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Lovebug outbreak hits northwestern Seoul

Lovebug seen in northwestern Seoul area (Yonhap)
Lovebug seen in northwestern Seoul area (Yonhap)


Over the weekend, northwestern Seoul saw an outbreak of lovebug, a type of march fly.

The packs of flies, mostly flying in pairs, were seen across the northwestern Seoul area, in places like Eunpyeong-gu, Seodaemun-gu and the neighboring Gyeonggi area.

Lovebugs are a species of march fly. While their scientific name is plecia nearctica, they are nicknamed lovebugs because matured pairs remain together for several days after mating.

Though they are not toxic or harmful, they have invaded residential areas, flying into people’s homes and stores and sticking to vehicles.

Social media was flooded with accounts of seeing flocks of lovebugs over the weekend. Some even asked for help catching the insects which had flown into their home. 

Lovebug seen in northwestern Seoul area (Yonhap)
Lovebug seen in northwestern Seoul area (Yonhap)
Lovebug seen in northwestern Seoul area (Yonhap)
Lovebug seen in northwestern Seoul area (Yonhap)


With residents filing complaints, the Eunpyeong-gu Public Health Center has launched a task force team to address the issue. The team, joined by other local organizations, will use a spray across the area that will kill the insect and its larva.

Though the specific reason for the outbreak has not yet been confirmed, it is suspected they have multiplied rapidly due to the hot and humid days. Also, authorities were not able to spray insect repellent in advance as it had rained continuously for days in Seoul due to the monsoon season.

Meanwhile, Professor Lee Dong-kyu from Koshin University said insect spray used in homes can help kill lovebugs.

“Lovebugs are susceptible to insecticide. Insect sprays used at home are enough for pest control,” Lee said on a CBS radio show Monday.

“Also, lovebugs are slow. You could use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of them,” Lee said. “Spraying a mix of mouthwash, water and lemon or orange extract can repel lovebugs, too.”

The Eunpyeong-gu Public Health Center advised residents to use curtains to block light as lovebugs are drawn to illuminations.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

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