Monday, June 4, 2007
Love is in the air
Backtracking a bit here...the last couple weeks flew by!
As timing would have it, it turns out the date of our out-of-town guests' arrival just happened to coincide with this:
Yes, in the interest of keeping this a family-friendly blog, please shield your eyes from the brazen promiscuity of the rather prolific and randy Plecia nearctica hardy...or "love bug." Yes, they are doing "it." This is not a Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom freeze-frame moment caught only by the stealthy nature photographer...nah..these little critters are really so enamored with each other that they fly around together, whilst joined, in airborne pornographic ecstasy, for oh, say, 48 or more hours at a time (seriously!) before expiring in heaps upon back porches, in car grilles, or upon windshields during this season.
It's a relief to know that these little flies are as harmless to humans as they come...no biting, infesting livestock feed or human storehouses, no nasty chemical reactions to the skin or parasitic actions to foil the human dermis, shy of the vigorous scraping required to remove them from any sort of moving machinery such as an automobile.
I guess I didn't notice the love bugs last year. I've been here going on three years now, and I just don't remember their being this thick and plague-like till THE day my company was to arrive for my daughter's graduation..ha!
Welcome to Florida!
The lovebugs moved to Florida from Central America some time in the mid 20th century, seemingly loved the Deep South, and decided to put down some roots. Their main function is to make mulch of leaf litter and moist grasses, so they have plenty to keep them busy here most years. The female emerges at the magical hour amidst a swarm of suitors, is grabbed and manhandled by the most aggressive fellow nearby, and stays, erm, so engaged for 24 to 48 hours...or so they say. Pheremones are essential in this whole Attract-and-Grab process, and it's known that automobile exhaust fumes seem to be a convincing mimic. Ergo the splat. And since automobiles are not nature's creation, it's not their fault that drivers curse these lovers when a long commute sounds like a hailstorm on a tin roof as the copulating clouds of the winged things meet their doom on oncoming windshields statewide.
They were so thick this year that they started coming into our house...even through the new weatherstripping. Why, I cannot tell you, since they don't like cooler temps. Maybe some of them just wanted some privacy? I have to say I'm pretty awed at the staying power of these couples and their two day honeymoon clench (I'm hushing up now on this subject...lol)
But it's not the sort of sight that makes you want to sip your cold iced tea on the back lanai and leisurely watch the birds and waders out back, or watch the little lizards sunning themselves on the edges of the flowerpots. Borrowing from a relief worker's site, THIS is more like what meets the eye on such an occasion; here, a windshield's-eye-view:
And here is what might greet you as you look from a window:
As eww as it may sound, I think the worst of the swarming is over for now. Until August/September. When love is in the air...again...
I know...this subject may not be the most exciting.
Go ahead, yawn.
I dare you!