The Season of Love

- National Pest Management Association
Friday, February 7, 2014

Tis’ the season of love! Pretty soon commercials, social media, and of course, our well-intentioned significant others will remind us that our affections should be demonstrated with romantic gestures and validations of special connections. So while love is in the air, I thought it would be only fitting for the Bug Lady to recognize some of the most chivalrous expressions of romance in the insect world! I know you may be envious of the Friday night fun I had in putting this list together, but it was indeed fascinating as insects do exhibit some truly incredible behavior, even in the romance department. After all, where do you think the term love bug came from?

Now after careful consideration, here are the Valentine’s Day superlatives I would offer for some particularly courtly behaviors displayed by male insect charmers.

#1 Dad Award!

  • Winner: Water Bugs 
  • Love Meter Explanation: In many species of giant water bugs, the males carry the eggs around until they hatch. Yes, you read that correctly. The males carry and deliver the babies. Oh, if only….

Biggest Flirt Award

  • Winner: Scorpionflies
  • Love Meter Explanation: Male scorpionflies demonstrate their feelings of affection by producing a lovely gift of spit for the female objects of their desire. One could argue its benefits over a box of chocolates, as the spit does at least contain some nutrients, enabled by large male salivary glands. This form of flirting may be acceptable in the insect world, but a quick note to human men — don’t even think about it!

Moves Like Mick Jagger Award

  • Winner: The Tephritidae fruit fly
  • Love Meter Explanation: These flies do the cutest little dance to entice females to mate! What female isn’t all a flutter by a male who can dance? Did you see Magic Mike?

Lek Love Award

  • Winner: Carpenter bees
  • Love Meter Explanation: Carpenter bees “lek,” which means all the males hang out together and check out the females. Not unlike overly-cologned, young men, male carpenter bees wait for females to be attracted to their pheromones, thus being among the most patient of all insects in romance rituals.

So there you have it, four utterly romantic, noble actions male insects take to woo their mates. Definitely way more expressive (and undoubtedly more appreciated) than those chalky, candy hearts!

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