ABC Blog

Insects: Up Close and Personal!

why do bees swarm

Dealing with insects in and around your home can be frustrating, but when they’re not invading your home, they can be quite fascinating. Check out these interesting facts about some common insects that we encounter every day.

The Honeybee

Honeybees prefer to live in colonies; in fact, some of them live in colonies that have up to 80,000 bees. Unfortunately, these bees can build a hive right next to your home. The success of the hive largely depends on the queen bee’s health. A queen bee eats honey for strength and can lay nearly 2,000 eggs per day. Over the course of her lifetime, the queen bee can lay one million eggs. The rest of the bees in the hive are worker bees. Most of them spend their time gathering nectar, pollen and water for the hive and protecting the queen.

House Flies

Believe it or not, some house flies reach nearly a quarter … Read Full Post »

The Bee Control Controversy

why do bees swarm

You may have heard that honeybee populations in the United States are on the decline, resulting in a considerable increase in the price of local honey. Unless you consume a lot of honey, you may be wondering why you should care about bees. Aren’t they just annoying pests that build nests around your home and threaten to sting your children?

The truth is that honeybees aren’t even native to North America, but they, along with around 4,000 native species on the continent, are responsible for pollinating flowers and plants. Without these pollinators doing their job, humans and other animals would be robbed of about half of their plant food sources. As a result, bees are essential to all life on earth.

Native Versus Nonnative Bees

Native bees, such as bumblebees and orchard mason bees, have evolved over thousands of years to work in harmony with native plants and move pollen among them, helping … Read Full Post »

The Zombie of All Pests: The Flea

Fleas are among the most resilient insect species. They can survive without food for a year. They are mobile enough on their own, capable of leaping 10 to 13 feet in a single bound and small enough to hitch a ride on pets and people to populate new areas. Fleas are resistant to most pesticide use because they undergo four life stages, with each stage requiring a different extermination strategy.

Secret Life of Fleas

Adult fleas are capable of reproduction once they have fed on blood. Eggs are laid on a host animal but fall off easily as the animal moves around. These eggs will hatch and turn into larva between two and 14 days. Larva feed on organic substances, including the blood meal, dropped by adult fleas as feces. With enough nourishment, flea larvae develop into the pupa stage from which the adult flea emerges when stimuli such as heat and … Read Full Post »

The Southern Pine Beetle

southern pine beetle does immense damage to trees

Photo by Fabio Stergulc / Università di Udine, Bugwood.org

The southern pine beetle is an extremely destructive pest that can devastate pine trees in both forests and urban settings. At maturity, this diminutive pest is scarcely larger than a grain of rice, yet it causes a tremendous amount of damage to pine trees in Florida and across the southern Unites States. Typically, the beetle invades trees that are older, have suffered damage and have trunks that are less than 6 inches in diameter. However, during severe outbreaks, the pest will also begin attacking healthy trees. The southern pine beetle prefers to invade loblolly, Virginia, pitch and shortleaf pine trees.

Because the southern pine beetle attacks trees internally, most people are not aware of a problem until significant damage has already been done. Female beetles are responsible for determining what tree to live in and they begin boring holes at the base of … Read Full Post »

Cockroach Hitchhikers

From planes to cars, cockroaches seem to be everywhere. How do these resourceful pests find their way into places that humans would prefer they stay away from? Cockroaches are programmed to find a way into any sheltered area with a water and food source.

Cracks, Crevices and Holes

As with any household pests, cockroaches (also known as Palmetto Bugs) are most often able to find a way into a building by locating small cracks or holes that lead to a warm, sheltered place to live. A nearby food and water source is another big draw. Sealing up cracks can keep cockroaches from coming into a home, but these pests are known for their resourcefulness and ability to find a way to survive.

Skilled Hitchhikers

Even if a property owner ensures that there are no cracks or holes that can encourage pests to enter a building, cockroaches are adept at finding a way to hitchhike … Read Full Post »

Protect Your Pets: The Link Between Heartworms and Mosquitoes

Many people treat their pets like children, buying them the very best food, making sure they receive regular checkups and showering them with hugs and kisses. However, there’s one other way to show your love for your pets—it all comes down to mosquitoes, those disease-carrying insects that can not only make humans ill but also infect your beloved pet with heartworm disease.

The Basics of Heartworm Disease

Although heartworm disease can affect any mammal, it most often strikes dogs and spreads from pet to pet via mosquitoes. According to the American Heartworm Society, the heartworm life cycle begins with an animal that is already infected. The female heartworm, residing in the pulmonary arterial system, releases her young, called microfilariae, and they travel into the pet’s bloodstream. A mosquito then bites the pet and ingests these microfilariae, and they mature for up to 14 days inside the mosquito. Next, the mosquito bites another … Read Full Post »

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 »