Category Archives: Bugs

Insects common to Central Florida

The Dangers of Fire Ants

Given their small size, it is incredibly easy to miss fire ants as they overtake your lawn. Unfortunately, these little terrors can be incredibly problematic. Fire ants make up for their tiny stature with their immense strength in numbers. Through this, they can prove to be quite the threat when on your property.

What is the Threat?

The main problem with fire ants is their sheer numbers. They can become agitated when provoked and when this happens, there is a substantial risk. Since fire ants attack as a group, their stings come in large numbers. When a fire ant stings you, you will experience a severe burning sensation. Their stings inject you with a venom known as solenopsin which results in a feeling similar to that of being burned by fire, thus the name fire ants.  These stings result in painful welts which can cause allergic reactions. Part of what makes fire ants so dangerous is their capacity to attack in such high numbers as well as stinging multiple times, which can leave you with severe pain.

Identifying Fire Ants

Despite their small size, fire ants can be easily spotted by their dirt mounds in your lawn. Be careful not to disturb them unless you intend on invoking the wrath of the colony. Varying from an eighth of an inch to a quarter of an inch in length, they can are easily spotted by their reddish brown/black coloring.

Fighting Back

Though they are small, fire ants have incredible numbers behind them, and when put to their full potential, it can be staggering. While you shouldn’t try to handle the problem yourself, you still shouldn’t have to deal with fire ants on your property. At Miller Lawn & Pest Control, we offer cutting edge pest control services without causing harm to the environment. For more information, call us at 407-359-8888 for your instant quote today.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that exclusively feed on blood. The most commonly found bed bug is the Cimex lectularius, which is also the best known because it prefers to feed on human blood. Bed bugs are carriers of a variety of diseases that can affect humans and animals.

Mosquitoes

A mosquito is a small fly with long legs, and a long mouth called a proboscis which is used to pierce the hosts’ skin to consume blood. Many species feed on the blood of various kinds of hosts including mammals, birds, reptiles, and even some fish. The loss of blood is rarely and issue, but the saliva can leave a very bothersome rash.

Ticks

A tick is a small arachnid, classified as an ectoparasite which means external parasite. They live by getting nutrients from the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. They are carriers of a variety of diseases that affect both humans and other animals.

Lovebugs

The lovebug is a well-known pest to many Floridians. It is most commonly found in the southeastern United States, especially the Gulf Coast. During and after mating, lovebug pairs remain coupled, giving them their distinctive appearance.

Termites

Dampwood termites are the most commonly found termites in areas of Florida. They are larger than other termites found across the country, and can grow up to 25mm long for the flyers, and 20mm for the soldiers.

Velvet Ant

Velvet ants resemble ants but are actually wingless wasps. They can be identified by their redish brown and black bodies, covered in small bristles that resemble fur.

Bald-faced hornet

Bald-faced hornets are actually yellowjacket wasps and not true hornets. They can be identified by their black and white coloring, including three white stripes at the end of their bodies.

Scoliid wasp

Scoliid wasps are usually brightly patterned with red, yellow, or white combined with black. They use soil-inhabiting scarab beetle larvae during the reproductive process.

Halictid bee

Also known as sweat bees, halictid bees often appear black or brown, some with metallic green with yellow markings. They nest in the ground and collect pollen from a variety of plants.

Spittlebugs

Spittlebugs are present throughout Florida, but they’re more concentrated in northern and northwestern Florida. Adults are around ¼ inch long and are black with red eyes and legs. Spittlebugs suck juices from grass for sustenance.

Treehopper

Also known as thorn bugs, many treehoppers are known by their horn-like pronotum, which aids in camouflage. They feed upon sap and are usually found on shrubs and grasses.

Cicada

Cicadas are best known for their loud calls in much of the eastern US. They’re more often heard than seen, but can sometimes be seen in great numbers.

Back swimmer

Backswimmers are found throughout North America in ponds, freshwater pools, and slow flowing streams. They eat other water insects and occasionally small vertebrates. These bugs get their name from the fact that they often swim upside-down. They are typically dark brown and have prominent hind legs.

Green stink bug

Green stink bugs are commonly found throughout North America and feed on a number of different plants, damaging the plants in the process. They are, as the name suggests, green with a shield shaped body.

Wheel (Assassin) Bug

The wheel bug is a fairly common bug that eats pest insects. It can bite, which causes a sore somewhat worse than a bee sting. It’s 1-1.25 inches long and is dark brown with long legs.

Giant Water Bug

As the name suggests, giant water bugs are large (up to 4 inches) bugs that reside in ponds or pools of water. These predatory bugs eat insects, tadpoles, frogs, small fish, and other creatures they’re able to capture.

Deer Fly

Deer flies grow to be 7-10 mm in length. They’re found around the world. They’re abundant in Florida thanks to the temperature and humidity, which is favorable to breeding.

