Florida Summer Pests
It’s time to prepare. As we gear up for another exciting summer here in the Sunshine State, it’s a good idea to take a look at the bugs you’ll likely find yourself facing, either around your home or inside it. Some are harmless, some are extremely harmful, and some are just a nuisance. Whatever the case, it helps to know what the little critters are and how you can work to avoid them.
We know them well. Ants come inside your home looking for food, moisture, and a place to call home. While you may only see a few at a time that you quickly get rid of, ants live in vast colonies so it’s pretty unlikely that there are only the few that you see. As soon as you see ants inside your home, take action.
Fire ants are another common Florida presence, but this time outside your home. They are aggressive and will repeatedly sting humans and animals that they come into contact with. They spread rapidly and typically make their home somewhere sunny like lawns and fields.
House flies are looking three things: garbage, food, and a nice place to lay their eggs. They are largely a nuisance, though they can contaminate food and surfaces in your home so it’s best to take care of them as quickly as possible.
They like cool, dark spaces where they can hide, spin their webs, and trap food. While most are harmless, there are two notable spiders we see here in Florida that can pose a serious risk to the safety of you and your family.
Probably most notable of all venomous spiders, the black widow makes Florida its home. You can identify it by its black body with a red hourglass marking on its abdomen. There are also red and brown widows. The red widow has a black abdomen with a flattened red triangular mark, along with a red-orange head and legs. Brown widows vary greatly in color, though most are a light to medium brown with an orange hourglass mark on the abdomen.
Commonly referred to as just the brown recluse, there are actually three different types of recluses found in Florida. The brown, Chilean, and Mediterranean recluses are all brown in color and typically have a lighter violin shape on their head, though other types of spiders may have this marking as well.
In a typical Florida summer you’re bound to encounter bees, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets. Either you meet by accident or perhaps your open soda (aka something sugary for them to snack on) drew them in. They will usually not sting you unless they feel threatened, which can happen easily if you swat at them. It’s best to try and either remain still or unobtrusively leave their area until they fly away.
A special note for bees: These little creatures are extremely important to the way our global ecosystem works. Without their help pollinating plants and flowers, our world cannot function the way it does now. Their numbers are dwindling, so if you encounter a friendly bumble bee while enjoying the summer sun, do everything you can to not harm it.
Avoiding the Critters
When trying to avoid pests inside your home, there are some very simple steps you can take.
• Keep your garbage covered at all times
• Take your garbage out regularly
• Keep all surfaces free of spills and crumbs
• Don’t leave food uncovered for extended periods of time
• Rinse dishes immediately after use
Even if you do everything right, you still might find yourself with a pest control problem problem. It’s an unfortunate side effect we sometimes feel from living in lovely, hot Florida. Don’t let that deter you from enjoying your summer! As soon as you notice a bug problem either in or around your house, start taking steps to correct the issue.