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Herbie rides again

November 6, 2019

For those of my generation the term Love Bug conjures up images of a self-directed Volkswagon Beetle called Herbie with the racing number of 53. The Love Bug movie spawned a succession of sequels featuring the said car. At the moment there is another Love Bug on the scene. Flies of the genus Plecia pictured below are starting to swarm.

In late spring and early summer the males hatch and await the arrival of the females. Mating takes place as soon as the females have hatched and lasts up to three days after which time the female lays eggs and dies. The term love bug or honeymoon bug comes from the fact that for the majority of their lives these flies can be seen flying around attached tail to tail mating.

The eggs are laid in decaying vegetable matter, the substrate on which the larvae feed. The adults are nectar feeders (pictured right).

In the United States swarms are known to create significant traffic hazards by coating car windscreens and blocking radiator grilles…probably more of a traffic hazard than even Herbie.

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