COMMON SOUTH FLORIDA PESTS

The following images and descriptions are for educational purposes only. They may be able to help you identify certain pests invading your home. If you believe you might have an infestation on your hands, feel free to contact our office and a licensed technician can further assist you.

American Cockroach

Periplaneta Americana

American cockroach are an average length of around 4 cm (1.6 in) and about 7 mm (0.28 in) tall.They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. American cockroaches generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water.

 

They prefer warm temperatures around 29 °C (84 °F) and do not tolerate cold temperatures. These cockroaches are common in basements, crawl spaces, cracks and crevices of porches, foundations, and walkways adjacent to buildings. In residential areas outside the tropics these cockroaches live in basements and sewers, and may move outdoors into yards during warm weather.

German Cockroach

Blattella Germanica

The German cockroach (Blattella germanica) is a small species of cockroach, typically about 1.1 to 1.6 cm (0.43 to 0.63 in)long. In colour it varies from tan to almost black, and it has two dark, roughly parallel, streaks on the pronotum running anteroposteriorly from behind the head to the base of the wings.

German cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers. They are attracted particularly to meats, starches, sugars, and fatty foods. Where a shortage of foodstuffs exists, they may eat household items such as soap, glue, and toothpaste. 

Big Headed Ants

Pheidole Megacephala

They look like fire ants, but they're not.

 

The bigheaded ant (BHA), Pheidole megacephala (Fabricius), is a very successful invasive species that is sometimes considered a danger to native ants and has been nominated as among 100 of the "World's Worst" invaders. Bigheaded ants nest in colonies underground. The bigheaded ants feed on dead insects, small invertebrates and honeydew excreted by insects such as aphids, soft scale insects, mealybugs, whiteflies and planthoppers. 

Carpenter Ants

Camponotus

Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) are large (0.3 to 1.0 in or 0.76 to 2.54 cm) ants indigenous to many forested parts of the world. Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying, or hollow wood, most commonly in forest environments. They cut "galleries" into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches, are more likely to be infested by carpenter ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.

Fire Ants

Solenopsis

Fire ants of those species invasive in the United States can be distinguished from other ants locally present, by their copper brown head and body with a darker abdomen. The worker ants are blackish to reddish, and their size varies from 2 to 6 mm (0.079 to 0.236 in). Fire ants often attack small animals and can kill them. Fire ants are more aggressive than most native species and so have pushed many species away from their local habitat.

Ghost Ants

Tapinoma Melanocephalum

The ghost ant is small, with average lengths ranging between 1.3 to 2.0 millimetres (0.051 to 0.079 in) in workers. They are recognised by their dark head and pale or translucent legs and gaster (abdomen). The ghost ant cannot adapt to colder climates and are only confined to greenhouses and buildings that provide considerable conditions that allows the species to thrive.

White Footed Ants

Technomyrmex Albipes

T. albipes is a small black ant some 2 to 4 mm (0.08 to 0.16 in) long with the lower part of the limbs pale. Workers are chocolate-black with pale lower limbs, antennae with twelve segments and a flattened petiolar node. The white-footed ant forages widely, entering dwellings and scavenging in kitchens and other rooms where it is considered a pest.

Rice Weevil

Sitophilus Oryzae

The adults are around 2 mm long with a long snout. The body color appears to be brown/black, but on close examination, four orange/red spots are arranged in a cross on the wing covers. Typically found in pasta boxes, rice containers or other store bought grains. Control of weevils involves locating and removing all potentially infected food sources; followed by a pest control treatment to totally eradicate the infestation. 

Red Flour Beetle

Tribolium Castaneum

The red flour beetle attacks stored grain and other food products including flour, cereals, pasta, biscuits, beans, and nuts, causing loss and damage. It has been found that some "Tribolium" species may spread the parasite "Hymenolepis nana", a human platyhelmint parasite, as an intermediate host (just as many species of Tenebrio's family). It may cause an allergic response, as well, but is not known to cause damage to structures or furniture.

Indian Mealmoth

Plodia Interpunctella

Adults are 8–10 mm in length with 16– to 20-mm wingspans (c.  3⁄4 of an inch). Indian mealmoths feed on a large range of plants, grains, and other human food products. Moths feed on many plant-based foods. These foods include dry pet food (plant based), birdseed, cereal, soup mixes, bread, pasta, rice, flour, spices, dried fruits and nuts. 

Fleas

Siphonaptera

As external parasites of mammals and birds, they live by consuming the blood of their hosts. Adults are up to about 3 mm (0.12 in) long and usually brown. Bodies flattened sideways enable them to move through their host's fur or feathers; strong claws prevent them from being dislodged. They lack wings, and have mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood and hind legs adapted for jumping. The latter enable them to leap a distance of some 50 times their body length, a feat second only to jumps made by froghoppers. Larvae are worm-like with no limbs; they have chewing mouthparts and feed on organic debris.

