LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lovebugs are popping up all over East Texas, and this year they're out ahead of the usual breeding season.
The bugs typically breed during May and September, but this year they're about three weeks early.
According to Joe Pase, a retired entomologist, "they will continue to emerge for about a four-week period".
During this time, many car washes are experiencing an influx of customers because if dead lovebugs aren't washed off of cars, they can cause permanent damage.
The bugs' bodily fluids are slightly acidic, so that coupled with the summer sun can etch a car's paint.
Joe Pase says the mild winter is likely to blame for the early start to breeding season.
"I think weather conditions have been favorable for them and that may have pushed their emergence a couple of weeks ahead," Pace said.
Lovebugs are mostly a nuisance. They do not bite or sting, and are not poisonous.