Although Florida springtime brings warmth, colors, and new growth, it is also the time when seasonal insects appear. Learn how to identify different pests and how to discourage their presence so that you can manage them effectively and enjoy the beautiful aspects of the season.
While Florida’s springtime means new greenery and vibrant flowers, it also means that homeowners will see increased insect activity. After a relatively uneventful winter, insects are ready to be active in Florida homes and lawns.
Insects You Should Expect
A variety of insects call Florida home, from wasps to palmetto bugs, and the formidable lubber grasshopper. Let’s talk about common spring pests and how you can best identify them.
Bees and Wasps
Yellowjackets, bumble bees, paper wasps, and mud daubers all fall under the category of Florida wasps and bees. These stinging insects show varying amounts of aggression toward people when agitated. Because wasps and bees hibernate, it is easy to overlook their nests until springtime begins.
Asian Tiger Mosquito
The Asian tiger mosquito begins to be active in mid- to late-spring and appears throughout the state. Not only is this insect annoying, but it is also known to transmit diseases. Identify the Asian tiger mosquito by the black and white stripes covering its legs and body.
Florida Carpenter Ants
Florida carpenter ants are one of the state’s largest ants and are commonly found in indoor spaces. They usually find holes to call home, though they also sometimes create their nest in soft materials like Styrofoam or decayed wood. Identify these ants by their size, nest location, and their bodies’ black and red coloring.
Palmetto bugs, also known as Florida woods cockroaches, are different from indoor cockroaches that may, unfortunately, make an appearance inside your home. Palmetto bugs are found outdoors, in and around – you guessed it – palmettos. The easiest way to identify a palmetto bug is by the unpleasant smell they emit when disturbed.
The lubber grasshopper can cause extensive damage to vegetable and landscape plants in all parts of Florida. Watch out for this insect, as it will chew large holes in leaves or even strip a plant of its leaves entirely. Identify the lubber grasshopper by its large size (up to three inches) and yellow coloring with black markings.
The first step in managing an insect problem is to identify the pest accurately. Species that look alike or are related can still exhibit very different behaviors and threat levels to you, your family, and your landscaping. For example, a mud dauber brood near the front door will be a much lower threat than a yellow jacket nest in an inconspicuous location.
One of the most effective pest-management strategies is to remove or reduce environmental conditions that encourage their presence. Drain standing water to discourage mosquitos, keep your home clean to keep roaches and ants out, and remove wasp nests if you have the proper equipment and protection. Lubber grasshoppers are drawn to weedy areas and fields, so make sure to manage backyards, marginal parts of your property, and ditches to discourage their appearance.
The insects mentioned above are just a few of the pests you might see around your property and home. Pay attention to where insects appear to give you some insight into ways you might prevent or eradicate them. Get in touch with a professional pest control company if you are unsure of the best next step. Professionals can quickly identify pests and provide a control or eradication plan.