The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love is in the air

Down here in Paradise, we have one little glitch, one itty-bitty problem, that makes life a bit less idyllic. I am not talking about hurricanes, rampant thunderstorms with 50MPH winds, or the mosquitoes, palmetto bugs (3" flying cockroaches), snakes or alligators. Or the fire ants. Those are hardly worth mentioning. I am talking insect orgies.

Have you ever seen a love bug? No, it's not a Volkswagen. It is a strange creature that
we also called a "blind mosquito" when I was young. They aren't mosquitoes. They do not suck blood, they do not bite, they do not sting. They just overwhelm. And copulate. Constantly. Publicly. All over the place. In swarms. More on that as we go along.

My first bad experience with swarming love bugs was in 1980 as I was driving to West Palm Beach from San Diego with my then 10 year year old son. We were riding in a `78 red Honda Civic. A fine little car with, alas, no AC. It was mid-August and we were traveling on a rural highway between somewhere near Sanford (above Orlando) to Titusville and I-95 for the final stretch. We had the windows open, we had the vents open, it was hot.

We began running into these clouds of what appeared to be black flies. We rolled up the windows. Yet the bugs still were getting in. Looking down, I realized they were coming in the air vents on the dash. I closed them. It helped a little. And then I noticed the temperature gauge. The engine was getting hot. Very hot. There was nothing but farmland and open spaces. No stores, no gas stations, no houses, no people. We continued on. What choice did we have? It got harder and harder to see as the bugs slammed into the windshield and spattered. Using the wipers just smeared them more. After about 20 miles, with the engine seriously heating up, we came to a gas station. As I pulled in, the attendant saw me and waved me around to the side shouting, "Don't shut it off, there's a hose on the side, spray the radiator first!"

It took a good 15 minutes to clean enough of the bugs off the radiator and get the engine cooled down to normal. I also scrubbed the windshield. I also swept hundreds of bugs out of the interior. I also washed off the bugs covering the headlights and entire front of the car. And we set off again. We ran into no more swarms the rest of the way.

But they are persistent, these bugs, and we get the swarms twice a year; April-May and August-September. They are not constant during these periods, it is just when they appear. Swarming lasts maybe a couple of weeks.

These love bugs do not simply land on things, find a mate, and start copulating. No, they copulate in the air. The female is one and a half times the size of the male. I am guessing they do not start their airborne "dance of love" until after they have coupled on some solid surface. It is the female that does the driving. The male is just a passenger mostly. Attached to the female by his... well, I really don't have to tell you, do I?... and is dragged about through the air. This adds to the chaotic flight of the bugs. Love bugs live 3-4 days and spend all of that time "mating" and then laying eggs. Those eggs will hatch during the next love bug season and eventually wind up on my windshield or grill.


Sightings said...

You don't have to be in Florida to get attacked by swarms of bugs. I remember vacationing in Canada's Prince Edward Island, driving down a country road, when we saw a big black cloud ahead of us. We didn't know what it was, until it swerved and floated down all around us, smearing the windshield, splattering the hood. We had to slow down to see where we were going -- it was like driving through hail storm. The cloud of bugs followed the car for two or three miles, then veered off into the woods. I later asked a local farmer about the bugs, and he knew all about them, but I forget what he told us.

But ... driving around Florida in August without a/c? Don't know how you would do that! 

Douglas4517 said...

I was much younger then... and not all that bright. Not really, I had no A/C
in that car because it wasn't needed in California where I had been living
until then. I am glad I was not on a motorcycle.

Pearl said...

Delightful.  :-)

Or as my friend Steve would opine, "Fuckin' bugs."


Douglas4517 said...

I'm shocked! But that is very descriptive and what most of us down here call

Kevin Shea said...

Yikes.  Seems like there is a life metaphor in there somewhere.  ewww...

Douglas4517 said...

I keep seeing the people flying up into the light in "Logan's Run"...