Blow Fly

Also known as bottle flies, blow flies are found throughout the world in almost every environment. They are dark metallic green and adults can live up to 6 weeks.

House Fly

House flies are extremely common and are always found near humans or centers of human activity. They are often found on poultry and hog farms and can cause public health problems in large quantities. They breed in feces and are active mostly during the day.

Flesh Fly

Flesh flies are rather noticeable with three dull gray stripes down its body. Many species of the flesh fly also have red eyes. They feed on decaying meat, garbage, and fish.

Soldier Fly

Soldier flies resemble wasps and grow to be about 15 mm long. They breed in wet feces and can enter the home through the toilet due to infestations in the septic tank.

Tachinid Fly

Tachinid flies can vary greatly in appearance. Most look like the average house fly. Some, however, and be quite brilliantly colored. Tachinid flies feed on flowers and nectar. They can be important in the pollination of some plants.

Robber Fly

Robber flies are known for their predatory behavior. Adults will prey on bees, grasshoppers, wasps, dragonflies, some spiders, and other flies. They like dry and sunny habitats.

Syrphid Fly

The syrphid fly, or hover fly, is unique in its ability to hover and fly backwards which very few insects can do. They play an important role in the cross pollination of some plants. Syrphid flies can be identified by the yellow stripes/markings on their body which is otherwise dark.

Bee Fly

Bee flies typically feed on nectar and pollen and in some instances, act as important pollinators. Like bumblebees, their bodies are furry and they make a similar buzzing sound when flying.

Horse Fly

Florida’s warm, moist climate is the perfect breeding ground for the horse fly. Female horse flies bite people and animals to extract blood and can be especially harmful to livestock.

Earwig

Earwigs are found throughout the southern United States and are considered a nuisance, given their proclivity for eating plants and vegetables in gardens. They are omnivorous, feeding on plant and animal matter as they find it.

Blister Beetle

Blister beetles have long, narrow bodies and long legs. Not all, but many types of blister beetle are quite colorful. They feed on the floral parts of plants, though occasionally they also eat the leaves.

Grape Pelidnota

These bugs were given their name thanks to their habit of feeding on grape foliage and fruit. They live in and around deciduous forests. Their bodies are golden-yellow with small dark spots on the sides.

Burying Carrion Beetle

The burying carrion beetle grows to be 20-35 mm long and has a black body with distinctive red/orange markings. They are found in a number of states in the US their season is February through October.

Tiger Beetle

The tiger beetle is found on most continents. In the US, it is found mostly in open, sandy areas. They are known to take flight often and have bright markings that make them attractive. Tiger beetles are opportunistic feeders that will often eat ants and other insects.

Ground Beetle

Adult ground beetles are slender and measure 7-10 mm long. Their body is dark save for the middle portion which is a yellow/red color. They can live up to an average of 230 days.

Ladybug

The ladybug, originally known in Europe as “ladybird,” is a family of beetles. Ladybugs are round and range from 1-10 mm. Their coloring can vary greatly, though they commonly have red or orange bodies with black spots.

Metallic Wood-boring Beetle

Also known as jewel beetles, metallic wood-boring beetles are recognizable by their iridescent colors. They’re bodies are cylindrical and grow anywhere from 3-80 mm (usually under 20 mm). These beetles live off of dying or decaying wood.

Net-winged Beetle

The net-winged beetle is a black and orange beetle found in the eastern US from New England to Florida and as far west as Oklahoma and Kansas. Adults can grow to be 10-15 mm.

Predaceous Diving Beetle

Predacious diving beetles are generally a dark oval shape. The larvae are commonly referred to as water tigers. During development, they prey on tadpoles and glassworms, as well as several other small water creatures.

Water Scavenger Beetle

Water scavenger beetles are found worldwide and are unsurprisingly found mostly in water. Some of these beetles feed on dead plant and animal matter while other are predatory. Larvae are often found to be predatory.

Long-Horned Beetle

Long-horned beetles, as opposed to prionus long-horned beetles, have a more elongated body. Still, they are most identifiable by their prominent antennae. They are found worldwide and feed on various organic matter including decaying wood, flowers, sap, leaves, fruit, fungi, and more.

Prionus Long-Horned Beetle

Prionus long-horned beetles are found in the central and eastern United States. They can be identified by their long antennae (where their name comes from). They are strongly attracted to light. You may notice an abundance of them specifically during the summer.

American Cockroach

Also known as palmetto bugs, American cockroaches are found throughout America. They normally dwell in shady, damp areas such as basements, garages, wood piles, and sewers. In Florida, they sometimes venture into homes and restaurants looking for food, water, and shelter, especially in response to severe weather. Due to a sensitivity to light, they are mostly active at night.