Answer Man

A Lovebug Story




Courtesy of University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Q: Why are lovebugs constantly mating? Does it really take that long to do the deed?

A: When we see lovebugs in flight, they are not mating—they have long since done that in private amid vegetation. Rather, they are searching for a place for the female to lay her eggs, says Norm Leppla, professor of entomology at the University of Florida. They remain joined so that the male can assist in the flight. Plus, the male is “guarding his paternity,’’ says Leppla, so that other guys don’t try to hook up with his significant other.

Once the couple land, they separate. The female lays her eggs and dies shortly after. The male may go in search of another mate if he has the energy. All this is assuming, of course, that the pair doesn’t meet up with your windshield or radiator first.

Q: What’s being done to battle germy shopping carts?

A: The ick factor at your local grocer drew some attention a few months ago after a University of Arizona study found that three-quarters of shopping carts swabbed by researchers tested positive for fecal matter. Of course, the report was sponsored by Clorox, which happens to make disinfectant wipes. And numerous studies have found that everything from keyboards to makeup are dirtier than toilet seats.

Nevertheless, germs are a concern if your hands are on that cart or your toddler is sitting in it (never mind that he or she may be one source of the bad stuff). Winn-Dixie has taken up the fight by hiring a company to give all its carts and baskets a twice-a-year treatment that involves a high-pressure hot shower, followed by application of Bioshield 75, a concoction that has been shown to prevent the growth of bacteria such as E. coli. Publix hasn’t employed anything that elaborate, but emphasizes that its carts are pressure-washed regularly.
 

Shoppers can do their part, too. Most supermarkets provide wipes in a dispenser at the entrance, beside the rows of carts. So take a few seconds, wipe the handle and seat, and stop giving the cooties cart-e blanche.

Q: What are the goofiest hurricane names ever?

A: On anybody’s Top 5 list would have to be Easy and Fifi. Neither was anything to laugh at, however: Easy (1950) hit the Big Bend area of Florida with winds of 125 mph, and Fifi (1973) killed nearly 8,000 people in Honduras—a storm so terrible that the name was (thankfully) retired.

These days, the World Meteor-ological Organization comes up with lists of hurricane names, and those are rotated every six years. So the 2005 list will recycle this year except for five retirees—Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma. They have been replaced by Don, Katia, Rina, Sean and Whitney.

The WMO’s criteria for hurricane names is to come up with “short, distinctive given names.’’ So you’ll probably never be fleeing the likes of Archibald III, Cooter or Princess.

Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:

 

Guides & Resources

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2014

More than 75 Central Florida chiropractors make our inaugural list.

Fall Getaways

Fall is finally on its way and now is the perfect time to plan your getaway. Check out some of these great deals and special destinations just a short drive from Orlando.

Real Estate's Hot 100

Whether you’re trying to buy or sell real estate, getting the best deal means finding an agent who possesses savvy and know-how and gets results. This list showcases some Central Florida agents who have demonstrated those skills.

Spotlight on Plastic Surgeons 2014

This special advertising section highlights the accomplishments of plastic surgeons, who tell about their commitment to helping people look their best.

Orlando's Best Lawyers of 2014

Get informed with our annual list of more than 400 Orlando-area attorneys, compiled by Best Lawyers in America. The annual selection features lawyers in 78 areas of practice.

Spotlight on Lawyers 2014

Our special advertising section featuring profiles on local lawyers.

MoreRecent Blog Posts

New Orlando Restaurants Open This Fall

From a rustic restaurant at the Ritz and a cool wine bar on I-Drive to a rooftop steakhouse

Star Billing

Victoria & Albert's, Cask & Larder draw national kudos.

Handmade Home: Rustic Fall Finds

These seasonal homespun items will get you ready to cozy up for fall.

Raise a Glass

Wine is no longer just for sommeliers at fancy restaurants or trips to Europe and Napa.