Different pests sometimes require different methods of control. Identifying your specific pest(s) helps us decide on which method would be best. Brock Pest will help you indentify your pest problem. Here are some common pests found in the Florida Panhandle.
Identify Pests & Insects
Body Color: Dark Reddish-Brown
Many of the ants of this genus are called fire ants because their venom, injected by a stinger, causes intense irritation and may cause severe reactions in especially sensitive people. Fire ants are very active and aggressive, and may kill young wildlife or produce sores and nausea in humans. Workers are a dark brown in color and may be found in two basic sizes, called major and minor workers, which are 1/15 to ¼-inch long. Typical yards contain several mounds, and larger yards may contain several dozen. Each of these mounds can belong to a separate colony, or one colony may occupy several distinct mounds, which are connected by underground foraging tunnels. Large colonies can have up to 300-500,000 workers that forage over an area with a radius of over 100 yards. Fire ants are both predators and scavengers, attacking and killing other insects and small animals, or feeding on dead animals. They also feed on honeydew, certain parts of plants or plant secretions, and other sweet materials. Occasionally, this species will nest inside homes, especially in the winter under bathtubs (which often have access to bare soil through the slab, under the tub), next to hot water heaters or other sources of warmth.
Body Color: Large and typically blackish or very dark-bodied
These are among the most conspicuous of the ants found in and around homes. Foraging workers have rather large mandibles, with which they can bite or give a strong pinch. Workers vary greatly in size, ranging from ¼ to ¾ inch long. Many species are black, perhaps with some faintly grayish bands on the abdomen, others may have brown or reddish coloration along with the black giving them a two toned appearance. These ants excavate galleries in wood which resembles the work of termites, but which can be distinguished by their entirely clean and almost sandpapered appearance, hence the name Carpenter Ants. These pests will pretty much eat anything a human would eat.
Body Color: Head and thorax are a deep dark brown with gaster and legs opaque or milky white
Ghost ant workers are extremely small, 1.3 to 1.5 mm long and monomorphic (one-sized). They have 12-segmented antennae with the segments gradually thickening towards the tip. Colonies contain several reproductive females and hundreds of thousands of workers. Colonies can occupy several different nesting sites and spread a variety of bacteria. The ghost ant is highly adaptable in its nesting habits. It nests readily outdoors or indoors. Colonies may be moderate to large in size containing numerous reproducing females. The sites include tufts of dead but temporarily moist grass, plant stems, and cavities beneath detritus in open, rapidly changing habitats. Indoors, the ant colonizes wall void or spaces between cabinetry and baseboards. It will also nest in potted plants. They are fond of honeydew and tend honeydew-excreting insects. They also feed on both dead and live insects.
Body Color: light yellowish to brownish
They seem to have become an increasingly common pest in the last few years. Pharaoh ants can be easily distinguished by the presence of three segments in the antennal club. Their small size enable them to get into almost anything, and their wide food preference combine to make them very difficult to eradicate from structures. Nests are rarely found, but occur between walls, under floors, above ceilings, behind baseboards and switch plates, in old trash, in folded bathroom linen, or outside in gardens and along walks. In the warmer climates of the southern United States, these ants can be found foraging and nesting on the outside of buildings or in adjacent landscape areas. This will be especially true where humid conditions are common, or where sources of moisture such as sprinkler systems. Workers measure 1/15-1/12 inches long. Under such circumstances, inspections and control programs should be extended beyond the interior portions of the building. They will feed on such a diverse array of materials that the use of the term “food preferences” seems inappropriate. However, substances like syrups, fruit juices, honey, jelly, cakes, pies, greases, dead insects, or meats and blood are frequently fed upon. This ant is very persistent and hard to control. It has a tendency to appear suddenly in various places within the structure. Its tendency to forage over wide areas and to nest in well-protected or hidden areas contributes to control difficulties.
Body Color: The head, thorax, petiole, and gaster are dark brown to blackish; the body often has faint bluish iridescence.
