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The love is gone; a mess remains

Some folks will use just about anything to scrub away that pesky love bug residue.

Published June 4, 2007

Dave Mills looks through the bugs splattered on the wind screen of his Harley Davidson Motorcycle Saturday afternoon, 6/2/07, Gulfcoast Harley Davidson in New Port Richey. "I just cleaned it," he said, "a few days ago you couldn't even see through the thing."

Twice a year, love bugs emerge in the afternoon heat, desperately searching for a mate. But they're also drawn to something else: ultraviolet light from the sun reflecting off your car's exhaust fumes. You're driving down the street, and there they are, splashing clumsily into your bumper and windshield, leaving behind tiny blasts of acidic matter that seem impossible to remove. "The mess that causes the problem is the egg mass inside the female, " said Phil Koehler, professor of entomology at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. When car washes and old-fashioned scrubbing won't do the trick, some are willing to try just about anything - even these questionable home remedies - to save their vehicle's paint job. A word to the wise, however: Experts still say your best bet is plain old soap and water.

"I've tried using Coke, but it made a sticky mess. It didn't do anything. It bothered me more than the love bugs."

Felicia Webb, 46, New Port Richey


"I ... understand you can take a dryer sheet and rub it over the bumper. I've never tried it."

Marti Spurgeon, 70, Brooksville


"A guy said to use WD-40 before he traveled. He said it's working."

Aziz Fermano, 50, of Holiday, manager of Fermano Car Wash


"I've heard you use nonstick cooking spray, like PAM, and you wipe it off. A lady in a brand-new car came in and said she was going to do that. I said, 'Don't do it!' "

McKinzie Reed, 30, of Port Richey, manager of USA Auto Wash

"I've tried oil after somebody mentioned it to me. You leave a thin coat. But, that didn't work."

Marti Spurgeon, 70, Brooksville


"If you don't get the bugs off, the acid eats through the paint. You see marks after the bugs are gone, and that ruins the paint job. Any kind of solvent on a car besides soap will hurt the finish."

Andrew Kousaleos, manager of Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting

[Last modified June 3, 2007, 22:09:14]

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