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Common Pests

Red Imported Fire Ants

Red Imported Fire Ant

Red Imported Fire Ant

Are not commonly found indoors, however they can be found anywhere outside including shrub beds, middle of the lawn, inside potted plants and along sidewalks and driveways. They have a painful stinging bite which can cause anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening to elderly people and infants. A Fire Ant mound has multiple entry and exit ways. Do not disturb the mound because it will spread the colony.

Ghost Ants

Ghost Ant

Are among the smallest ants found in Florida. Their head and thorax will be dark brown. Their gaster and legs will be pale in color, almost transparent. Their trails move slowly, but when disturbed they scatter quickly and erratic. They are attracted to sweets. They can be found generally in potted plants and under moist wooded structures.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant

Are structural pests generally found inside wall voids and in attics. You will generally see carpenter ants active at dusk. Carpenter ants can damage structural wood if allowed to sit undisturbed for any length of time. They do not eat wood but they excavate and build their nests with wood particles.

Pyramid Ants

Pyramid Ant

Pyramid Ant

Are commonly found outdoors. Their nests can be found in cracks of pavement, driveways and walkways. They differ from fire ants in that their nests are volcano shaped with one entry/exit as opposed to multiple entry/exits with fire ant mounds. Pyramid Ants are beneficial insects as they prey on other pests such as fire ants, wasps, roaches etc. No control measures should be used.

Argentine Ants

Argentine Ant

Argentine Ant

Produce the largest colonies, in which each colony can comprise thousands of ants. They are attracted to sweets. These ants are most commonly found in shrub areas where they protect and farm aphids, which produce honeydew, their main food source. Argentine Ants will forage very long distances often traveling from one property to another.

Ticks

Tick

Tick

The common deer tick is a carrier of lime disease among other diseases. Ticks are attracted to hosts from the carbon dioxide exhaled by mammals. Hard ticks seek hosts by an interesting behavior called “questing.” Questing ticks crawl up the stems of grass or perch on the edges of leaves on the ground in a typical posture with the front legs extended. Certain biochemicals such as carbon dioxide as well as heat and movement serve as stimuli for questing behavior. Subsequently, these ticks climb on to a potential host which brushes against their extended front legs or they can also drop onto a host passing by. Because of their nature to drop onto hosts, ticks are not generally found at ground level but instead perched at a higher level. It will generally require more than one insecticide application to achieve control.

Fleas

Flea

Flea

Are equally found indoors and outdoors on lower areas such as floors, turf or mulch. They are avid jumpers and will actively seek out their hosts. Fleas cannot complete their life cycle in full sun and females must have a blood meal to reproduce. It will generally require more than one insecticide application to achieve control. An active infestation will require treatment both indoors and outdoors.

German Roaches

German Roach

Are the most common roach species found in homes, apartments and restaurants. German Roaches are the number one cause of upper respiratory disease among infants. Adults are light brown and can be distinguished from other roaches by two dark strips on their head. German cockroaches are active, moving around within structures. They can be carried from place to place in bagged potatoes and onions, grocery bags and other food packages. German roaches are particularly attracted to fermented food and beverage residues. If water is present, adults can live a month without food. Adults and nymphs will usually hide in areas close to food and moisture, which is why they are generally found in kitchens and bathrooms. It will generally require more than one insecticide application to achieve control.

Australian Roaches

Australian Roach

Australian Roach

Look very similar to the American Roach. Australian Roaches are reddish brown in color with prominent yellow stripes along the outer front edges of their wings and a dark spot in the center of their backs. They grow up to 1.5” in length and are fond of sewers and septic tanks. Most infestations come from outside the structures.

 

Silverfish

Silverfish

Silverfish

Are primitive, wingless insects that are ½ inch long when fully grown. They are covered with silvery scales and are flattened and somewhat ‘carrot” shaped. Three long, slender “antennae-like” appendages project from the end of the abdomen, giving them the name “bristle tails”. Silverfish are tropical insects that are able to thrive in home environments. They are found living in warm moist locations in the home and are most often found damaging books, cloth, and sometimes dried meats or dead insects. Sanitation is helpful but will not solve the problem because these pests feed on so many paper products.

Earwigs

Isolated Earwig

Earwig

Are 5/8 inch long, dark brown in color, with a red head and pale yellow-brown legs. They usually have two pair of wings, the hind wings being fully developed and found folded beneath the short, leathery front wings. Earwigs have a pincer-like appendage at the end of their abdomens that is called forceps. They are outdoor insects that become household pests when they invade homes, usually in the fall. Earwigs usually live outdoors under stones or other protection and feed on plant material. They will sometimes invade homes, doing so at night. During daylight hours they hide in cracks and crevices, under furniture or beneath carpeting. They are considered a pest because of their presence and because they have a foul odor, however they are beneficial outdoors because they prey on chinch bugs. These pests are best controlled by providing a protective barrier around the house.

Scorpions

Scorpion

Scorpion

Are close relatives of insects and spiders. They have broad, flat bodies with eight legs. They are most easily identified by their two pincers at the front of their bodies and six-segmented stinger-tipped tail at the back. Scorpions range in color from mustard yellow to black. Scorpions found in Florida thrive near moisture sources. Their sting is poisonous but not generally life threatening as compared to desert scorpions. They are frequently found under stones, in piles of rocks or masonry, in wood piles, under the bark of trees and in moist mulch. Indoors, they are often found in crawlspaces, attics, dry stone walls, and foundations. They will most likely enter a home in washrooms or bathroom where they seek water. Removal of scorpion harborage area is one of the most effective ways to reduce population. Piles of trash and scrap lumber should be eliminated. Firewood and lumber stored up off the ground where possible.