Ticks

 Ticks are ectoparasites (external parasites), living by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. Tick species are widely distributed around the world, but they tend to flourish more in countries with warm, humid climates, because they require a certain amount of moisture in the air to undergo metamorphosis, and because low temperatures inhibit their development from egg to larva.

House Mouse

Mus Musculus

Mice, in certain contexts, can be considered vermin which are a major source of crop damage, causing structural damage and spreading diseases through their parasites and feces.In North America, breathing dust that has come in contact with mouse excrement has been linked to hantavirus, which may lead to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Mice adapt well to urban areas and are known for eating almost all types of food scraps.

Rats

Rattus

Roof rats thrive in attics, roof spaces, palm trees, and ornamental shrubbery. They are climbers and prefer to nest off the ground. Roof rats are destructive to citrus groves, since they live in citrus trees and gnaw on the fruit. They can be quite destructive in attics, gnawing on electrical wires and rafters.

Roof rats generally prefer vegetables, fruits and grain; but they consume ½ to 1 ounce per day of food from various sources. Because they must have water to survive, roof rats also consume an ounce per day and will range 100–150 feet from harborages in search of water or food.

Earwigs

Dermaptera

Earwigs are mostly nocturnal and often hide in small, moist crevices during the day, and are active at night, feeding on a wide variety of insects and plants. Damage to foliage, flowers, and various crops is commonly blamed on earwigs, especially the common earwig Forficula auricularia. Food typically consist of a wide array of living and dead plant and animal matter.

Silverfish

Lepisma Saccharina

Silverfish are nocturnal insects typically 13–25 mm (0.5–1.0 in) long. Silverfish are agile runners and can outrun most of their predators (including wandering spiders and centipedes). Silverfish consume matter that contains polysaccharides, such as starches and dextrin in adhesives.These include book bindings, carpet, clothing, coffee, dandruff, glue, hair, some paints, paper, photos, plaster, and sugar. They will damage wallpaper in order to consume the paste. Silverfish can also cause damage to tapestries. Other substances they may eat include cotton, dead insects, linen, silk, or even their own exuvia (moulted exoskeleton). 

Spiders

Spiny Orb -Weaver (Gasteracantha)

The spiny orb-weaver spider is one of the most colorful and easily recognized spiders in Florida. The dorsum of the abdomen is usually white with black spots and large red spines on the margin. Females are 5 mm to 10 mm long and 10 mm to 14 mm wide. The webs typically contain tufts of silk, which may prevent birds from flying into them.

Centipedes

Chilopoda

Centipedes are usually associated with damp, dark places such as under stones, leaf litter, logs, bark, or soil crevices. Indoors they may be found in closets and bathrooms where there is high humidity.

Centipedes usually lay 15 to 55 eggs clustered together in the soil, although the eggs of some species are laid singly. The eggs hatch soon after they are deposited. The female will usually guard the eggs and the newly hatched young. Young centipedes closely resemble the adults and require three years to mature. Centipedes are rather long-lived, and individuals may live up to six years.

Millipedes

Diplopoda

Millipedes are wormlike, cylindrical animals with many body segments, and most body segments bearing two pairs of legs. Millipedes tend to coil up tightly when disturbed, and some species can secrete a foul-smelling fluid. Millipedes feed on decaying vegetable matter and are often found under stones, flower pots, boards, or similar debris where there is abundant moisture. Occasionally after rains or during cold weather, large numbers of millipedes may migrate into buildings. They can climb foundation walls and enter homes through any small opening. These pests are generally more troublesome in wooded or newly developed areas, where decaying vegetation provides excellent food and breeding conditions.

Flies

Diptera

The house fly is one of the most common of all insects. It is worldwide in distribution and is a pest in homes, barns, poultry houses, food-processing plants, dairies, and recreation areas. It has a tremendous breeding potential, and during the warmer months can produce a generation in less than two weeks. In many areas of Florida the house fly breeds continually throughout the year.

Wasps

Hymenoptera

Adult solitary wasps mainly feed on nectar, but the majority of their time is taken up by foraging for food for their carnivorous young, mostly insects or spiders.  They hunt a wide variety of prey, mainly other insects (including other Hymenoptera), both larvae and adults. Some social wasps are omnivorous, feeding on fallen fruit, nectar, and carrion such as dead insects. People are most often stung in late summer, when wasp colonies stop breeding new workers; the existing workers search for sugary foods and are more likely to come into contact with humans; if people then respond aggressively, the wasps sting.

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