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Love bugs

Love Bugs: Splat! Squish! Eww!

There's little to love about these invasive bugs

Love bugs. Those pesky, paired-off nuisances, have arrived in lovesick swarms.

They generally make their presence known, in messy fashion, in spring and late summer. This year is no exception.

The insects thrive in warm, wet weather. They favor highways, and tend to hover one to five feet above the pavement's surface - perfect for colliding with your previously shiny car, truck, or SUV. Along with a passion for each other, the flies like exhaust fumes, hot asphalt, and vibrations made by vehicles on roadways.

Here are some ways to cope with the annoying, but otherwise harmless, insects, and to deal with their postmortem mess on your vehicle:

Wax or polish the front bumper and grill, hood, and forward roofline. It won't keep love bugs from smashing into your vehicle, but it makes it easier to remove their remains.

Remove the mess as quickly as possible. After a day or two, smashed bugs can begin damaging painted and metallic surfaces.

Spray water on your vehicle a few minutes before you begin removing the mess. The insects' remains are easier to remove when they're damp.

Drive at night. Love bugs are most prolific in bright daylight. When possible, travel after 6 p.m. or before 10 a.m.

Slow down. Driving at slower speeds might lead to fewer deadly collisions with love bugs.

Love bugs have been in Florida since the late 1940s, when the South American species arrived in the state by way of Texas and Louisiana. A persistent rumor that University of Florida researchers introduced them to combat mosquitoes is not true.

The insects now are considered an invasive species.

The good news: In a few weeks, they will disappear as quickly as they arrived - until late summer, when the amorous insects will reappear on windshields and bumpers throughout Florida and other Gulf Coast states.

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