Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall weather a welcome relief

Fall is definitely in the air in Florida and my air conditioner was able to take a much needed break yesterday. It was a cool 54 degrees yesterday morning and 52 degrees today. The seasons in Florida are determined more by precipitation than by temperature, with the hot, wet springs and summers making up the wet season, and mild to cool, and the relatively dry winters and autumns, making the dry season. Fall foliage is a common sight in North Florida starting around late November, and into Winter, and some trees either lose their leaves or change colors in the central region. Overall the best way to recognize that it is fall in Florida is through the onset  of College Football. As the weather cools down college football is heating up with the Seminoles ranked at number one and the Florida Gators pulling off a sloppy win in Tennessee.

With the cool weather came the lovebugs. They seem to appear from nowhere twice a year with some seasons being much worse than others. Two major flights occur each year, first in late spring, then again in late summer. (or in this case early fall). Lovebugs' (plecia nearctica hardy) are small black flies with red thoraxes. Lovebugs vary in length from one quarter to one third inch. Lovebugs do not sting or bite, but they do make a mess on motorist's windshields and front grills. Procrastination is never wise when dealing with lovebug splatters because they contain an acid that actually eats the paint off your car!

Urban legend holds that lovebugs are synthetic — the result of a University of Florida genetics experiment gone wrong. Speculation about the lovebug abounds. This is partly due to the fact that lovebugs are an unseen beneficial (lives and feeds in the thatch of grasses) for most of the year. As a result, most scientists are not as concerned with the details of this insect's life cycle, biology and other facets of its existence as they are with more serious pests. Research of L. L. Buschman showed that migration explained the introduction of the lovebug into Florida and other southeastern states, contrary to the urban myth that the University of Florida created them by manipulating DNA to control mosquito populations.

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