How to protect your vehicle's paint from Love Bugs

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Every May and September Florida drivers endure another encounter with visitors that mate in midair and splatter all over their vehicles. The scientific name for these pests is Plecia Neartica but they are known by their common name as Love Bugs. Use the following tips to protect your vehicle's paint from their acidic bodies.

  • The smashed bodies and egg sacks of dead Love Bugs are acidic and will etch and pit painted surfaces on your vehicle. Wash the front bumper and nose of the vehicle as soon as possible. If you let them bake-on to the paint in the hot sun, they will be harder to get off. During the Love Bug season, many highway rest areas will provide wash stations.

  • Use a sponge or cloth rag with soap and water to clean Love Bugs off painted surfaces. Never, ever use a kitchen scouring pad! If the Love Bugs have been baked on, use a liquid bug and tar remover.

  • Wax the front bumper and nose of your vehicle before your journey. Some people use a spray-on vegetable oil to coat the paint. Don't get vegetable oil on your windshield. (Try Rain-X windshield treatment and use a bug removing windshield washer fluid.)

  • Install a bug deflector and screen. This directs the bugs over your windshield. The screen material prevents bugs from clogging your radiator. This choice may be best suited for the 'land yacht' crowd and will look odd on a sportier vehicle.

  • Install a nose bra/mask. A vinyl nose bra/mask will protect the front end of your vehicle from bugs and rocks. Be sure to wash the nose of the vehicle prior to installation. You don't want dirt or sand trapped between the nose bra/mask and the paint.

  • Several companies now make a clear film nose mask. The material is stretched around the contours of the bumper and nose of the hood. The material is about as thick as a playing card and is almost invisible.

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