Lovebugs

This season’s lovebug infestation seems worse than any I can remember in recent years.

Tom Germond Sig

“Stinkin little #$%%@!” my brother said the other day.

And he wasn’t talking about politicians. 

Certainly, many Florida legislators make a mess of things, but usually not on your car’s windshield or bumper.

Kip, my brother, was referring to lovebugs. After examining the splattered remains of the bugs on his SUV at our mom’s house, he decided his vehicle needed a bath.

“You can wait until you get home in another day or so to remove them,” I said. “That’s what I do.”

“Your car’s not new,” he said. 

I get it. Another victim of New Car Syndrome. I bet Kip has bought bug screens, seat covers and a garage full of cleaning fluids. He probably gets frequent flyer discounts at his local auto supply store. If he doesn’t show up every day at the store, I bet the employees get worried and call him to make sure he’s OK.

This season’s lovebug infestation seems worse than any I can remember in recent years. Doesn’t help that my brother and I recently have spent hours on interstates and long roads in the heart of backwoods bovine Florida. Besides scrapping love bugs off their bumpers, drivers who use these roads might have to remove buzzard carcasses — or swerve off the highway to avoid hitting the birds.

While we were at a restaurant with mom recently, when Kip left the table to use the bathroom, I suggested to the waitress that she put a lovebug in the glass of beer she was pouring for Kip.

She gave me the stink eye and asked me why would she do that.

“Just an inside joke,” I said. “He probably won’t care because the beer he drinks tastes like fox urine anyway.”

Guess that was TMI for her. 

But I do sympathize with anybody who suffers from New Car Syndrome.  

Did I tell you a rat or a squirrel tried to eat my 2017 Hyundai? Still haven’t recovered from the experience. About 10 months after I’d bought the car, during Hurricane Irma, a rodent, apparently trying to build a nest under my car’s hood, ate wiring, causing $3,000 in damage.

Seeking advice online, I bought some overpriced spray to prevent rodents from having an orgy in the engine compartment of my new car. One of the ingredients is fox urine. Guess I’m over it. I’ve only sprayed the wiring about twice in two years. 

So much for New Car Syndrome — though I still shoo away any squirrel within 400 yards of my car.  

Stupid lovebugs. They are said to have no natural predators, except humans. I think I’ve accidentally swallowed a few while jogging. And dragonflies also have died on my bumper along with other small UFOs. 

Other annoyances: Bird poop on the car. Yuk. Much worse, though, was sight of a white heron walking on my hood in front of my office a few years ago. I went berserk. Almost became a gun owner. Not sure what my company policy says about putting scarecrows in the office parking lot, but it wouldn’t do much good anyway. The squirrels would probably just poop on it.

I’ve surrendered to Mother Nature. Guess I’m too lazy these days to get excited about entering my car in any beauty contest. As long as I can see through the windshield, on most days I’m a happy driver.

But the little $%%@! at least make for conversation pieces. When I was cleaning my windshield by a gas pump recently, a lady doing the same said, “They’re disgusting, aren’t they?”

“Yup. Lovebugs are one of God’s cruel little jokes,” I replied.

Such is life. Happiness is weaning yourself away from New Car Syndrome and all its trappings. 

I’ve offered to give my brother my bottle of fox spray to keep rodents away from his new car. He declined to accept it. 

Fine with me. I bet if he puts the beer he drinks in a spray container, it will work just as well.

Tom Germond is executive editor of Tampa Bay Newspapers. He can be reached at 727-397-5563, ext. 330, or by an email at tgermond@TBNweekly.com.