Black Widow Spiders

Black Widow Spider

The female black widow is about ½ long, glossy black, with a rounded abdomen. The abdomen has a red hourglass shaped marking. The males are much smaller than females, 1/4-inch long with a longer, narrower adbomen and somewhat longer legs. The female bite should be considered a medical emergency, as it can result in serious health complications including death. Black window spiders are very shy and like to build their webs in dry, protected locations where their prey is likely to travel. They are commonly found in wood piles, barns, or sheds, beneath benches, in crawl spaces, under rocks, and similar protected locations. The female often eats the male after mating, thus giving them their rather morbid name. Black widows have poisonous glands and will bite if handled roughly or disturbed. They usually avoid human contact if possible. Eliminate trash harborages, if any.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse

Range in color from light flesh brown to dark brown. They measure ¼ to ½ inches long and have long legs that appear bare. They have six eyes arranged in a semicircle on the top front of the 1st body segment. The brown recluse spider constructs a nondescript, irregular web that is used almost exclusively as a retreat. Nests are usually built in hidden, secluded locations such as among old papers, in seldom used clothes or shoes or in attics. Outdoors, they are frequently found under rocks and in barns and sheds. The spider usually retreats to the nest whenever disturbed while hunting. These spiders have a painful bite that may develop into an ugly, slow healing ulcer resulting in tissue loss and necrosis. Brown recluse spiders may be controlled by eliminating as many of their harborage areas as possible. A thorough cleaning often removes many spiders.

Wolf Spiders

Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider

Are similar in appearance to the Brown Recluse Spider. They scurry along the ground and walls and are avid daytime hunters. Wolf Spiders include several different sub species and can range in size from ¼” to the as large as a human hand. A Wolf Spider is poisonous but at a low toxicity. Their bite can be painful and cause irritation and swelling of the skin.

 

Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jacket

Yellow Jacket

Have a typical “wasp” body shape. They have a very distinct head that possesses chewing parts, short-elbowed antennae, and large compound eyes. The thorax and abdomen are bright yellow and black patterns, appear hairless and are about ½ inch long. They have four wings that are clear and smoky brown. Yellow jacket nests will normally be located in the ground or in a hollow tree. They have large nests which are best treated in the evening or early morning hours when possible, because at that time most of the members will be in the nest or hive with only small number of scouts remaining outside the nest. Do not disturb yellow jackets as they are extremely aggressive and their sting is considered among the most painful.

Paper Wasps

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Have narrow bodies, measuring approximately one inch in length. They are similar in appearance to Yellow Jackets, however their wings are longer, narrower and their bodies are reddish brown and yellow. They are not typically aggressive unless their nest is disturbed. Their nests are commonly found on the exterior of homes such as entryways, underneath eaves, door and window frames and along gutters. The Paper Wasp is a tireless worker and can rebuild their nests within 24 hours. The placement of their nests is conducive to frequent contact with humans. Although they are not generally aggressive, their sting is painful and can cause anaphylaxis which can result in death.

Mud Daubers

Mud Dauber

Mud Dauber

Are 3/4” to 1” long varying in color from black to iridescent blue-black. They have a long narrow waist between the thorax and abdomen. These are solitary wasps. You will only find one mud dauber in each nest, which is constructed of dirt and wood particles. They produce a binding substance to attach particles to construct their nests. Some mud daubers hunt spiders, which makes them beneficial. Mud daubers are not generally aggressive unless their nest is disturbed.

Cicada Killers

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Are amongst the largest of wasps reaching up to 2.5” in length. They are similar in appearance to Yellow Jackets. This is a solitary wasp, which makes its home beneath the ground. You will find mounds of dirt with one large entry and exit hole. The Cicada Killer is not an aggressive wasp but their size is intimidating. Control is generally difficult as they burrow deep into the ground. Dust insecticides are most effective.

 

Norway Rats

Norway Rat

Norway Rat

Can reach up to 16” in length and weigh 12-16 oz. These “Super Rats” have a stocky body with a blunt nose, small ears set close to their body and a scaly, large protruding eyes and a semi-naked tail that is shorter than the head and body combined. Their color ranges from gray to reddish brown. They are generally a problem in secluded areas such as attics, garages and inside walls. These rodents eat and contaminate food, cause structural damage by chewing and digging. They carry a variety of diseases and pose serious health risks. The best control is to seal structural voids where these pests can enter.

Roof Rats

Roof Rat

Roof Rat

Are smaller and more slender in appearance than Norway Rats. Adults weigh 5-9 oz. and up to 8” in length. They have a slender body. Their snout is pointed, ears are large and their tail is longer than their body. With adequate food and shelter, Roof Rats will live in close proximity to humans and prefer living in attics, ceilings and walls. They often chew on wires, which leads to outages and fires. They produce a strong musty odor. They carry a variety of diseases and pose serious health risks. The best control is to seal structural voids where these pests can enter.

House Mouse

House Mouse

House Mouse

They have a small slender body, weighing between ½-1 oz and up to 4” in length. They are dusty grey in color, have large ears, a semi-naked tail that is as long as their head and body. The House Mouse has excellent vision, hearing and sense of smell which make them highly adaptable to surviving in homes and buildings. They only need a ¼” opening to enter a structure so they often have many access points. They carry a variety of diseases and pose serious health risks. The best control is to seal structural voids where these pests can enter.

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