Florida is home to some of the most annoying pests in the U.S, and Jacksonville is no exception. But which ones are the worst to get rid of?
In this brief guide, we’ll show you:
- The top five worst pests in order of importance
- Why Jacksonville is a magnet for these annoying critters
- How to identify each one
- Some of the common methods exterminators use to eliminate these unwanted guests
#5. American Cockroaches (Palmetto Bugs)
The American cockroach makes its presence known throughout the entire Southeastern U.S. It is especially troublesome in Florida since it thrives in humid, subtropical climates.
You can identify the American cockroach by these characteristics:
- 1.5 inches long
- Reddish-brown color
- Leathery forewings
- Fast runners
One of the reasons they are so hard to control is their rapid reproduction rate. Female American cockroaches can produce up to 150 offspring in only one year.
Also, the conditions in Jacksonville are perfect for these insects. The warm, humid climate means that adult American roaches have a better chance of living beyond their average life expectancy. Since humans are moving into the area all the time, they don’t ever have to search very far for food.
#4. Fire Ants
The native fire ant is ¼ inch long and is reddish to black in color. It constructs large mounds in open fields, and its stings can cause painful welts on human skin.
The red imported ant is a non-native species to the U.S. and originates from South America and the Caribbean. It’s slightly larger and more aggressive than native fire ants. And they are more difficult to control since they quickly eradicate competing colonies from other species.
#3. Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are parasitic insects. That means they feed on the blood of humans and animals. Although they are not known disease carriers, their bites cause painful, itchy welts on human skin.
Bed Bugs are reddish-brown and about ¼ inch long. They feed mainly at night but are sometimes active during the day.
Here are some common ways to tell if you have bed bugs in your home:
- Black spots on sheets resembling a leaking marker
- Skin from molting bed bug nymphs
- Live adult bed bugs can be seen day or night
- Waste products resembling crushed black pepper
Bed bugs travel from one infested location to another via:
- Clothing bags
- Laptop computers
Bed bugs tend to infest large buildings such as apartment buildings and hotels the quickest. That’s probably due to their ability to travel between rooms through central heating ducts.
Termites are wood-destroying insects that feed on cellulose material such as lumber, paper, and drywall. They cause over one billion dollars worth of damage each year in the U.S. Since they are a cryptic pest, you may not notice an infestation until years after it’s established.
There are three main species of termites in the Jacksonville area:
- Eastern subterranean termites live underground. That’s because they need to stay in contact with the moist soil to survive. They typically have the largest colonies. So, they have the greatest potential to create extensive damage to a home over time.
- Dampwood termites live primarily along coastal areas. They infest water-damaged, rotten wood. However, since the damage from dampwood termites is typically localized, no chemical treatments are usually necessary.
- Florida’s drywood termites are some of the largest in the world. Unlike their subterranean cousins, they don’t need contact with the soil to survive. Unfortunately, that means they can infest high up into a structure. For those reasons, whole-structure fumigation may be necessary to treat heavy infestations.
The formal name for no-see-ums is biting midges. And this is just a fancy way of calling them biting gnats.
These tiny, flying insects are drawn to carbon dioxide. For that reason, they bite humans and animals. But unlike bed bugs, they are not parasitic.
No-see-ums thrive in Florida’s salty marshes. So, that’s why they are so hard to treat. Any pesticide spraying can affect the ocean’s delicate ecosystem.
The only thing you can do is try to keep them out of your home. Also, using insect repellent will help. In some instances, citronella candles and mosquito traps will help eliminate them indoors.