The lovebug, also known as the honeymoon fly or kissingbug (Plecia nearctica), is a member of the family of march flies. It is a small flying insect common to parts of Central America and the southeastern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast.
During and after mating, adult pairs remain coupled, even in flight, for several days. Lovebug flights can number in the hundreds of thousands. The slow, drifting movement of the insects is almost reminiscent of snow fall except the flies also rise up into the air reaching altitudes of over one thousand feet. Two major flights occur each year, first in late spring, then again in late summer.
The species’ reputation as a public nuisance is due not to any bite or sting but to its slightly acidic body chemistry. Because airborne lovebugs can exist in enormous numbers near highways, they die en masse on automobile windshields, hoods, and radiator grills when the vehicles travel at high speeds. If left for more than an hour or two, the remains become dried and extremely difficult to remove.
The lovebug was first described in 1940. At that time, the incidence of lovebugs was most common in Texas and Louisiana. However, by the end of the 20th century the species had spread heavily to all areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Urban legend holds that love bugs are the result of a University of Florida genetics experiment gone wrong,