A Homeowner’s Guide to Common Florida Bugs

Warm and toasty climate. Natural springs and pools of fresh, warm water. Refreshing afternoon rain showers.

It’s the perfect environment. It’s the sunshine state.

Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones that think Florida has the perfect environment. There are over 12,500 known insect species in Florida, with an estimated new species arriving and establishing every 5 weeks.

With those numbers, it’s almost impossible to keep a completely pest free home. These critters get into tiny nooks and crannies in your home that you never knew existed.

To help you identify and properly evict, we’ve compiled a small list of the most common pests you’ll find in Florida.

Read on if you’re ready to take one more step away from pesky Florida bugs.

Ants

Number one on our list is ants, and for good reason. There are over 30 species of ants currently invading Florida, some of the most common being ghost ants, harvester ants, and everyone’s favorite: the fire ant.

Let’s talk a little bit about each:

Ghost Ants

Ghost ants are considered a tropical pest and are found throughout Florida. These babies are nicknamed the “tramp ant” because they can make their nests just about anywhere, indoors or outdoors.

They tend to prefer kitchens and bathrooms, searching for snacks and water. You may also have heard of these ants referred to as “sugar ants”.

Harvester Ants

Harvester ants make their nests underground. They are typically about 1/4 of an inch in size and have a whopping sting.

Harvester ants prefer seeds as their main source of food. They come out between June and September and, well… harvest.

During the winter months, they seal up their cave of doom and feast.

Fire Ants

Ah, the dreaded fire ant. Wreaking havoc on Florida for over 75 years, the fire ant has become a feared pest for many, and for good reason. Just one colony can contain as many as 250,000 ants.

Fire ants are a very aggressive species. These red little ants will destroy entire colonies of other ant species if they get in the way.

Don’t forget their fatal sting. Yes, fatal. Their firey sting is more than just annoying, it’s poisonous. You likely won’t stick around long enough to get stung enough times, though, because you’ll know they are there from the very first bite.

Termites

Termites, scientifically known as Coptotermes formosanus, are tiny little invaders that destroy everything you’ve built. These super termites are known to be one of the most destructive species of termites in the world, and of course, they make their home here in Florida.

One colony can host as many as 8 million members. With millions of mouths chewing through your home 24/7, this is not a pest you want to wait to evict.

Ticks

These blood-sucking insects like to hide in wooded or grassy areas. They like to feed on anything from cats to grandmas.

Ticks embed their head into the skin using tiny spikes to hold itself in place.

Your first instinct will be to grab the tick by the body and pull it out, but this is not the best technique as the head can actually break off and stay lodged in your body. Try heating up the tips of tweezers and then pull them out. The heat will burn the tick and encourage it to let go.

Be sure to check yourself or your kids after spending much time outside. Ticks can lodge themselves into some pretty private areas.

Bed Bugs

If your home gets infested with bed bugs, you might as well go ahead and burn it down.

Bed bugs are out for nothing but blood, literally. Their entire diet consists of blood. We know that they are able to carry up to 28 different human pathogens, but we don’t know yet if they are able to transmit those pathogens back to us.

They are most commonly active at night and like to make their homes in your mattress (aka the name, bed bug.) After all, the easiest feeding time is while you’re sleeping.

Bed bugs are often found in apartments, movie theater seats, and airplanes.

Roaches

These nasty little creatures invade your home with no intention of paying rent. They love warm, dark places.

Australian Cockroach

We Floridians like to refer to them as palmetto bugs, as they come down from the trees. They are about 1 1/4 inch long, and yes, they can fly. You’ll be able to distinguish these by their yellow strip against their wings, not that you’ll want to get that close.

German Cockroach

These little roaches are about 5/8 to 1/2 inches long, with two dark stripes on their back. Again, not that you’ll want to get close enough. These roaches also have fully developed wings, however, they never fly.

Pro Tip: Wonder if you have roaches? Try going into the kitchen at night and turning the light on real quick. If you have them, they will scatter.

Rodents

It’s almost rodent season, and that means mice. House mice love to burrow inside your home and make a warm, cozy nest. Weighing only about an ounce, these brown little creatures can quickly infest your home.

Mice will get into your cabinets, ventilation, and even the insulation. They will travel between 10 and 30 feet in diameter in search of food.

Don’t Let Florida Bugs Take Over

Yes, there are several thousands of types of Florida bugs, but that doesn’t mean you’re helpless.

Give us a call or request a free inspection of your home.

You don’t have to be alone in this battle, we’re here to help.

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Dave Galvagni