Summertime in Florida is longer than usual in other states. With that being said, it comes with a price. Florida’s summer weather offers an ideal paradise for creepy crawlers, as the warm temperatures and humidity tend to increase insect activity. While some of these pests are harmless, many could pose a problem to your home and your family. What are the common household pests in Florida? Fire ants, mosquitos, cockroaches, ants, termites, stinging insects, and spiders.
Let’s take a look at why you need to know about common household pests, other pests in Florida, maintenance around the home, and when to call a professional.
Why You Need to Know About Common Household Pests in Florida
Whether you are a resident or a visitor to our great sunshine state, it is important to know what kind of pests are here. You may see these in the Air BnB you are renting, in your own home, on a walk, or while exercising outdoors. Whatever it is, the more you know and the more you protect yourself, the better. This is especially true if you are allergic to any of them.
Here are common pests that we come across in the summer here in Florida:
As the rains continue through the season, ants will continue to seek shelter in higher ground. They will also continue to forage into our homes in search of food. One of the common types of ants we have in Florida are the fire ants. They are often found in large open fields and lawns because they prefer to nest in dry, flat, and sunny locations.
These red-bodied ants can build dome-like nests or mounds that can reach as tall as three feet high. Large fire ant colonies can reach up to 250,000 worker ants and they have been known to repeatedly sting unwanted intruders. Ants also like to nest around driveways, windows, and throughout your yard.
How they affect humans: Some of the species of ants will bite and cause irritation. Other species are common to coming into homes that have food sitting out or stickiness on counter tops. Finding where they are coming in and sealing it off as well as cleaning up food around the house can help keep these pests out.
We see various species of flies all over Florida and they seem to love to come out especially when it is BBQ grilling time. Having a screen over your pool and patio is a great way to keep them out. They are also common household pests as they get into the house as soon as they get their chance.
How they affect humans: Flies carry diseases and can make you very sick and transmit diseases such as cholera and salmonella to name a few. They will come in through windows and doors and even on fruit brought into the home. Even a small problem with flies can turn into a big one quickly if they are not taken care of. This is because some species of flies go from eggs to an adult in just 7 days!
Mosquitoes are a very common household pest in Florida and can be especially bothersome during our summers. Water sources are required for them to breed and survive so it is important to control these in the yard. Bird baths are one of the main culprits for breeding, as is any standing water. You may need to invest in natural repellent plants like lavender to help with mosquitoes in the yard. Lastly, the pests also like vegetation and cool areas during the day when they are resting.
How they affect humans: These pests are known to harbor a variety of transmissible diseases including malaria, Zika, and more.
Cockroaches can often be found in dark and cool places and an adult can live up to a full year. While cockroaches can be found dwelling outside, they have a tendency to wander indoors to search for food and water. They also like areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements to name a few.
How they affect humans: These pests have become a Florida health concern due to their association with human waste and disease and their unique ability to move from sewers into homes. Unfortunately, they can cause dysentery, tapeworms, roundworm, fungus, viruses, and allergies.
Termites are most productive in the summer. This is the season when they continue to consume wood while the queen continues to lay eggs and build their colonies. They cause more damage to homes and property than any other pest, in fact about $5 billion! Proper termite treatment is required because when you see the damage it is usually too late. Hiring a pest control company to put termite protection on your home is important.
How they affect humans: Destroy the wood in the home and cause a lot of property damage. Structural damage results from these pests.
There are many pests that make up this category such as bees, wasps, hornets, and more. They reach their highest populations in the summer and will build their nests in any opening in your home, under overhangs, or in the ground near your foundation. Watching out for the nests is important in order to avoid being stung.
How they affect humans: Stinging insects can cause burning sensations as well as allergic reactions in some people, sometimes even death. It is important to keep an eye out for the nests and have a professional remove it if one is in your home.
Spiders Are Common Household Pests
Spiders love to lurk in cool, dark places where they can spin their webs and trap food. While most spiders throughout Florida are completely harmless there are two notable spiders that can pose serious safety risks for you and your family. These are black widow and brown recluse spiders.
Black Widow Spiders
Black widows are known for their venom and for an hourglass shape on their abdomen. If they bite a human, it can cause paralysis, muscle aches, and sometimes death. Unfortunately, these spiders are especially harmful to the elderly and small children.
Brown Recluse Spiders
This type of spider has a brown body and likes to live in dark man-made places. These are areas such as the trash can. Brown recluses are known as “shy” and try to avoid humans. Their exoskeleton is fragile and if you barely touch it, it shrivels up and dies.
How they affect humans: These spiders bite and can leave marks on the skin where the bite occurred. Depending on the person who is bitten, there can be side effects.
These are found not just in beds and mattresses, but also in cracks and crevices in a home, hotel, store, etc. Bed bugs are seen up and down the East Coast and here in Florida. If you notice these in your home, it is important to call a professional right away to get rid of them. These bugs like to travel on suitcases and show up in hotel rooms. When they bite, they leave welts and itchy skin that needs to be treated.
Summer is Alligator Mating Season
Alligators are all over the state of Florida. Any body of water, even a few inches deep, may have an alligator in it. It is very important to be cautious around water and be aware of your surroundings, especially in the summer. Alligator mating season is from May to June and nesting in June and July. During this time, alligators are on the move and show up in odd places: swimming pools, front doors, even in automotive shops.
Maintenance Around the Home
Landscaping in the yard- take a look around the yard and see if there is standing water. If there is, find out where it is coming from. If you don’t already have gutters or downspouts, investing in those is a good idea. Adding plants that can help with water drainage is also an option. As mentioned above, you don’t want standing water as it will attract mosquitoes.
Pothole in the yard – if you see one of these in the yard, then you may have a water leak underground. It is important to have a professional survey the land to see if this is a growing issue. The last thing you want is a sinkhole developing in the yard.
Moss on the roof – take a look at your roof and see if you have moss growing on it. The moss comes from the shingles soaking up the water when it rains. Then, when it grows, it causes the rainwater to miss the eaves as it tries to drain. Unfortunately, it misses the gutters and the downspouts and puddles in the yard. This again can lead to sinkholes, potholes, and standing water that attracts pests.
Here is a video about some of the pests you will see in Florida:
When to Call a Professional
Call a professional if you find you have a problem with any of these pests in your home. It is better to have a professional come out to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan to help you than to let it go.
Summers in Florida are beautiful. However, having your home safe from these pests is ideal. Florida is known for its higher temperatures and increased humidity. Along with these conditions it brings with it pests throughout the year. Educating yourself as a homeowner about these common pests will enable you to help mitigate them from entering your home, as well as a regular pest prevention schedule where IPM is integrated. Honor Services is your go-to for pest control and home inspections.