In Florida lovebug flights generally occur in May and September, usually lasting 3 to 4 weeks and can make your riding downright miserable, especially if your bike is not equipped with a windshield. Lovebugs are called such because they mate and fly coupled together for days.
Lovebugs do not bite or sting but are a nuisance because they fly in huge numbers around highways and die a messy death on moving vehicles. It is not uncommon to encounter thick flights that go on for miles and miles.
I have experienced lovebugs in such large numbers (not unusual) that I had to stop every 10 miles to clean my bike’s windshield as their remains were a color and viscosity similar to egg yolks, reducing visibility and my fingers dripping yellow from holding the handlebars.
They have also been known to clog automobile radiators, thereby reducing engine cooling. And their body chemistry is acidic which can result in etching and pitting of vehicle paint and chrome if not removed quickly.
We’re not saying you should avoid Florida in May and September, just be forewarned that you may be in for more work if you ride in those months. I have found that dipping an old T shirt in warm soapy water and then laying it on affected areas of your bike and allowing it to soak a while makes the mess easier to remove. Just be sure to rinse well.
One sunny afternoon in Tarpon Springs I parked my bike in an old parking lot near the Sponge Docks and proceeded to swap my riding boots for sandals. It seems I had inadvertently invaded a colony of fire ants which immediately launched a counter attack on my bare feet and lower legs.
By the time I realized my plight I was covered in painful burning stings on my lower extremities. I quickly brushed off the remaining tiny soldiers and beat my retreat. But the worst was yet to come.
The next day the affected areas were covered with pustules accompanied by intense itching that I was told by locals can last up to 10 days. And you don’t dare scratch the itch because that breaks open the pustules and they can become infected.
Fortunately, my local friends advised me to apply ammonia (available in any grocery store) to the itching areas periodically to control the itching and it worked. My misery ended, eventually the pustules disappeared and no scars left to remind me of my carelessness. Watch where you park and above all where you sit.
We have not found mosquitoes to be a problem in Florida. However, with them now being found to be carriers of West Nile virus, ZIKA virus, and various other diseases it is prudent to apply a mosquito repellant with DEET to be safe outdoors.
Although this list is not indicative of all bugs found in Florida we have not experienced other insects that happened to be a hazard or even a nuisance in the Sunshine State. However, if you are allergic to any insect bites or stings, carry antidote with you at all times. Now saddle up and enjoy riding in the Sunshine State.