Luring and Trapping Plecia nearctica with Different Food Samples in College Station, Texas


  • Javier Pellacani
  • Edward Diaz
  • Maci Hanson
  • Shabba Armbrister
  • Hanifa Mohiuddin


It’s no secret that food left outside will attract various species of nuisance insects. What becomes an even bigger problem is when there are swarms of hundreds to thousands of insects already out and about during their mating flight. This is the case in a certain nuisance species called the Love Bug, or Plecia nearctica. It is abundant some times of the year in Texas and other areas in the South (Cherry and Raid 2000).  This experiment was conducted in order to see if specific food sources could be used as a valid trapping method to lure this species (Thomas 2001). Five food samples were used to test the attraction of the love bug. These samples were salt water, Coca-Cola, pineapples, apple cider vinegar, and peaches. Salt water was set as the control. The fruit samples were chosen because they reflect what may be found in nature. Coca-Cola was chosen because it is a common drink that insects may encounter in urban areas. Our hypothesis was that the love bugs would be attracted to the Coca-Cola the most because it has the highest sugar content.  These samples were then placed outside in containers for four days. Every 24 hours, a survey was done of the amount of love bugs present in each cup. At the end of the 4 days, the bugs were removed and counted. Results show that Coca-Cola was the most efficient substance in attracting the love bugs, confirming our hypothesis.  It was able to attract 16 bugs out of the total of 40 captured in all of the samples.  The high difference in number of insects captured between the control (salt water) and Coca-Cola is a good indicator that Plecia nearctica are more attracted to the high sugar content.