It is that time of year again and the May Love Bugs are swarming all over the Tampa Bay area. Love bugs appear in Florida usually two times a year: April-May, or the beginning of summer, then again late in summer. Here in south Florida, we can even have occasional love bug infestations in December. They are actually not bugs, but flies that hatch and live a few days in giant swarms.
Love Bugs Are Acidic
Love bugs are considered a nuisance not because they bite or carry disease but because their body chemistry is slightly acidic and they can appear in large numbers near highways and country roads. They also die in huge numbers on car roofs, hoods, and windshields. What makes things worse for car owner is that love bugs can damage the pain if left on for too long.
Unfortunately, if love bugs are left on the car for more than a couple of hours, they become extremely difficult to remove. They also cause pits and etching in car paint because after they die, they can become even more acidic. And it is the acidic chemistry that causes the damage.
Avoid The Damage
How do you avoid damage from these love bugs? The first step is to make sure that your car has a protective coating like a glaze or wax. Protective coatings keep damaging bugs and chemicals one step removed from the paint and protect it from all types of hazards. Preventing the damage is always the first step in vehicle maintenance.
Second, if you do drive through a cloud of love bugs or come out to your car and see it covered with them, wash the car immediately. Don’t let the love bugs linger and acidify. Take care of the problem right away. It is not good enough to just rinse the windshields. Wash down the whole car. They will get into the radiator grill and any nook and cranny that you cannot easily get to.
Third, you can use a trick known in the detailing circles for bug removal: a dryer sheet. You can take a used Downey or Bounce dryer sheet, wet it down with soap and water, and gently wipe (and scrub) off the love bug accumulation on your car. Make sure you go over the bug grime gently, so you avoid leaving swirls in the paint. A light touch is what you need in this application.
An Ounce Of Prevention
You may only need to take these steps every couple of years. Love bugs are probably not going to hit your car every time they are in town. But when they do, you’ll be ready to take action an keep your car looking great.
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