Tag Archives: Bugs

Name this Native Floridian: Common Bugs of Florida and What You Need to Know About Them

Common Bugs of Florida

On a top ten list of reasons people love Florida, her vast variety and copious amounts of insects never makes the cut. However, in addition to her stellar tropical weather, her pristine beaches, world renowned tourist attractions and exotic plant life, the Sunshine State is also home to a wealth of household pests. Hulett Environmental Services wants homeowners to be informed about the most common bugs in Florida and how to prevent them from invading your home. As some of these bugs are invasive species, they are here on a mission and are more aggressive than native species. As many proactive Floridians can tell you, pest prevention is much more desirable than pest control.

Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee

That’s why Hulett’s Healthy Home Program focuses on creating a boundary that deters pests from entering your home, removing conditions that attract bugs to your home and maintaining a hostile environment for bugs that may be brought in on pets or clothing or in boxes, firewood and shopping bags. Our innovative Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program uses environmentally-friendly methods and materials, customized for your home, instead of the traditional smelly sprays used by most pest control companies. Homeowners can also help prevent bugs from entering their homes through some common-sense DIY (Do-it-Yourself) pest control practices.

The list of the most common bugs in Florida goes something like this:

Ants

In South Florida, since there are several common types of ants, they tend to be a problem year-round. Here’s a closer look at some specific types:

  • Red Imported Fire ants

Known for their powerful, burning stings, red imported fire ants, an invasive species from South America, appear reddish-brown and measure 1/8” to 1/4” long. Usually preferring to stay away from humans, fire ants build rather obvious mounds in open spaces, such as your backyard. Humans and pets encounter trouble when they inadvertently step on or mow over a fire ant nest. Disturbed fire ants will aggressively swarm intruders and sting repeatedly.

Fire ants are notoriously difficult to get rid of. With no natural predators and commercial products that do little to reduce fire ant numbers, the best way to deal with fire ants is to avoid them and call an experienced pest control company, like Hulett.

  • Florida Carpenter Ants

Florida’s largest ant, some measuring 3/4” long have ash brown to rusty-orange thoraxes and heads and black abdomens. Florida carpenter ants are covered with long, abundant golden hairs all over their bodies and have segmented, elbowed antennae. Often mistaken for wood-damaging black carpenter ants or termites during mating season, when these winged Florida carpenter ants swarm in alarming numbers often alarming homeowners. Nesting in hard to locate places, in wall voids and expansion joints, as well as any place near water and food sources, Florida carpenter ant nests are difficult to find and DIY baits and repellents don’t really work effectively.

Florida carpenter ants prefer sweets and will nest in almost any place near food and water, so the best way to prevent these pesky bugs from entering your home is to clean up crumbs and spills after sweet snacks, store all sugary foods and other foods in secure containers or in the fridge. Eliminating clutter in your home and around your property can also help prevent Florida carpenter ants from finding your property attractive.  Don’t hesitate to call a pest control specialist, such as Hulett, to locate and deal with these hard to find nests.

Subterranean termites:  Asian and Formosan

Two invasive subterranean termites from Southeast Asia, Asian and Formosan termites, are much more aggressive than native subterranean termites and can damage structures at incredibly rapid rates. With populations running in the millions, Asian and Formosan termites have a lot of mouths to feed and all wood is fair game, including utility poles and live trees, as well as the wood in your home.

Termites can be difficult to detect because they usually enter your home where wood to ground contact allows them to tunnel into your home. Subterranean termites live in the soil around your home, constructing tunnels from their nests into structures, where they consume as much cellulose (wood) as possible.

Spotting these earthen tunnels running up walls, trees and other wooden structures indicates subterranean termite activity and should be addressed by a pest control professional. Armed with expert termite knowledge and over 30 years as a leading South Florida pest control company, Hulett’s technicians know where and how to administer termite fighting materials that get to the source of termite populations, the colony’s queen. Homeowners can protect against termite activity by ensuring that the wood around the home’s foundation doesn’t directly contact the soil, replacing damp wood and by getting on board with a termite protection program, such as Hulett’s Total Termite Protection program, to safeguard your home from termites, year-round.

Spiders: Wolf and Widows

While Carolina wolf spiders look menacing due to their size, reaching almost an inch in length, they tend to steer clear of human involvement. Carolina wolf spiders feast on other pest insects making them beneficial and the females are known to carry their young on their backs, very maternal.

Southern black widow spiders are considered the most venomous spider in the US with venom 15 times more poisonous than rattlesnake venom. The good news is that black widows only attack when disturbed from rock piles and old tree stumps.

The best way you can help prevent spider bites is to be aware of potential spider nesting areas and to have your property regularly swept for spiders by a pest control professional.

