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"Larger population" of love bugs present on the Suncoast

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - It's officially love bug mating season, but not too many people love it.

"In the foyer there's probably three thousand that I need to sweep up, so it's extreme," said Nicole Berry, who rents a condo on Turtle Beach.

"They don't really cause a problem, they're just a real big nuisance," said Matt Smith, Director of Mosquito Management for Sarasota County.

Smith says the bugs are harmless, and help the ecosystem by eating decaying plant matter. He isn't alarmed by larger population of love bugs flying around the Suncoast.

"Populations will have cycles, years where there's more, years where there's less, and it's dependent on a lot of things, mostly environmental," explained Smith.

Lovebugs have been mating in the U.S. for more than a century. Smith says the insects came to the U.S. from Central or South America in the early 1900's but didn't make their way to Florida until the 1950's. The adult bugs only live about a week but they don't have a problem making their presence known.

"They just have a tendency to all emerge and mate at once. That's something you'll see with a lot of animals like sea turtles," explained Smith.

Berry doesn't love the swarm of love bugs lingering around her home but she prefers to look at the glass half full.

"Clean up is gonna be a challenge but besides that, we have a few weeks then they'll be gone," said Berry.

If the bugs are causing a big problem, there's a safe way to get rid of them. Mosquito Management recommends spraying a solution made of one part dish soap and ten parts water. Pesticides aren't necessary since the bugs aren't hurting the environment.

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