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Dark-Winged Gnats
I have been getting many reports from throughout the southeast, but especially South Carolina, of love bugs in areas where they are not normally reported (e.g. Columbia, SC). In every case where I have been able to verify the report, these flies are actually Dark-Winged Fungus Gnats (Sciaridae) and not the love bugs (Plecia nearctica) that we all love to hate. Although there are many superficial similarities, and in fact even the trained eye has difficulty discriminating the two from some angles, the gnat does not generally fly around in tandem (especially not for days at a time). In addition, the gnat has a red-orange abdomen and a black thorax while the love bugs has a red thorax and a black abdomen.


Box Elder Bugs
Many people are reporting what appears to be a lovebug. However it may actually be another nuisance critter known as the box elder bug (Boisea trivittatus). The adults are red and black in color, similar to the lovebug, and the nymphs are bright red. They will typically go unnoticed until they form large aggregations while sunning themselves that can frighten and annoy people. During the cooler months they can become especially problematic when they enter houses and other man-made structures. Like the lovebug, they do not sting or bite.