Roaches

In South Florida homes, it is common to find a roach from time to time but that does not mean that South Florida homeowners are rolling out the welcome mat for them. House-invading roach species vary in color from brown to black and tropical species can be green, orange and other colors. They typically grow to 1½ inches in length and as you may already know, have a strong preference for dark, warm and moist areas.

The best way to prevent roaches from entering your home is to exclude them by sealing all cracks in your foundation, repairing all water leaks, keeping your house clean of crumbs, spills and clutter, and your trash and recycling receptacles sanitized. However, regular pest control from professionals like those at Hulett should also be considered to keep roaches away from your home and family.

Some common roach species in South Florida are:

  • American Roach
  • Asian Roach
  • Australian Roach
  • Brown Banded Roach
  • Cuban Roach
  • Florida Woods Roach
  • German Roach
  • Oriental Roach
  • Smoky Brown Roach
  • Surinam Roach

Mosquitoes: Yellow Fever, Asian Tiger and Equine Encephalitis mosquitoes

Florida is home to 80 mosquito species, 33 of these species pose threats to humans and animals. In South Florida, the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito are common vectors of yellow fever and the dengue virus. Culiseta melanura mosquitoes transmit Eastern equine encephalitis, along with Psorophora ciliate, a mosquito species closely associated with floodwater mosquitoes. The Zika virus, which made headlines in 2016 across South Florida, is carried by the same mosquito that carries yellow fever, Chikungunya, and dengue.

You can help prevent mosquitoes by eliminating standing water around your property including water that collects in toys, patio furniture, planters, etc. left outside. Removing clutter and debris from your property, cleaning your gutters regularly and correcting moisture prone areas can help reduce mosquito populations. Additionally, you may want to consider Hulett’s Mosquito Reduction Program and Mosquito Fogging Service for immediate and effective relief from mosquitoes on your property.

Don’t let South Florida’s common bugs be a constant problem. Contact Hulett to get started on our environmentally responsible programs designed to safeguard your love ones from unwanted visitors. Call us to schedule a free pest inspection today to start getting results with Hulett’s Healthy Home program that guarantees your satisfaction. Just call Hulett at (866) 611-BUGS!

Why Are People So Afraid Of Insects And Spiders?

Why Are People So Afraid Of Insects And Spiders

According to the diagnostic manual of mental disorders, people who suffer from pathological fears of spiders and insects have what is referred to as “entomophobia.” Of course people can be afraid of creepy-crawlies without having a full-blown pathological fear of creepy bugs. It is estimated that twenty five percent of the general population actively fear spiders and insects. So what is it about bugs that makes them so scary to so many people?

One reason bugs are so scary is because many bugs actually can harm you. For example, mosquitoes cause more human deaths than any other animal. However, most people are not afraid of mosquitoes as much as, say, tarantulas. Researchers believe that humans evolved the fear of spiders, insects, and snakes in order to avoid potentially dangerous encounters with these creatures. After all, many snakes and spiders possess venom that can harm humans. Also, simply being bitten by a harmless spider can be enough to cause an infection, sometimes fatal, such as necrotizing fasciitis.

Also, people do not fear certain arthropods, such as spiders, because they pose the same sort of threats as lions and bears. We don’t think that bugs can overpower and kill us like other larger and aggressive animals. Instead our fear of bugs is closely related to the feeling of disgust. Researchers studying how disgust and fear are related use the term “rejection response” to describe the human tendency to keep something unfamiliar, and/or disgusting, far away from us. Much like how we are disgusted by feces and rotting food due to their potential to make us sick, we are also disgusted and avoid bugs for their potential to make us ill. Cockroaches, for example, are one of the most feared arthropods, and for good reason, they are disgusting. It is likely that we find cockroaches more disgusting and fear inspiring than most other bugs because cockroaches actually can spread disease due to their love of rotten food, among other reasons.

Lastly, people may fear bugs because they look so different from us. Humans and bugs do not share a close evolutionary bond, which makes many bugs appear otherworldly. In addition to their alien appearance, bugs can also scare us when we witness them operating in large swarms or colonies. The reason for this, according to some researchers, is because seeing a large amount of bugs in one place can overwhelm the human psyche and can damage the highly valued human beliefs regarding individuality. Seeing a swarm of locusts all working together can serve to undermine a person’s belief about what they can accomplish on their own. This particular theory was born out of a specific school of psychoanalysis, so this way of thinking about fear is not as common as most.

Obviously people want to stay clean and free of disease, and when we are in our homes we don’t expect intruders that may compromise our health and cleanliness. So naturally, seeing insects in your home can be quite distressing since your home is the one place where you don’t want to see potential threats to your health. In any case, bugs are here to stay, and they do much more harm than good, except for cockroaches of course.

Do you have a pathological fear of spiders and/or insects? If you do, what method, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, do you use to reduce your fear, if any?

