Love is in the air in Valdosta -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Love is in the air in Valdosta

October 5, 2006

Valdosta - If you live in South Georgia, chances are the front of your car is covered with the crusty remains of an annoying seasonal fly.

This mess is caused by little pests known as Love Bugs.  "They first showed up in Florida in 1949 and have spread northward from there," says Mark Blackmore, an entomologist at Valdosta State University.

Studies show love bugs are attracted to heat and car exhaust, so almost anywhere you drive, you're almost guaranteed to run into them.  The result can be messy and a hassle to clean.  "Basically have them clog your windshield and mess up the paint on your cars," he adds.

That's right. These small bugs can take the paint right off your car.  "They do take the paint off," says Byron Murphy, a Paint and Body man at One Stop Paint and Auto Body Shop in Valdosta.  "They have an acid in the bugs that eats away the clear coat of the paint and it damages the paint."

Causing damage not only to your car but to your wallet.  "When it comes to a paint job, you usually have to do more than paint it. You either have to prime it or strip the paint," he says.

The best way to keep your car looking good and out of the detail shop is to wash it often.  "I would say twice a week. If you leave it on there a whole week, you've already got permanent damage," recommends Murphy.

With cooler weather rolling in, the love bugs should be disappearing soon.  But, they'll be returning with warmer weather in May.

Auto detailers say the best way to keep your car looking good is to wash it daily using a cling free dryer sheet or a degreaser that won't affect your paint.