You can’t keep your home free of insect invaders if you don’t know much about the different types of household bugs in Florida. Most residents are surprised to learn that our state is an ideal habitat for a long list of these small creatures, including roaches, beetles, flies, cicadas, ants, bees and wasps, earwigs, moths and butterflies, mantids, crickets and grasshoppers, as well as several other types of uninvited insect guests.
While many of us have noticed an ant crawling behind our morning cup of coffee or even a roach scurrying along one of the surfaces in your bathroom late at night, there may be other creatures lurking inside your home that you aren’t as familiar with. That’s when it’s good to arm yourself with knowledge, so you can both identify what it is you are seeing and know how to evict these critters from your home. In this post, we’ll discuss two of the Sunshine State’s most problematic groups of insects: red bugs in Florida and poisonous bugs in Florida. We’ll also take a close look at the tiny bugs you might notice in a Florida kitchen and how to identify the different varieties.
“Unknown insect – Jadera haematoloma” by Eugene Zelenko is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
What Are Those Red Bugs In Florida?
The most distinctive thing about an insect is often the coloration, so it’s no surprise that many homeowners wonder about red bugs they may see in and around their living spaces. These small creatures are often referred to as red-shouldered bugs, goldenrain-tree bugs or Jadera haematoloma, if you want to get really technical.
Goldenrain-tree bugs are flattened insects measuring in at a half inch long and one-third inch wide. These creatures enter the home through cracks and crevices found around foundations, windows and doorframes. While harmless in nature, these insects can stain curtains, paper and other household objects with fecal material.
If you’ve noticed red bugs around your home, you don’t to worry, as it’s fairly easy to keep them out. Try raking up and removing any seeds that the bugs are feeding on in lawns or play areas. Sweeping or vacuuming these red bugs into a plastic bag is another solution, especially if they appear in large numbers. Just be sure to close the bag tightly and deposit it in your trash can to prevent the insects from escaping.
The most effective, but also most involved way to ensure red-shouldered bugs never return to your Florida home is to remove what’s attracting them—goldenrain, chinaberry, boxelder, plum, cherry and apple trees. Since these bugs don’t pose much of a threat to humans, and can even be beneficial in your yard, since they eat dead insects, fallen seeds and tree sap, you’ll probably just opt to leave them be.
Are There Dangerous Or Poisonous Bugs In Florida?
Although most bugs are harmless, or simply a nuisance, there are three types that homeowners should actively avoid: the red fire ant, the yellow fever mosquito and the brown recluse spider.
Red Fire Ant
If you simply find ants frustrating because of their microscopic size, their unflagging ability to reproduce and the fact that they can turn up just about anywhere, you probably have never crossed paths with a red fire ant. The red imported fire ant (RIFA) is native to central South America and arrived here in Florida somewhere between 1933 and 1945. You can find fire ants in residential lawns, as well as on athletic fields, parks, golf courses, playgrounds and recreation areas. After a rainstorm, fire ant colonies may move to higher ground, which may put them in a direct path inside your home.
The real danger with these ants is that they deliver a powerfully painful bite and can sting and bite a victim repeatedly. The impacted area may swell and be extremely uncomfortable. In some cases, victims may experience anaphylactic shock. Localized treatments administered by a pest professional or broader applications have been found to be the most effective way to treat for a fire ant infestation.
Yellow Fever Mosquito
Yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) are dangerous because they can spread dengue fever, yellow fever and other terrible diseases. This variety of mosquitoes were quite common in Florida up until the mid-1908s, when the Asian tiger was introduced. After that point, the yellow fever mosquito population dwindled, although the pest is still present in South Florida’s urban areas.
Yellow fever is only one of a list of many diseases that mosquitoes can transmit. You can protect both yourself and your family from these stinging insects by eliminating areas of standing water around the home. If you are planning to spend time outdoors, wear long pants and sleeves, and apply an insect repellent with DEET. You can also screen all windows and doors to prevent yellow fever mosquitoes from getting inside.
Brown Recluse Spider
You’re most likely to find brown recluse spiders in the northwest portion of Florida. These creatures enjoy hiding in dark places, including garages or attics, and produce a powerful venom that triggers a painful bite.
Brown recluse spiders might look frightening and dangerous, but thankfully, they are not aggressive, so your chances of being bitten are relatively small. If you want to take preventative measures to minimize your likelihood of a brown recluse encounter even further, address any clutter that might have gathered in these frequent storage spaces. Keep shoes inside and keep clothing and other belongings in tightly sealed containers. Be mindful of spiders and other unwanted bugs around your home and clean dust and sweep and you might find so they will be discouraged from hanging around.
What Can I Do About The Tiny Bugs In My Florida Kitchen?
Are you tired of seeing tiny insects in your kitchen? Maybe you spotted something crawling across your countertop or suspect there is a minuscule army lurking in your pantry. Needless to say, no homeowner wants to have an insect infestation where we store and prepare our food.
One possible culprit is grain mites. The worst thing about these bugs is that they may enter your home on your body, or they may travel in on different food products you picked up from the grocery store. These creatures are at their prime in hot, humid conditions and therefore prefer hiding in dry food products such as flour and cereal.
If you suspect you may have grain mites, search for dust-like residue resembling moving lint on your canned goods or potato chip bags. Food that’s been attacked by grain mites often has a minty smell, so consider this if that mouthful of cereal just doesn’t taste quite right.
The best ways to handle a grain mite problem are to:
- Discard any infested food.
- Temporarily move your uninfested food to another location.
- Clean the shelves, pantry and walls of your cabinets with hot water and soap or a weak bleach solution. Use warm or hot water, because it kills the mites on contact. Make sure to rinse out the rag you are using so you don’t unknowingly move mites around your kitchen.
- Vacuum pantry shelves, cracks and crevices to make sure you are removing pests hidden in these areas too. After vacuuming, make sure to dispose of the contents of your vacuum outside of your home, since mites can reproduce quickly. If you have a canister vacuum, empty it into a sealable plastic bag and add talcum powder to the contents before discarding it in your outside trash.
- Return all of your food into the pantry.
- Repeat this process throughout your entire kitchen in areas where grains are stored.
The Final Word On Florida Bugs Identification
When some of us see a bug, our first instinct may be to squish it. But how can we know if we really have a problem if we aren’t even sure what species we’re dealing with? Depending on what type of insect you have inside, one approach may be more effective than another if your primary goal is to avoid any future encounters. Whether you attempt to address the problem on your own or call on an experienced pest control company, you’ll want to be able to correctly identify what you saw, where you saw it, when you saw it and whether there were any friends nearby. Sometimes taking a photo is the best approach if the bug is on the move and you don’t want to risk getting bitten or stung first. When you can’t take a photo of the insect itself, sometimes it can help to know what the droppings, discarded wings or other materials around the impacted area look like. In most cases, you can then compare the images to what you can find online to determine what’s inside your home and what to do next.
ABC’s An Expert On Bugs In Florida
As with many projects around the home, identifying every single insect you might run across can be difficult, time-consuming and anxiety-inducing. If you are concerned about the risks that different bugs might pose to your family, your best bet is to call in a professional pest control company to put your mind at ease. ABC Home & Commercial Services has been helping Florida homeowners with both bothersome and truly dangerous pests for decades. Our skilled technicians can help you distinguish between the creatures which are harmless and those that you’ll want to avoid. If you do have an infestation, or want periodic monitoring, we can provide you with effective, long-term solutions to resolve any type of troublesome animal or insect problem.