United States, adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, according to the University of Florida’s Department of Entomology.

Why lovebugs seem to congregate in great plumes above the roads is a question pondered by those who are plagued by them. The reason for this is that they live and lay their eggs in the ditches alongside roads. LSU AgCenter Entomologist Dr. Dennis Ring said, “Lovebugs feed on decaying matter, and love moist environments. That’s what makes ditches the perfect place for them to lay their eggs, and it’s also why there are so many lovebugs flying around near the roads.”

Another myth associated with the lovebug is that, supposedly, nothing eats them. This is also false. “In nature something eats everything at some point,” said Ring. While lovebugs may not be specifically targeted as a food source, they are eaten by birds, fish, frogs, and other predators, just like other insects are.

As for the oddity of lovebugs flying around attached, they are actually mating, hence their name.

During the mating process, the male lovebug attaches to the female lovebug, only to disengage during the daytime, while resting on vegetation, according to Thomas Fasulo, an extension entomologist with University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. While flying, and at night, they remain coupled. Successful mating takes as much as 12 hours, and the female lovebug dies within 86 hours of laying eggs.

Ring said it is next to impossible to curb the quantity of this particular pest. “There is really no way to manage the lovebug population. It would cost too much money, and there are just too many of them.” He noted that it would take a massive effort to remove the lovebugs from any give area.

Getting rid of lovebugs is unlikely because unlike some insects that carry diseases, lovebugs are merely a “nuisance,” said Ring. “Unless they are considered a threat to the public, spending the resources it would take to reduce their population would be way too high.”

For more information about lovebugs contact Dr. Dennis Ring at