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The Beneficial Ladybug

ladybug contol

A Family of Friendly Insects in Florida

Members of the Coccinellidae family, commonly known as ladybugs, are not technically bugs. Entomologists prefer to call these insects by the more accurate term—ladybird beetles. There are about 5,000 species of ladybird beetles around the world, most of them beneficial to mankind. Although the ladybug is most often pictured as red with black spots, these insects come in a variety of colors and patterns.

The common ladybug is a friend to gardeners and landscapers. When aphids and scale insects threaten rose bushes and garden vegetables, the ladybug fights back with vigor. One ladybug may eat 5,000 aphids in its lifetime. The female ladybug lays her eggs on plants that aphids, mealybugs and scales frequent. As soon as the eggs hatch, the larvae start feeding. Consider the ladybug an ally in natural pest control. These effective exterminators are even considerate enough to replace themselves regularly. One … Read Full Post »

The Colorful Orb Weaver Spider

orb weaver yellow garden spider

The Orlando area has its share of big arachnids, but not all of them are enemies. The potentially large and intimidating orb weaver spider is a harmless garden resident with impressive web-building talents.

The orb weaver family includes 180 species common to North America. A wide array of sizes, lively colors, and attractive patterns makes it difficult to recognize the spider by its appearance alone, but its web can help to verify its identity. The orb weaver typically builds a round web with a series of concentric circles and a heavier zig-zag pattern near the center. Webs can span more than three feet in diameter.

The size of a spider is measured by body length and does not include the length of its legs. Orb weavers can reach up to an inch in body length, but their long, sprawling legs can make them seem much larger.

Orb weavers have an interesting habit of … Read Full Post »

Winter Rodent Invasions: Be Prepared!

Rodents can wreak havoc on a home at any point in the year, but these little creatures have a tendency to invade homes during the winter months. Orlando is definitely not one of the coldest places on earth, but animals will still attempt to seek shelter indoors as temperatures drop. These unwelcome guests can cause structural damage and the spread of rodent-borne pathogens. Unfortunately, rodents are difficult to remove from a home, so the best course of action is prevention.

Rodents are champions at chewing through wood and other materials, but even a small hole or gap is an invitation. Rats and mice are very flexible, and the hole only needs to be as wide as the mouse or rat’s skull. Inside the house, look for holes around all of the floorboards, including closets and areas behind large appliances. Holes might also form around pipes and vents. On the outside of … Read Full Post »