Pests can strike anywhere, and unfortunately, Orlando, Florida, is not exempt. Our yards and gardens are typically peaceful places to relax and enjoy a piece of nature. However, pests can invade these spaces, rapidly breed, and take these spaces over. Some pests can even become a threat to your family’s health and well-being if left unchecked.
If you have pests in your yard, there are a couple of steps you can take to get them out:
- Pest Identification
- Identifying Common Orlando Yard Pests
- Pest Prevention
Begin by taking a close look at any pests you see in your yard. The majority of “pests” in our yards are actually benign and do not harm the plants in our environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only five to fifteen percent of bugs you see in your yard are genuinely harmful.
Some pests, like spiders, will even eat harmful pests in your yard. So, despite spiders having a reputation as “bad” pests, they can be helpful outdoors.
This begs the question — which pests are actually harmful to your yard in Orlando, Florida?
Common Yard Pests in Orlando
Common Garden Bugs
There are many harmful garden bugs in the Orlando area, such as:
- Mole crickets (Watch out for these after rain or irrigation, you may see tunneling marks and cut up roots as signs they are in your garden)
- Chinch bugs (Common signs include yellow or brown blades, especially if these dead patches are near sidewalks or driveways)
- White grubs (These bugs tunnel below the surface and feed on soft roots, which destroys the plants. Large infestations may attract big predators like moles, armadillos, and opossums.)
- Lawn caterpillars (Look for small circular patches of dead grass)
While mosquitoes don’t harm the plants in our yards and gardens, they are a massive pest to have buzzing around while you’re trying to enjoy the peaceful outdoors. Mosquitoes can also transmit dangerous diseases, like West Nile and Zika, to our families and us through their irritating bites.
If you have mosquitoes, try treating any standing water, such as ponds or birdbaths, with microbial insecticides to help reduce breeding grounds. Mosquitoes also breed and stay in tall grass and weeds, so keeping tall grass trimmed and weeds pulled can reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard.
Fire ants are infamous for their painful bites that can cause allergic reactions in humans. Many fire ant bites are so painful that they may require medical attention to treat. Unfortunately, fire ants are prolific and will settle into your yard happily.
Common signs of fire ants include dirt mounds, which allow fire ants to create underground tunnel systems. These underground tunnel systems will also eventually weaken your lawn. Unfortunately, if you try to destroy or disturb the dirt mounds, the fire ants will rush out to protect their home, resulting in you receiving painful bites.
If you have fire ants, professional help is strongly recommended as fire ants are dangerous to your health.
Prevention is always better than treatment, and pest control is no different. Once you have your pest problem under control, take steps to protect your yard from future pest problems.
Here are a few tips for preventing pests from invading your yard and making your yard their new home:
- Pull any dead plants and weeds
- Eliminate nesting materials, such as paper, garbage, wood, and cardboard
- Seal off any entry points to your shed or garage with a caulking material to prevent rodents or pests from invading.
- Plant a variety of hardy, pest-resistant plants
- Lock up trash cans and empty them regularly
- Clean up any fallen fruit or nuts so that pests are not attracted to the food
- Don’t scatter bird feed on the ground; instead, use a bird feeder
- Keep your grass and plants trimmed
Many pest control companies specialize in Integrated Pest Management, which is a technique that uses methods to prevent pest-friendly areas from developing in your yard. Ask a pest control technician today to learn more about the process and how they can protect your property from pests!