What You Need To Know About South Florida Pests
If you’ve been in South Florida for more than a day, you know that it is home to many pests. You may take a "live and let live" attitude towards them until you encounter them in your home or business. Once pests get inside, you can no longer ignore them. That’s when you need our Pest Library. It provides important information about the pests that are most likely to invade your home or business so that you know what to do when you find them inside.
One of the most prevalent pests in Florida and really across much of the country is the ant. The hot, humid weather allows ants to thrive by providing them with plenty food and water sources, and our homes provide a respite from the hot weather. The ant has three distinct body parts, a defined waist, short, bent antennae, and six legs. They are social insects, live together in very large colonies, and often have multiple nesting sites they build both inside and outside our homes.
Florida is home to many different species of ants, with the following being the most common:
- Acrobat ants
- Black ants
- Carpenter ants
- Fire ants
- Ghost ants
- Pavement ants
- Sugar ants
- White-footed ants
Although most ants are largely described as nuisance pests and don’t pose a serious threat to people or our properties, they do, however, bring with them some problems and shouldn’t be allowed to live in our homes or take over our yards. As ants travel through trash cans, and over the ground, and decaying vegetation, they pick up various bacteria and parasites that they will bring with them into your house.
Ants eat many of the same foods we do and will contaminate your family’s stored foods. They are often attracted to areas of moisture, and their presence in or around your home may be an indicator of a moisture problem caused by poor ventilation or leaky pipes, or air conditioners. Some ants, like fire ants, are more problematic and will deliver painful bites and stings, and carpenter ants will tunnel through and damage structural wood.
As soon as you notice a problem with ants on your property, reach out to us at Pro Pest Control, Inc. We will provide the services necessary to find all the ants and their nesting sites and eliminate them.
To provide additional assistance, we have put together a list of our most helpful ant prevention tips:
- Seal up cracks in your foundation, install door sweeps, and make sure weatherstripping is intact around windows and doors.
- Keep lids on trash cans, clean outdoor eating areas, and regularly harvest fruit trees and garden plants.
- Remove water sources by quickly repairing leaky pipes and dripping air conditioners, and ventilating kitchens, bathrooms, attics, and crawl spaces.
- Store your family’s food either in the fridge or in airtight containers.
- Regularly vacuum your home and wipe counters and tables to remove crumbs, sticky liquids, and other food sources that ants could gather and bring back to the nest.
Bed bugs have adapted to living inside structures, the controlled temperatures enabling these pests to breed, feed, and develop large populations. Bed bugs don’t live outside, so they don’t move inside from our yards; instead, they are introduced into homes and businesses by people. Bed bugs don’t fly or jump, but they are exceptional hitchhikers; they move inside on people’s clothing or our belongings like pieces of furniture, rugs, or electronics. Once inside, these pests quickly make themselves at home and establish large, difficult-to-control populations.
Bed bugs are common in our Florida homes and businesses because their sole source of nutrition is blood and their preferred hosts are people. Bed bugs hang out in places where people spend a lot of time and regularly move in and out of. Some places people regularly come into contact with bed bugs include hotels, resorts, amusement parks, movie theaters, hospitals, shopping centers, and schools. After bringing them into your home, these reddish-brown insects that are about the size and shape of apple seeds hide out in areas that put them into close contact with people. Bed bugs are nocturnal and feed at night while we sleep, making the seams of mattresses and box springs, upholstery, furniture, wall hangings, or cracks in footboards or headboards common hideouts.
To help protect your home from being overtaken by bed bugs, reach out to us at Pro Pest Control. We will provide the services necessary to find and eliminate bed bugs from your home.
We have put together a list of our most helpful bed bug prevention tips to provide additional assistance:
- Place bed bug-proof protective covers on your mattresses and box springs.
- Regularly wash bedding.
- Always be vigilant when purchasing secondhand furniture or mattresses for your home. Inspect and clean them thoroughly before bringing them inside.
- Regularly vacuum your home to remove stray bed bugs.
