Love bugs: the great American menace

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 30, 2006

The dark, swarthy little Central American immigrants are driving me nuts.

Sure, they&8217;re a bit of a fact of life. Nothing you can do about them, lots of folks say.

But I disagree.

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For years I&8217;d just put up with the little creatures and their annoying appearance.

I, too, once thought of them as mere facts of life, no different than sunshine and rain.

But this year, they&8217;ve truly gotten under my skin. The love bugs have got to go.

I&8217;m a Southerner born and bred, so scraping their tiny little black and orange bodies from my bumper, windshield and grill has become routine for me.

Although I&8217;m certain the naturalists will be quick to point out the &8220;good&8221; such little creatures do for our environment, it&8217;s lost on me.

They seem to be one of those things whose sole mission in life is to annoy.

In fact, my father is convinced they were created by an automobile paint manufacturer as a way of drumming up more business.

You see, the little boogers can kind of etch your car&8217;s paint if their carcasses are not scrubbed off quickly.

Dad, however, isn&8217;t serious. He was just trying to be funny.

Unfortunately, some conspiracy theorists have latched onto the little lovers and hatched a pretty wild theory on their origins.

It&8217;s almost an urban legend at this point. According to the conspiracy theorists, the creatures were created by an experiment gone wrong at the University of Florida. The purpose, allegedly, was to genetically create something that could help control the insect population.

While the orange heads &8212; a near perfect match for the Florida Gators&8217; orange and blue uniforms &8212; seem to support the University of Florida story, experts say, &8220;Hogwash.&8221;

The reality is the tiny creatures apparently just migrated north from Central America. But for the non-Florida SEC fans out there, blaming the semi-annual annoyance on the Gators just seems fit.

But if the love bugs &8212; scientifically called &8212; plecia nearctica &8212; had just haunted the roadway, I&8217;d have been OK with them again this year.

However, is it just me, or have they gotten a bit worse this year? Seems like they aren&8217;t content to annoy us by peppering our vehicles with their amorous ooze.

This year they aren&8217;t content with their usual tricks &8212; at least not where I&8217;m concerned.

This year, they&8217;re invading in near Biblical proportions.

My first fears of an impending love bug plague came about last week when I returned home to a pile of the little lovers lying just inside my front door.

Strange, but perhaps they simply flew in when I&8217;d opened the door and they simply died inside the cool, air-conditioned space.

A broom and a dustpan made short work of them.

The next day, their recently deceased cousins were back. Then as I started looking around the house, I noticed, the little black bits were everywhere.

Like determined ants destined to reach the picnic basket, the love bugs were working every angle, seeking space in every crevice.

The gangs of goo were slithering in between the cracks around the doors and windows of my house.

Before last week, I&8217;d been pretty neutral on the national immigration policy. Now, after last week&8217;s invasion, it&8217;s obvious that we need to shore up the gaps in our policy.

Until we can build a wall to keep the pesky little boogers out, I&8217;m going to put the pedal to the metal and take them out one windshield at a time.

Kevin Cooper

is associate publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or