In honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we would get you in the mood to celebrate. When you think of the words; love bug, ladybug, kissing bug, what comes to mind? Probably lots of emotions. Some of us even use these terms as words of endearment for our love ones. Despite their passionate names, these bugs can also be quite a nuisance. Here’s what you need to know about our Valentine’s Day love bugs.
Love bug…sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Love bugs get their name because they spend most of their life mating. Love bugs aren’t dangerous insects (they don’t bite or sting), but can be very irritating. They cause havoc wherever they go. During the daytime hours, female love bugs usually go hunting for a location to lay their eggs and the males chase after them (that’s why they appear in large swarms). Female love bugs lay their eggs in dead animal carcasses, or decaying organic material. The larvae from laying their eggs help break down decaying vegetation and enriches the soil. Other than hitting our windshields when driving, love bugs are the least problematic bugs on the list.
There is nothing more adorable than the ladybug? From children to adults, everybody loves them. Ladybugs are the ultimate love symbol. Asian traditions hold to the belief that if you catch a ladybug and release it, your wish will come true. Even with the romantic backstory, ladybugs are just as frustrating as any other bug. The good news is they won’t bite you or harm you but they do ooze out a toxin when in danger. It is yellow and smells pretty vulgar, it infects the predator with poisonous fungus that kills (not harmful to humans). They may not damage home structures, except for the yellow stain, but ladybugs also leave behind trails of pheromones, the pheromones remain and draw them to the same location year after year which could lead to an infestation. You must be vigilant because once ladybugs are in, it is a challenging task to remove them.
Kissing bugs are a different story completely. These bugs are known for biting humans on the face, especially around the lips, hence their name. Like mosquitoes and bed bugs, these insects feed on the blood of humans and animals. Attracted by the aroma of the carbon dioxide we exhale, kissing bugs climb onto the faces of sleeping individuals and feast. The kissing bug’s ability to sense heat allows them to wander around without being caught. The results of a kissing bug’s bite can range from slight irritation to life threatening. The greatest fear concerning kissing bugs is the possibility of contracting Chagas Disease. The deadly parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, lives within the kissing bug’s digestive system and is excreted after feeding. Humans can become infected if the parasite enters their bloodstream.
As sweet as the names may sound, don’t be deceived these bugs are unpleasant. These bugs have become synonymous with love and endearment throughout the years although nothing could be further from the truth. Kissing bugs bring disease, love bugs kill their mate after breeding, and ladybugs are sometimes cannibalistic. Think twice before calling a loved one any of these names in the future. Not a good one in the bunch!