A Colorectal Surgeons Love for Odd Bugs

A prominent colorectal surgeon named Dr Francis Seow-Choen is already fascinated with bugs of the parasitic sort found in the human gastrointestinal system.  However, he grew up fascinating over other types of creep-crawlies–Stick and Leaf Insects.

The surgeon has just completed his fourth and most comprehensive book covering the vast species of these types of insects.  So comprehensive in fact that the doctor dedicated twenty years of his life to studying the species found in his book, and the book itself took three years to complete.  His book looks extensively at fifty-two different and new species of leaf and stick insects located in Borneo.  Even the director of Natural History Publications of Borneo has found the doctors book to be a major advancement in entomological science.

What makes the good doctors discoveries so unique to bug-science is that finding these particular species of bugs is incredibly dangerous as locating them for study normally involves spending several days and nights in the harsh south east Asian jungles.  Also, stick and bug insects are, as you would assume, very difficult to find in the wild, as these bugs are known for their evolutionarily advanced forms of camouflage.  The doctor has risked his life in the harsh and dangerous wilderness to indulge his love for these unique bugs, or, just maybe, he needs a break from examining people’s rectums, you make your own call.

Do you have a labor of love similar to this? What is it?

Bugs, good for your body?

Bugs, good for your body?

According to a new study, a certain gut bacteria may actually help with your body fat but also may be able to help manage your cholesterol and triglycerides. Bugs in your intestines? Why not; I’m sure we all put much worse into our bodies. However this is the first ever study to provide proof that gut bugs, ie: bacteria are actually linked to good cholesterol. While it may be too early to prescribe these gut bugs as probiotic supplements to help with heart disease, there is growing evidence of the major benefits. Not only are they good and help support digestion, gut bugs will also help with immune system functions and produce vitamins for your body to digest. Gut bugs also produce an anti-inflammatory compound that may reduce swelling and pain in one of the most natural ways possible.

Over all, the researchers who worked on the study were able to find 34 different types of gut bugs that could help not only with good cholesterol but also help to keep a person’s BMI in check.

Most people don’t like the idea of all those critters floating around in their intestines, but hey, anything to stay healthy, Right?

Caring For Your Workplace: How to Keep Your Offices Clean and Clear of Bugs

Keep your office pest-freeBe honest: when you hear the words “pest control,” doesn’t your mind immediately jump to your home? It is okay if it does: that’s where the focus lies for most of us. It is important, though, that you also put in some effort to keep your workplace as clean and pest free as possible. After all, the last thing you want is for a pest to hitch a ride home from work, right? So what do you do?

Getting Rid of Temptation

How often do you choose to eat lunch at your desk instead of going out? How often do you keep hot beverages nearby for sipping during the day? Do you keep tea bags or packets of hot chocolate or apple cider in your desk? Stop it.

Even if you bring your lunch from home, get away from your desk at lunchtime. Take your meal to the break room or even out of the building altogether. If the weather is cooperating, take it to a nearby park.

Instead of keeping tea bags, packets of hot chocolate or cider in your desk, bring them into work with you each day and keep them in a sealed Ziploc bag in your purse, briefcase or lunch bag. If you simply must keep a variety on hand, make sure they are sealed in an airtight container (sandwich bags, Tupperware type containers, etc.—no cardboard).

Clean Every Day

It sounds tedious but if you clean up your workspace every day, you’ll find that the task gets easier over time until it takes just a few minutes each afternoon before you leave. Even better, clean things during the day:

  • Put files and office supplies away as soon as you’re done using them.
  • Keep the clutter to a minimum; use digital reminders instead of scribbled notes.
  • Take your shredding and recycling out every afternoon.

If you snack at your desk, use compressed air to blow the crumbs out of your computer keyboard or laptop each afternoon and make sure you’re wiping down the desk before you leave. A quick swipe with the vacuum or carpet sweeper is also a good idea if you’ve been particularly messy.

If You Are in Charge

If you are the business’s owner, you’re going to have to take some extra steps to keep the space pest and bug free. Here are a few things that you can do:

Set up strict break room rules: used dishes need to be washed right away and food should not be left out unattended.

Ask employees to use the break room trash can for any food-based trash they might have and then have that trash taken out every day. If you don’t have a break room, ask them to take the food-based trash out to your dumpster or to an outdoor trash can to prevent pests from sensing it during the evening and night.

Hire a cleaning crew to come in at least once a week to do a thorough scrubbing of the workplace. Make sure to hire a cleaning crew that uses only environmentally responsible cleaning methods.

Hire a professional pest control expert to come in and treat the space so that pests won’t even be tempted to forage within the building. It is important that an expert treat the building for pests both inside and outside. Treating the outside of the building can keep the pests from being tempted to explore the inside.