Monthly Archives: May 2014

I heard that UF was responsible for releasing the lovebug. Is that true?

Reposted from  on May 6, 2014 on UF | IFAS.

No, it’s not true. Not by a long shot. Not even close. NO!

This rumor’s been around for decades and its origins are unknown. But we can tell you a few things to bust this myth:

First, it’s clearly contradicted by the historical record:

The lovebugs commonly seen flying over highways in the Southeast are native to Mexico and Central America. They’ve been observed in the U.S. since at least the late 1930s. It’s believed that lovebugs first entered the U.S. by natural range expansion, or possibly through an accidental introduction.

The species was formally described under the name Plecia nearctica in 1940, by an entomology graduate student at the University of Kansas, D. Elmo Hardy. He had witnessed swarms of the insect in Texas and Louisiana. Incidentally, the lovebug had been recognized by scientists even earlier, and was given a provisional scientific name, Plecia bicolor.

Florida was one of the last Gulf Coast states the lovebug moved into. They were initially reported in 1949, in Escambia County – the county at the westernmost tip of Florida’s Panhandle. The insect gradually made its way further east and south into peninsular Florida.

This brief article from a 1970 issue of The Florida Entomologist documents the extent of the problem lovebugs caused as they became established in North Florida in the late 1960s.

UF’s only significant research on lovebugs came in the early 1970s, when the USDA funded studies to determine the extent of Florida’s newly arrived lovebug problem.

lovebug02

Figure 1. Adult lovebugs, Plecia nearctica Hardy, swarm on a building.
Photograph by Debra Young

Second, the basic idea is ridiculous.

As a biocontrol organism to use against mosquitoes, Plecia nearctica has very little going for it. Its larvae develop on land, unlike mosquito larvae. The adults feed on nectar, they’re slow fliers, they’re mainly active during the day, and their bodies aren’t well-adapted for seizing and devouring prey.

There’s nothing about the lovebug that would harm Florida’s blood-feeding mosquito species. So it’s hard to imagine any competent scientist looking at Plecia nearctica and thinking “this creature could help us control mosquito populations.”

We suspect that part of the reason this misconception has persisted is because it contains two elements that often appear in urban myths – foolish behavior by supposedly smart people, and good intentions leading to bad and unforeseen consequences. Also, it may be that sports fans at other Southeastern universities have kept the story going, as an off-the-field aspect of the rivalry between the Gators and local teams.

At any rate, the story isn’t true. UF gave you Gatorade, not lovebugs.

You can read more about lovebug myths and facts at this UF/IFAS document.

 

Why You Should Consider Organic Pest Control for Termites in Tampa

If you have never had a termite infestation, you are so incredibly lucky. It can be difficult to treat termites because most people don’t recognize the signs and wait until there are multitudes of termites infesting the home. The original process of removing termites in Tampa was to put the home under a tent and fumigate. This was a costly and to be honest, a real pain of a process.

You and your whole family would have to move out of the home, take all your food out of freezers, refrigerators and cabinets, or double bag it all. If you had pets, you would need to find a hotel that would allow them or have them boarded at a pet boarding house for many days. You would also need to remove plants, turn the gas and electricity off … did I mention that pest control for termites was a hassle?

However, there is now a new option: Organic pest control in Tampa.
drywoodtermite2

Benefits

The benefits of using organic pest control are that you don’t have to move out of your home, pets will stay safe, along with food and utensils. You don’t have to worry about turning off the gas and electricity or anything else, and can live a normal life while the treatment is happening.

Another great benefit of using organic is that there is no risk of damaging the home or areas close to the home. When placing the big tent for fumigation, it could damage gutters, roofs and other areas of the home. It could also cause damage to outside plants and grass.

How it Works

A special chemical is used that is completely organic and made from oranges. The solution is called XT-2000 Orange Oil and is made from distilled orange rinds that extract the oil. The technical name of the orange oil is D-limonene and it is a by-product of the manufacture of orange juice.

The inspection will be done on your home to find the drywood termites and even inaccessible areas can be inspected and treated with this organic pest control option. No damage will be done to the home, because the inspector will use a borascope, which can determine if drywood termites are inside the walls or in other inaccessible areas.

A drill and treat method is used to kill the termites and the organic option works like fumigation without the risk. The orange oil will move through the wood and fill up the entire piece of wood until there is no place for the termites to go. These treatments are targeted specifically to the area that’s infested, so you aren’t required to move out of your home for the process.