- Be cautious in public places keeping your belongings up off the ground and away from other people’s belongings as much as possible.
- When traveling, always inspect your room for bed bugs before moving inside.
Next to ants, cockroaches are the most problematic pests Florida home and business owners have to contend with inside their structures. Many cockroaches live outside in wooded or swampy areas and our backyards; when the weather becomes too hot and dry, or there is a lack of food, they will migrate indoors. Other species have adapted to living indoors with people they move into and infest new locations by hiding in boxes, furniture, and appliances.
In other parts of the country, people may have to contend with a couple of species of roaches, but in Florida, we deal with quite a few different species, with some of the most common listed below.
- American cockroach
- Australian cockroach
- Florida wood roach
- German cockroach
- Smoky brown cockroach
Cockroaches are a year-round problem in Florida so staying vigilant to keep these pests out of your home is important. One of the reasons these pests are dangerous inside our homes is because they can spread human pathogens, bacteria, and parasites. They also contaminate food, stain surfaces, produce unpleasant odors, and trigger allergies and asthma attacks.
When it comes to cockroaches knowing where they like to hide is important; regularly checking these spots will help identify an infestation before it becomes large and out of control. Cockroaches generally are found in areas of a house that are naturally warm, damp, and near food sources like bathrooms, kitchens, pantries, utility rooms, and crawl spaces. These nocturnal pests will hide in the backs of drawers, behind large appliances, behind wood trim or baseboards, inside boxes or clutter, and inside wall voids during the day.
As soon as you notice cockroaches on your property, reach out to us at Pro Pest Control. We will provide the services necessary to find and eliminate all the cockroaches from your home.
To provide additional assistance, we have put together a list of our most helpful cockroach prevention tips:
- Reduce humidity levels in your home by using dehumidifiers and air conditioners.
- Quickly repair leaky pipes and fixtures both inside and outside your home.
- Seal up openings in your home’s exterior, cracks in the foundation, spaces around windows and doors, and damaged siding or roofing.
- Inspect things coming into your home like packages, grocery bags, and secondhand furniture and appliances for cockroaches before bringing them into your home.
- Always keep lids on trash cans, recycling bins, and compost bins and store them away from the outside of your home.
Another pest that unfortunately frequents our Florida homes that we wish would find anywhere else to live is the rodent. Norway rats, roof rats, and mice have learned how to live successfully with people. As we have developed more and more land for our own use, rodents have learned to use our yards and homes to their benefit. Gardens, fruit trees, outdoor eating areas, pet food, and bird feeders provide food, and leaky pipes, poor drainage, and filled containers provide water sources. Our homes and our yards, landscaping, and outbuildings provide rodents with ample amount of shelter.
Rodents are capable of living outside year-round in Florida but will look for a way inside if the weather becomes too hot or there is a sudden reduction in food. Some of the rodent’s most common entry points include open doors, gaps around windows and doors, holes in masonry walls, and cracks in exterior walls or the foundation. Spaces around vents or around air conditioners also provide entry points into our homes.
Living with rodents is not only a nuisance but dangerous. Their sharp front incisors can chew through wires and cause short circuits or fires; their chewing habits will also damage furniture, clothing, and other belongings. Rodents can also spread diseases, bacteria, and parasites, and they contaminate food sources.
To help eliminate or protect your property from rodents, reach out to us at Pro Pest Control. We will provide the services necessary to find and eliminate rodents from your property.
To provide additional assistance, we have put together a list of our most helpful rodent prevention tips:
- Limit their access to food in your yard by regularly harvesting fruits and vegetables from trees and garden areas.
- Keep lids on trash cans and compost bins.
- Outdoor eating areas should always be free of crumbs and leftover food.
- Inside, regularly clean your kitchen and store food in the fridge or containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Keep clutter in your house and yard to a minimum; these shy prey animals love to hide and nest in cluttered areas.