Found scattered in all states. Nests in small cracks and crevices. Common outdoor ant in southern climates, but will not hesitate to go indoors. Feeds on animal matter, greases and sweets.They often forage long distances away from their nests, so nests are often difficult to control. The name “crazy ant” arises from its characteristic erratic and rapid movement not following trails as often as other ants. The stinger is lacking but the crazy may bite an intruder and curve its abdomen forward to inject a formic acid secretion onto the wound. The body has long, coarse, well scattered, suberect to erect, grayish or whitish setae. The antennae of the crazy ant have 12-segments without a club and are extremely long. The crazy ant worker is relatively small (2.3-3 mm). The crazy ant is extremely easy to identify on sight by observing its rapid and erratic movements. Workers are omnivorous, feeding on live and dead insects, seeds, honeydew, fruits, plant exudates, and many household foods. The crazy ant is highly adaptable, living in both very dry and rather moist habitats. The crazy ant often nests some distance away from its foraging area. It nests in such places as trash, refuse, cavities in plants and trees, rotten wood, in soil under objects and also have been found under debris left standing in buildings for long periods of time.
Body Color: The color of the worker ant can vary from light brown or dark brown.
Acrobat ants get their name from their unique habit of sometimes running while holding their abdomen above their thorax when disturbed. This gives them the appearance of an acrobat who walks on his or her hands. These ants do not build large, above ground mounds. Instead, you are more likely to find them nesting in dead tree limbs, hollow logs, fallen trees, old tree stumps or even the hollow cavity of a tree. Around a home or business, acrobat ant colonies can be found in any organic litter or mulch and beneath stacks of firewood, under stepping stones, landscape timbers, bird baths, etc. They are often found in shrubs or ornamentals, feeding on insects and the honeydew produced by aphids. Worker ants will enter a home or other structure by crawling along electrical and phone lines. They also access homes from shrubs or trees which are too close or touching the building or by simply crawling up the outside walls to enter around windows, doors, cracks, crevices or through vents. When viewed from above, this ant’s abdomen is shaped like a heart. When viewed from the side, the pedicel attaches to the upper part of the abdomen. In most ant species, the pedicel is attached on the lower part of the abdomen. Each antenna has 12 segments and a 3 segmented club. All workers are of the same size. Once indoors, they will feed on a variety of sweets and proteins but will rarely take ant baits.
Body: have a pair of scaled wings, a pair of halteres, a slender body, and long legs.
The wings long and narrow, with scales along the veins. Bodies also very thin. Females bite, but males do not; the female proboscis has 6 piercing parts. Body length: To 3/4″. 76 species and subspecies of mosquitoes are currently known to occur in Florida. This large diversity derives from Florida’s semi-tropical climate and proximity to tropical countries. There are 13 United States species that occur only in Florida. These pesky bloodsuckers that leave you scratching are more than just a nuisance… they are a menace. They carry diseases – encephalitis, malaria, West Nile Virus – and cause heartworms in your canine friends. Mosquitoes have many sensors to designed to seek out their prey. Chemical sensors that can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid up to 100 feet away. Just about any mammal or bird gives off these gases as part of its normal breathing. Certain chemicals in sweat also seem to attract mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can detect heat, so warm-blooded mammals and birds are easily found once they get close enough. Mosquitoes have visual sensors that can easily see contrasts and movement. Mosquitoes need water. All mosquitoes have four stages of development-egg, larva, pupa, and adult-and spend their larval and pupal stages in water. When adult mosquitoes emerge from the aquatic stages, they mate, and the female seeks a blood meal to obtain the protein necessary for the development of her eggs. The blood of any mammal will do.
Body: Alternating dark brown and golden yellow sections
Honey bees are social insects, with a marked division of labor between the various types of bees in the colony. A colony of honey bees includes a queen, drones and workers. Chances are, if you are having problems with honey bees on your property, they are workers as the queen and her drones are strictly meant for reproductive purposes and rarely leave the hive. Workers, the smallest bees in the colony, but the ones with the stingers, are sexually undeveloped females. A colony can have 50,000 to 60,000 workers. Honey bees’ wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz. Although hone bees are necessary insects, they are generally considered to be pests because of their ability to sting. Unfortunately, a honey be cannot tell the difference between a tree on your property and one in the wild, thus the problem. Some people are highly allergic to bee stings, which have been known to cause death in some people.
