Bees, Wasps, and Hornets, Oh My! – Preparing for Stinging Insect Season

a wasp pulling its stinger out of a human arm

Most people look forward to the return of summer each year. They cannot wait to spend time enjoying the outdoors and the many activities Florida has to offer. However, the return of summer also signals the return of stinging insects. Just the sight of these pesky insects can send many people running or cause them to freeze in fear of nasty, painful stings. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep these stinging insects out of your yard, allowing you and your family to safely enjoy your outdoor space all summer long!

Types of Stinging Insects

Stinging insects can be categorized into three species; Bees, Wasps, and Hornets.

  • Bees can often be identified by their fuzzy appearance. These hard-working pollinators are an essential part of our ecosystem; pollinating many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Honey Bees and Bumblebees are the most common type of bees and are fairly harmless unless threatened. Carpenter bees are known to cause extensive damage to homes, burrowing into wooden structures to build their individual nest. 
  • Wasps come in a variety of shapes and colors; Mud Daubers, for example, are mostly black and have extremely thin long waists. While Yellowjackets are bright yellow and black. They are one of the most common wasps you may see. Yellow jackets and Paper Wasps build easily identifiable papery nests from chewed-up wood fibers. Wood daubers, on the other hand, build distinct nests made up of many small mud tubes.
  • Hornets are extremely useful in keeping the insect population at bay. Hornets have a reputation for being extremely aggressive, like the Bald-Faced Hornet. These hornets have unique white and black markings and will attack anyone who gets too close to their nest.

Clearing Your Yard of Stinging Insects

Getting rid of stinging insects is a top priority for many homeowners. Below are a few tips to keep your yard free of these unwanted pests!

  • Use Traps: Traps are extremely effective at eliminating any stray wasps or hornets that may come to crash your barbecue but will not get rid of nests. 
  • Remove abandoned nests: Some stinging insects will return to abandoned nests in the spring. Most stinging insects will abandon their nests when it gets cold, making winter the perfect time to scout your property and remove any nests you may find. Call professional exterminators to remove any nests during any season to prevent stings!
  • Keep food covered: Wasps and hornets are often attracted to your food. Make sure to cover any food left outside to deter these pests from crashing your picnic.
  • Secure garbage cans: Stinging insects will often swarm dumpsters looking for leftover food or sugary snacks. Keep garbage can lids tightly closed to keep hornets and wasps away.
  • Landscape to keep pests away: Some stinging insects are attracted to bright flowers that produce nectar. To keep these pests away from your patio, plant peppermint, citronella, or lemongrass around your home instead!

Professional Extermination

Removing a bee, wasp, or hornet nest can be a risky endeavor. These nasty pests have painful stings that can send some to the hospital. Removing stinging insects from your yard should be left to the professionals. The experienced pest control technicians at Florida Pest Control have the expertise and equipment to remove any nests from your yard safely and effectively. At Florida Pest Control we want you to be able to enjoy your yard without worrying about being stung.

Don’t let stinging insects ruin your outdoor fun; contact us today for a free quote and let us handle the job!

Avoiding Spring Insect Swarms

A swarm of termites in Florida

The warmth and humidity of spring in Florida draws many species of insects out of their winter habitats to feed and reproduce. Some of these insects are merely a nuisance but some of them can harm people or property. Learn which insects to watch for and what you can do to protect yourself and your home.

Insects That Swarm in Spring

Lovebugs: These small black flies with a red thorax and head are common in Florida during the spring and fall. They are known for their mating swarms, during which large groups of lovebugs can be seen flying together. While they are harmless to humans, their swarms can be a nuisance for drivers and can cause damage to cars if not cleaned off quickly.

Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are a year-round problem in Florida, but their populations tend to peak in the spring and summer. Female mosquitoes swarm to find a mate and a blood meal, which they need to lay their eggs. Mosquito swarms can be a nuisance for people spending time outdoors, and they can also spread pathogens like West Nile virus and Zika virus.

Termites: Termites are known for their swarming behavior in the spring. In Florida, where the climate is warm and humid, termite swarms can occur as early as February or March. Homeowners should be vigilant for signs of termite activity, as they can cause serious damage to wooden structures.

Ants: Several species of ants are common in Florida, including fire ants, carpenter ants, and Argentine ants. In the spring, these ants may swarm to start new colonies. While they are not usually harmful to humans if not provoked, they can be a nuisance.

Bees: Several species of bees are active in the spring, including honeybees and carpenter bees. Swarms of bees can be dangerous for people who are allergic to bee stings, and homeowners should take care to remove any bee nests or hives near their homes. Particularly carpenter bees, which bore into wood to nest and can do significant damage to wooden structures.

Ways to Thwart Swarming Insects

There are several steps you can take to keep swarming insects away. Here are a few tips:

Eliminate sources of standing water: Mosquitoes and other insects are attracted to standing water, which they use for breeding. Remove any standing water from your property, including in bird baths, flower pots, and other containers.

