It's late in spring or summer, and love is in the air --- in your garden, porch, on the windshield of your car. Love is everywhere. It's the kind of love that drives people insane: love bugs. They don't sting nor bite, but they get in your hair, clothes, nose, and even your mouth.
Most experts will tell you that it is impossible to get rid of love bugs simply because no insecticide can exterminate a buzzing sea of them on the road or on the walls of your house. In fact, even hurricane-force winds can't get rid of these flying, mating insects because they just hide in the bark of trees and underneath dead grass. There's no harm in trying though, so follow these tips to try and get rid of these pesky insects.
Getting Rid of Love Bugs at Home
Unless your house is completely sealed, a portion of the swarm of love bugs outside will surely get inside your house. These tried and tested techniques have worked for other people before, they might work for you, too:
- Bucket of water with soap: Fill up a bucket of water, add soap or any kind of detergent, and then pour it in areas where the bugs swarm.
- Blast them with a water hose: Take a water hose, point it at a bunch of them in the corners of your house, and shoot the little things down.
- Insect spray on your door: Spray your entire door with any kind of insect spray to keep them off the door. Some of them will also get poisoned when they get near or touch the door.
- Blow them away with a fan: Turn up the dial of the ceiling fan to keep them from flying inside the house.
- Light some mosquito candles: Mosquito repellent candles can kill some of the insects and drive some of them away. Light a bunch of mosquito repellent candles inside your house or in your porch to reduce their numbers. You may put the candles in a large bucket to prevent any accidents.
- Daytime tiki torches: Tiki torches are beautiful at night, but they're also very useful during daytime when love bugs attack. Set them up on your deck, porch, or garden to ward off the swarm. Some tiki torches also have mosquito-repellent fluids, which make the fumes more toxic to the insects.
- Make your own insect spray: You can make your own insect spray if commercial insect sprays don't work. Mix warm water with a citrus-scented detergent, like an orange or lemon dish soap. Add a little bit of mouthwash to the mixture, and then shake it well. Pour the mixture inside a spray bottle, and start spraying your plants and the walls of your house with it. You'll notice the bugs will leave these areas alone.
- Use a vacuum cleaner: Sucking them in with a vacuum cleaner is probably the easiest way to get rid of love bugs. This technique works well in confined areas, such as buildings and vehicles. You can put some insecticide inside the vacuum cleaner to make sure the pests don't crawl out when you dump them.
- Paint your house a darker color: Love bugs are known for their attraction to white or light-colored houses. If your house has white paint on, quickly cover it with a darker paint before the love bug season starts.
- Always keep your lawn mowed: Love bug larvae grow in thatch, so cut your grass regularly to prevent it from growing long and producing too much thatch. When you mow, cut off only the top one-third of the grass to reduce possible breeding grounds for love bugs.
- Step on them or smash them: Strap on your old pair of boots, wear some protective clothing, get a thick roll of magazine, and start smashing and stepping on the bugs like mad. It's best to do this when nothing else seems to work, and you're already tearing your hair out because of frustration.
Getting Rid of Love Bugs on Your Car
Love bugs don't sting, bite, or carry any disease. Their most destructive effect is when they splatter themselves on the windshield and hood of your car when you drive. Love bug guts are very acidic, so they'll permanently damage your car paint if you don't remove them quickly. The bugs are also known for clogging radiator air passages of cars, causing them to overheat. Here are some ways to protect your ride from love bugs:
- Cooking spray on your car: Use cooking spray on the front and side mirrors of your car before you drive. This will make removing the insects later much easier. Simply get a water hose and flush down the splattered insects from your car.
- Get them off with dryer sheets: Like cooking spray, using dryer sheets on your car before you drive makes cleaning easier. Use them on your windshield, hood, bumper, and anywhere the insects could potentially stick to.
- Try baby oil: Another nonstick solution to love bugs on your car is baby oil. Spread a thin film of baby oil over the hood, on the windshield, and on the grill and bumper to prevent the bugs from sticking.
- Paint or wax your car: New automotive paints and protective coatings are specially formulated to reduce the effects of splattered insects. Have your car waxed or painted anew to make sure it's well-protected against the threat of love bug acids. (MonsterGuide has an excellent article that will teach you how to wax your car)
- Drive slowly: Fewer love bugs will smear on your car if you drive at slower speeds. If you're not in a hurry, take your time driving through the cloud of insects for the benefit of your car.
- Install wind deflectors: Many delivery trucks install wind deflectors on their front hoods to deflect some of the insects. You can install the same wind deflectors on your car to keep love bugs from hitting your windshield.
- Car bra on your front bumper: A “car bra” is a device that protects your front bumper from insect splatters and other kinds of damage. They are commercially available in leather and net, and are very easy to install. Love bugs will splatter onto the bra instead of your car's paint. Netting over your front grills also prevents crushed insects from clogging the radiators, so your car doesn't overheat on long trips.
- Drive at night: Love bugs are only active during the day, and they rest in thatch and trees at night. As much as possible, drive at night during love bug season to minimize the need for cleaning.
Getting Rid of Love Bugs Through Commercial Insecticides
Most commercial insecticides are very effective in killing love bugs. The problem is that they don’t stay long enough in the air to kill the swarm. If you still want to try them though, here’s a list of some products you can use:
- Insect spray: This product is sprayed on plants that are targeted by swarms of love bugs. It kills the bugs on contact, but doesn’t leave any residue, which means other insects like bees and butterflies can still pollinate the plants without getting poisoned. Some sprays also come with nozzles that fit into the nooks and crannies of your house where bugs enter, ensuring your house is bug-free.
- Deltamethrin: Deltamethrin is a chemical that provides stronger protection from love bugs. Treatment with this insecticide lasts for three to four weeks, so you don’t have to spray every day. Even deltamethrin though, cannot exterminate the entire swarm.
- Permethrin: Like deltamethrin, permethrin is a chemical that effectively kills most kinds of insects. Permethrin sprays are best for lawns, flower beds, and damp areas that serve as breeding grounds for love bugs. It may reduce local infestation in your yard, but expect the bugs to come from everywhere there’s grass.
- Bug remover: A bug remover is a wiper fluid that melts the remains of insects, bird droppings, and road tar on your windshield and hood. Apply the bug remover immediately after a trip to achieve the best results.
- Insect zapper: This device looks like a tennis racket with a mesh of metal wires. It works by electrocuting insects that touch the electric grid. Do not touch the grid while the device is on because it hurts quite a bit, although you will not fry like the bugs.
If nothing works, then all you can do is just wait for the bugs to die. Love bugs spend most of their lives making love. Not even death takes them apart, since the female drags the male when it dies after mating. The female love bug lives for only three to four days. You can just wait for the passion-consumed bugs to die out, and do the cleaning when all the insects are already down. Just marvel at the fact that love makes people and insects do crazy things. Loved this article? then you'll love reading how to get rid of ladybugs and how to get rid of bed bugs.
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