Well, it’s summer, the time of year we all enjoy taking vacations, visiting family, getting together for cookouts, pool parties, and picnics – especially this year. In South Florida, that also means household, garden, and yard pests are in their element, thriving in the Sunshine State’s signature heat and humidity. While some of Florida’s pests are merely nuisance pests such as ghost ants and those moths around the porch light, many also cause destruction and pose health threats to homeowners, their guests, and their loved ones, such as mosquitoes. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most common summer pests in Florida.
Mostly nuisance pests, ants can be seen foraging in lines up walls, on kitchen floors, and across countertops for sweet or greasy food. As most ants build colonies in the ground near your home, the ants you see in your kitchen are on a mission to find food and transport it back to their colonies. Others, such as Caribbean crazy ants and white-footed ants are invasive species that have been making names for themselves recently. These ants often have colonies in trees or set up shop in other cavities and voids or take over other insects’ nests. While you can spread granular bait around your foundation, a professional, such as Petri Pest Control Services, is usually needed to eliminate these ants from your home. Both white-footed and crazy ants’ colonies consist of multiple queens, resulting in much larger colonies than native ants. White-footed and Caribbean crazy ants are changing South Florida’s ecosystem, displacing birds and other animals by depleting their food supplies
- Fire Ants
Feared more than other ants, red fire ants usually build their mounds out in the open in yards and fields in full sunlight. While they do stay away from people, their bites can be quite painful when they are threatened. Happening upon a fire ant mound when mowing the lawn can prove painful, and sometimes fatal, as fire ants can attack as a group, inflicting victims with burning pain and significant amounts of venom. Marking fire ant mounds in your yard is one way to avoid encounters with fire ants. Granular baits are available but sometimes fire ant colonies extend underground a great distance so contacting a professional pest control company is advised to get rid of fire ants.
- Chinch bugs
Only about ?” in length, chinch bugs can do massive damage to your lawn. Feeding on the stems of turfgrass, chinch bugs suck blades of grass dry and inject them with toxins. Maintaining a healthy lawn helps guard against chinch bugs, including correct mowing, watering, fertilizing. Chinch bug damage can look like drought damage and chinch bugs regularly build resistance to insecticides. Contacting a professional pest control service to address your chinch bug issue is the most effective way to get your lawn back to a green, lush healthy state.
Much like aphids and mealybugs, whiteflies use their piercing mouthparts to suck the chlorophyll from the underside of plant leaves, also leaving a substance called honeydew that causes fungus conditions that can kill plants. DIY chemical products are not recommended to treat whiteflies as they can also kill whitefly predators such as ladybugs, spiders, dragonflies, damselflies, and other beneficial insects. Spraying your plants with a garden hose will dislodge whiteflies long enough to disturb their activities. Petri Pest Control Services offers a whitefly treatment program for Ficus and gumbo limbo spiraling whiteflies.
These insidious pests carry diseases such as Zika, West Nile, and several strains of encephalitis. Eliminating all sources of standing water on your property, including in kids’ toys and gardening containers, along with clogged gutters, birdbaths, and pet water bowls can help reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes in your yard. Petri Pest Control Services offers the eco-friendly In2Care Mosquito Trapping System to reduce mosquito populations on your property. Installed and maintained, these traps attract female mosquitoes to bait that prevent larvae from maturing and protect your property for years to come. Other mosquito reduction spraying services are available, as well. When you’re outdoors gardening or tending to your plants, be sure to wear insect repellent with DEET plus long sleeves and long pants to guard against mosquitoes.
- Subterranean termites
Building massive nests under the soil near your home, aggressive Asian and Formosan subterranean termites do more damage than native termites – eating anything that smacks of cellulose, including live trees, structural timbers, and utility poles. Subterranean termites tunnel to the wood in your home, transporting it back to their 1 million-plus populations through mud tubes. Proactive homeowners in South Florida should contact a professional pest control company to address any suspected subterranean termite activity such as surfaces that look like they’re water damaged or blistered, as well as wooden surfaces that sound hollow when tapped. Designed to eliminate subterranean termites permanently, Petri Pest Control technicians are licensed and trained in installing the Sentricon® Colony Elimination System on the perimeter of your property.
- Drywood termites
With much smaller colonies than subterranean termites, drywood termites may be difficult to detect because they live inside the wood they infest. Telltale signs of drywood termite activity include hollowed-out wood surfaces that look warped or water damaged, hollow-sounding surfaces, and piles of “frass,” unique pellet-shaped excrement that looks like sawdust. In most cases, Petri Pest Control Services locates termites, using Termatrac technology and applies liquid treatments directly into drywood termite galleries, which kill termite colonies without resorting to tent fumigation. Sometimes hard-to-access infestations or multiple infestations require tent fumigation.
Rapidly reproducing, resilient, and fast, roaches like dark, moist places to breed. Cockroaches can expose people to bacteria and diseases in addition to causing allergic reactions in children. Commercial sprays and baits are required by law to be safe for use in homes and are too diluted to affect roach infestations. Professional pest control companies can treat your home for roaches but homeowners can take a few measures to deter roaches from finding your home attractive. Sealing all holes, crevices, and tiny cracks in your foundation and around entryways can help exclude roaches from your home. Wiping down all food prep and dining areas thoroughly after each meal and sweeping or vacuuming the floor in these areas also deters roaches, as does cleaning all dishes after each meal and using trash receptacles with tight-fitting lids to discard leftovers. Resisting the inclination to store cardboard boxes will also help in your roach prevention practices.
While spiders suffer from a bad reputation due to their association with spooky things, spiders found in most homes can be beneficial as they prey on roaches and other pests. The only dangerous spiders in South Florida are widow and brown recluse spiders, usually found in wood piles, rock piles, and dark secluded places in your garage. Neither widows nor brown recluse spiders are aggressive spiders but they will bite when threatened or disturbed. Taking precautions when working with wood piles and when entering dark low-traffic spaces in your home can prevent running into widow and brown recluse spiders.
- Bed bugs
Tiny, oval-shaped, and nocturnal, bed bugs hide in your mattress and box springs during the day, coming out at night when you are asleep. Attracted to exhaled CO2, bed bugs are drawn to your neck and head area. Their bites contain a numbing agent that prevents you from waking up and catching them in the act. Usually, by the time red, itchy welts appear on victims, bed bug infestations are well underway. Contact a pest control professional to eliminate bed bugs. Prepping for your bed bug treatment, you will need to launder all bedding, clothes, and anything washable in the affected area in hot water and dry on high heat. Vacuum carpets, upholstery, electronics, window dressings, and furniture before treatment. Place items that can’t be washed or vacuumed in plastic bags to be treated with dusts or aerosols that are also applied in cracks and crevices where bed bugs can hide. Extreme heat and cold treatments, along with steam treatments, are also used to eliminate bed bugs. After bed bugs are eliminated, bed bug-proof mattress encasements and/or box spring liners can deter future infestations along with eliminating clutter, checking your mattress when you stay in hotels, and cleaning everything you take on trips immediately on returning home. Keeping a vigilant eye on the bags, backpacks, and clothing that come into your home can also help prevent bed bugs.
This summer, don’t let Florida’s pests bug you, contact Petri Pest Control Services in Broward and Palm Beach Counties – from Hollywood to Lake Worth – to schedule a free pest inspection.
10 Most Common Summer Pests In Florida in South Florida
Serving Broward County and Palm Beach County