Valentine’s day is right around the corner. If you have a special someone in your life, you probably know all about the importance romantic nicknames. Dreamboat, Snuggly-poo and Shnookums are all excellent options. But before you go and call your significant other a “love bug,” you might want to consider reading more about how their names originated! Bug names often hint at the uglier nature of their grotesque or disease-spreading habits. The following are four romantic-sounding pests who don’t want to show you any love this Valentine’s Day!

Bug Fact!¬†Not all bug nick names have icky origins. The name “ladybug” originated in Britain. The insects were known as “Our Lady’s Bug” or the Lady Beetle. They were named after Mary (Our Lady) who was depicted in paintings wearing garments that resembled the ladybug’s signature red spotted design.

The Love Bug

The Love Bug may be the most Shakespearean of romantic bug tales. They spend most of their lives consummating their relationship and both the male and female die as a consequence of mating. During mating seasons (typically May and September) male love bugs will form a swarm into which female love bugs will fly. Their abdomens unite and the two love bugs stay attached for up to two days! The mating lasts about 12 hours and then the female drags around the male, absorbing nutrients that will fortify the eggs.

While these insects are annoying during mating season, their larvae actually help to break down dead plant material. Still, if a love bug swarm has taken over your property, consider calling your local pest Orkin Pest Control for a consultation!

The Kissing Bug

Kissing bugs have a romantic name, but pesky intentions! Their name is derived from their unusual attraction to the smell of carbon dioxide that they detect from humans exhaling. They usually plant their “kisses” (bites) on human faces, near the mouth and eyes, where they smelled the carbon dioxide.

What’s stranger (and grosser) is these bugs don’t stop at biting your face. They then defecate in the bite! Kissing bugs are known for carrying a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, carriers of Chagas disease, in their feces. Fortunately, not all bugs carry the parasite, and even if they do, a Chagas infection is still rare. If you see a kissing bug on your property, it might be time to call your pest control company to keep those thirsty kisses away from your face!

Fire Ants

Some people ignite a “fire” in our hearts. Some bugs set our skin on fire! You may be thinking: “This is a stretch. There is nothing romantic about ants.” That’s where you’re wrong! The queen of a fire ant colony will do almost anything to find a mate, even if it means overrunning the colony with an excess of male eggs. Also, fire ants are red! Hearts = Red. Ants = Red. Ants = Hearts. It’s simple math.

Male fire ants die soon after mating, so female fire ants have little use for them. Think about it. Would you hire someone if they told you they planned to leave your company the next day? When a queen decides it’s time for a successor, she can overrun her colony with male eggs. The female ants can’t kill the male ants fast enough and the queen produces enough mates for the new queen!

If you have a fire ant problem, you know this invasive species is no joke! Call Orkin for all your fire ant control needs!

Bonus: Skunks!

Love is in the air! Or that might just be the smell of mating skunks. February is mating season for the smelly striped skunk and that means it’s the season of double-checking your yard before letting your dog out to play.

While the other animals on our list communicate through visual signs of affection, skunks have a more pungent way to express their love. Male skunks emit a stink for the females they are trying to woo. In return, female skunks emit an odor to repel their advances. Thankfully, the mating period doesn’t last long and, after a 60-day gestation period, female skunks give birth to a cute litter of “pups.”

Orkin Pest Control specializes in wildlife removal and pest control. Consult with your local Orkin specialist to determine the best way to keep your yard pest free and stench-free all year!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Orkin!

We hope all of your Valentine’s day lovin’ comes from someone you care about, and not from a blood-thirsty insect. If you do have a pest problem, call Orkin Pest Control! Our expert pest control technicians will evaluate your property and help get your life back to normal.

Call Orkin Pest Control!

If you are thinking about stuffing your stockings with chocolate, candies and other sweet things that might attract pests, consider signing up for a Membership plan, to keep those critters out of your home! Call Orkin today for pricing and details!