The stinging insects living in Florida that are most likely to find their way into your yard to nest or forage for food include bees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and honey bees. Most stinging insects have stingers extending from the end of their abdomen they use as a means of defense or to paralyze their insect prey. Some stinging insects, like honey bees, are only are capable of stinging once, while others like wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets can deliver multiple stings.
These pests are in our yards because they provide them with plenty of places to hunt for food, find water, and safe nesting locations. When they nest in a high traffic area of a property, these beneficial pollinators and predators become dangerous pests. They need to be removed or relocated to avoid their painful and potentially life-threatening stings.
Another pest that thrives in Florida due to the hot, humid weather and also delivers painful "stings" is the mosquito. Female mosquitoes require blood meals to create viable eggs. To feed on the blood of people or animals, the mosquito doesn’t use a stinger but rather a proboscis (an elongated piercing mouthpart) to pierce the skin of a victim and suck out their blood. These bites can be painful and generally leave behind red, itchy welts that can become infected.
In addition to their unrelenting bites, having mosquitoes on your property in large numbers is problematic because, through the feeding process, they can transmit diseases and parasites to people and animals that cause serious health problems.
As soon as you notice a problem with stinging insects on your property, reach out to us here at Pro Pest Control. We will provide the services necessary to find all the nesting and breeding sites and eliminate them.
We have put together a list of our most helpful stinging insect prevention tips to provide additional assistance:
- Remove as much standing water as possible from your property; mosquitoes use standing water as breeding sites, and bees, wasps, hornets, and other stinging insects use standing water as a water source.
- Cut back overgrown vegetation and trees back away from your home’s exterior.
- Keep your grass cut short.
- Make sure to place covers over vents and chimneys to prevent stinging insects from making their way inside.
- Reduce the amount of flowering vegetation planted next to your exterior doors.
Termites are pests that live throughout Florida in large numbers and are well-known for causing expensive damage by feeding on structural wood and other wooden structures located in homes and businesses. Each year across the country, termites are responsible for generating more than five billion dollars in damages, typically not covered by insurance. Termites are tough pests to identify because, depending on the species, they live underground or within the wood they're feeding on.
One of the best ways to determine the presence of termites is by spotting termites swarmers. A termite swarm usually occurs in the spring when mature reproductive termites fly from the nest to find a mate and start a new colony. Spotting flying termites or their shed wings should immediately alert you to a problem and cause you to seek help!
In Florida, we regularly deal with three different species of wood-eating termites; drywood termites, Formosan termites, and subterranean termites. While each feeds on and damage wood, there are some major differences between the species:
- Subterranean termites live in large colonies, prefer damp or water-damaged wood, have high moisture needs, and nest underground. They are the most widespread species living in Florida and across the country.
- Formosan termites are a type of subterranean termite that can nest both underground and above the ground. They maintain their moisture needs above the ground by building carton nests. These termites live in extremely large colonies and can enter homes both at the ground level and aerially.
- Drywood termites have lower moisture needs than other species and prefer to feed on dry or sound wood. They often enter homes in furniture and other wooden materials. They tend to live in smaller colonies than subterranean termites, and they nest within the wood they feed on.
To help eliminate or protect your property from termites, reach out to us at Pro Pest Control, Inc. We will provide the services necessary to find and eliminate all the termites from your yard and home.
To provide additional assistance, we have put together a list of our most helpful termite prevention tips:
- Remove wooden debris from your yard.
- Replace any water-damaged wood in your home with sound wood.
- Always inspect antique furniture, wooden flooring, beams, and other structural wood for signs of termites before bringing it into your home.
- Make sure that gutters are working to direct water away from the outside of your house, create a barrier between any mulch and your foundation, and repair leaky pipes.
- Reduce humidity levels in your home through the use of dehumidifiers and air conditioners.
Custom Solutions For Your South Florida Pest Problems
Let our professionals help you guard your residential or commercial property against South Florida’s toughest pests. At Pro Pest Control, we treat our customers like they are part of our family and dedicate ourselves to meeting all of their pest control needs through monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or yearly pest control programs. Whatever best suits your family, property, and budget, we have a solution that will fit!