Wasps or Yellow Jackets
Body: twice the size of a honey bee, their adomens are longer and more narrow than a bee’s. Longer wings. Their coloring is alternating black and bright yellow (sometimes white) bands.
5/8 to 1 inch in size. All wasps will defend their nests, but the Yellow Jackets and hornets are the most aggressive, which is another way you can distinguish them from bees, whereas a bee is usually more docile, wasps will usually take the proactive defense strategy. Come anywhere near their homes and you have trouble. Yellow jackets will also forage on foods that people eat, especially sweets and meats. They are considered beneficial insects, eating other insects. The yellow jacket colony will remain active for only one summer, after which the queens will fly away to start more colonies. The remaining ones, die at the end of the summer, the nest is not reused.They usually nest in the ground, but will nest also in railroad ties, wall voids, and other above ground locations, like the eave of a roof or tall doorways. For most a wasp sting is temporary, but painful, but for allergic individuals as single sting may result in a serious reaction, requiring medical treatment
Body: reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head
The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting roaches. They are 1 and 1/2 inches long (38mm). American cockroaches generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit and do not tolerate cold temperatures. In residential areas, these cockroaches live in basements and sewers, and may move outdoors into yards during warm weather. These cockroaches are common in basements, crawl spaces, cracks and crevices of porches, foundations, and walkways adjacent to buildings. They feed on a wide variety of plant and animal material. these cockroaches may move indoors, seeking warmer temperatures and food. Cockroaches may enter houses via sewer connections, under doors, around utility pipes, air ducts, or other openings in the foundation. Roaches can foul food, damage wallpaper, books and clothing, and produce an unpleasant odor. Some home owners are allergic to roaches, and the pests can contaminate food with certain bacterial diseases that result in food poisoning, dysentery, or diarrhea. Cockroaches can cause childhood asthma.
Body: Brown to dark brown in color with two distinct parallel bands running the length of the body
The German cockroach is the cockroach of concern, the species that gives all other cockroaches a bad name. It occurs in structures throughout Florida, and is the species that typically plagues multifamily dwellings. The German cockroach is found throughout the world in association with humans. They are unable to survive in locations away from humans or human activity. The German cockroach has three life stages typical of insects with incomplete metamorphosis: the egg, nymph, and adult. The entire life cycle is completed in about 100 days. Under ideal conditions, population growth has been shown to be exponential. German cockroaches adulterate food or food products with their feces and defensive secretions, physically transport and often harbor pathogenic organisms, may cause severe allergic responses, and in extremely heavy infestations have been reported to bite humans and feed on food residues on the faces of sleeping humans.
Florida Woods Cockroach
Body: Black or Brown
The Florida woods cockroach is a large species of cockroach, which usually grows to a length of 1½ inch to 2 inches. It has a wide, glossy body, and appears at first glance to be wingless, however it does have very short wings just beneath its head, which are useless for flying. The cockroach, when disturbed, often emits a strong, disagreeable odour, somewhat reminiscent of amaretto. The roach is slower moving than other species. It prefers damp locations, lots of moisture, and does well in warm, damp climates. It is found in its native habitats, such as Florida, and the West Indies. The roach can wander indoors at times, especially into damp locations, such as bathrooms, however, it is found mostly outdoors and is not considered a major pest in the home. It is cold intolerant and requires a warm, sub-tropical or tropical climate. It can often be seen in sheltered outdoor locations.
Black Widow Spider
Body: Shiny black with hourglass-shaped red spot on bottom of adomen
Black widow spiders are common around wood piles, and are frequently encountered when homeowners carry firewood into the house. Also found under eaves, in boxes, outdoor toilets, meter boxes, and other unbothered places. The female eats the male after mating. She hangs belly upward and rarely leaves the web. The black widow is not aggressive. It will, however, bite instinctively when touched or pressed. Black widow bites are sharp and painful, and the victim should go to the doctor immediately for treatment as the venom has been known to be fatal, but usually just makes the host extremely sick, experiencing nauseau and painful headaches and stomach cramps.
Brown Recluse Spider
Body: uniformly-colored abdomens that can vary from a tan to dark brown. In many species there is a characteristic darkened violin-shaped pattern which occurs on the front half of the head region.
The Brown Recluse spider is not, nor is any recluse spider, native to Florida. However, but three species have been intercepted, and occasionally have established populations in single buildings at scattered locations. The recluse spiders (also known as violin, fiddleback, or brown spiders) belong to the genus Loxosceles (Family: Sicariidae). These spiders are found worldwide, most commonly in the tropics, with some species reaching temperate latitudes. Recluse spiders are medium-sized (6-12 mm body length). Similar to widow spiders, recluse spiders usually bite only when they become trapped next to the victim’s skin. Recluse bites range in intensity from no noticeable effect to severe necrosis.
Body: dark reddish-brown, wingless, hard-bodied and oblong-shaped, and are flattened vertically or side to side
Adult fleas are about 1/16 to 1/8-inch long and have three pairs of legs. Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to seven inches and horizontally thirteen inches. (An equivalent hop for a human would be 250 feet vertically and 450 feet horizontally.) They have piercing-sucking mouthparts and spines on the body projecting backward. Adult fleas cannot survive or lay eggs without a blood meal, but may live from two months to one year without feeding. Fleas are vertically flat like a fish, and can move easily through the hair of a host. Fleas thrive in a hot, humid enviroment so Florida is perfect for them. Summer months, July through September are the worse months for fleas. They will bite humans-especially when they cannot find their usual animal host or if they become very numerous. Their bite often will leave a small, red, irritated area on humans.
Body: A blackish (or brownish), medium-sized, slender rat with long, naked, scaly tail; tail usually longer than head and body but not always so.
Total length, 370 mm; tail, 190 mm; hind foot, 36 mm. Weight, up to 200 g. Roof rats are largely commensals and live in close association with man. They seldom become established as feral animals as do the Norway rats. They may live near the ground, but usually they frequent the attics, rafters, and crossbeams of the buildings. They make typical runways along pipes, beams or wires, up and down the studding, or along the horizontal ceiling joists, often leaving a dark-colored layer of grease and dirt to mark their travelways. Like the Norway rat, the roof rat is largely nocturnal and only where populations are relatively high does one see them frequently in the daytime. They accept a wide variety of food items, including grains, meats, and almost any item that has nutritive value. Like the Norway rat, the roof rat is destructive to property and foodstuffs. Also, it plays an important part in the transmission of such human diseases as endemic typhus, ratbite fever, and bubonic plague.
Body: brown, similar to the Roof Rat, but larger and chunkier; tail shorter than length of head and body
The Norway Rat lives both as a commensal in close association with man and in the feral state. As a commensal this rat lives principally in basements, on the ground floor, or in burrows under sidewalks or outbuildings. They feed on a variety of items including both plant and animal materials. All sorts of garbage appears to be welcome, but their main stay is plant material. Grains of various sorts are highly prized. These rats are prolific breeders. The gestation period varies from 21 to 23 days and the number of young from two to 14, averaging seven or eight. the Norway Rat is destructive to property and foodstuffs. Also, it plays an important part in the transmission of such human diseases as endemic typhus, ratbite fever, and bubonic plague.
Body: brown, with white belly, but can vary (see below)
A small, scaly-tailed mouse with a distinct notch in the cutting surface of upper incisor. ); hair short; ears moderately large and naked; upperparts ochraceous, suffused with black; belly buffy white, or buffy, usually without speckling and with slaty underfur; yellowish flank line usually present; tail brownish with black tip, not distinctly bicolor, but paler on underside; ears pale brown, feet drab or buffy, tips of toes white. External measurements average: total length, 169 mm; tail, 93 mm; hind foot, 18 mm. Weight of adults, 17-25 g. As commensal animals, house mice live in close association with man — in his houses, outbuildings, stores, and other structures. Where conditions permit, feral mice may be found in fields, along watercourses, and in other places where vegetation is dense enough to afford concealment. Although largely nocturnal, house mice are moderately active during the day, chiefly in their quest for food. As commensals, house mice feed on practically any type of food suitable for the use of man or beast.