Be cautious when eating or drinking outside:: Numerous insects, especially wasps, are attracted to food and sugar. If you have a barbecue or picnic, clean up promptly. Put leftovers in sealed containers. Ensure that sugary drinks are covered or sealed.

Maintain your lawn and landscaping: Keep your lawn and landscaping well-maintained to reduce the likelihood of insect infestations. Remove any dead or decaying plant material, and keep bushes and trees trimmed away from your home.

Consult a professional pest control company: If you’re dealing with an insect infestation, contact a professional pest control company, like Florida Pest Control. We can identify the type of insect and recommend the most effective treatment options so you can get back to enjoying your yard or outdoor space this spring.

A Beginner’s Guide to Florida Lawn Care

Feel lost when it comes to Florida lawn care? No need to worry! Even in Florida’s hot and humid climate, it doesn’t need to be confusing or difficult to keep your grass green and healthy. You just need to keep a few tips in mind to ensure your lawn has everything it needs to thrive.

In this beginner’s guide to lawn care, the experts at Florida Pest Control break down exactly what you need to know to grow lush, healthy grass:

How to Water Your Lawn

With how much sun our area gets, proper watering is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy lawn. Without enough water, your grass will turn brown or die off. On the flip side, too much water can cause rot, fungus growth, and mold. 

Watching for wilt is one of the best ways to determine how much you should be watering your lawn. If you start to notice long-lasting footprints or blades that are folding lengthwise, your lawn likely needs more water. Meanwhile, excess runoff or a spongy texture are both signs that you’re overwatering.

It’s also crucial to keep these watering tips in mind as you devise your irrigation plan:

  • Avoid fungus, evaporation, and other issues by watering between 3-9 AM.
  • Change your watering frequency based on the season and weather conditions.
  • If there is a water restriction, always comply with local ordinances.

Tips for Mowing Properly

If you want to keep your lawn looking tidy and uniform, it’s important to know how to properly mow your grass. Mistakes during mowing could damage your lawn and prevent the grass from growing healthily. To get great results when mowing your lawn, follow these three tips:

  • Regularly sharpen your blades: If your grass is dented, bent, or torn after mowing, your mower blades are likely dull. Sharp blades will create a neat, clean cut that is easier for the grass to heal. For most lawn mowers, it’s recommended to have the blades sharpened after roughly 20-25 hours of use. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions or get professional help when sharpening the blades. 
  • Don’t cut the grass too short: Short grass blades may not be able to photosynthesize properly, which could inhibit growth and even lead to death. Generally speaking, taller grass grows faster and has a healthier root system. While each type of grass in Florida has different needs in terms of height, most need to be at least 2 ½” tall to stay healthy.
  • Find the right mowing frequency: Mowing too frequently will not only waste your time, but it could even damage your lawn by keeping your grass too short. Most fast-growing lawns only need to be mowed once per week, but you should keep track of your lawn’s growth rate to find the right frequency. 

Control Weeds

Weeds are more than just an unsightly problem. They can also prevent your lawn from getting enough water or nutrition, which will make the grass more susceptible to death or disease. Though at-home weed control can be time-consuming and ineffective if you’re not experienced, identifying a weed problem early on can help you get timely treatment. Watch out for these common Florida weeds:

  • Crabgrass
  • Burnweed
  • Spurge
  • Chickweed
  • Bull thistle
  • Dollarweed

Watch for Pest Infestations

A pest problem can cause serious and long-lasting damage to your lawn. By feeding on grass roots and blades, they can ruin existing grass while inhibiting new growth. Additionally, lawn pests can be incredibly difficult to eradicate once they’re fully established. Here are some common signs of lawn pest infestations to look for:

  • Dirt mounds or burrows
  • Dead patches or strips
  • Damaged grass blades
  • Eggs or live insects

If you notice an infestation in your lawn, don’t hesitate to get professional help. Attempting outdoor insect control on your own can be time-consuming, expensive, and ineffective. A pest control expert will be able to provide customized solutions to get rid of the pests quickly while preventing future infestations from targeting your lawn. 

Aerating for Stronger Grass

Aerating is a great way to promote healthier growth throughout your lawn. By using special equipment to poke small holes in the surface of the grass, you will reduce soil compaction while exposing the roots to oxygen and other nutrients. While it’s typically best to aerate in the fall or spring, each yard has different needs. A professional can help you determine the best timing for aeration.

Lawn Care Tips for Each Season

Florida lawn care means adjusting to the changing weather throughout the seasons. When you take the right steps to adjust for more sunshine or rain, your grass will continue to look green and healthy. Try implementing these seasonal tips:

Spring

Spring marks the start of the growing season, so you will want to make sure your grass has everything it needs to flourish. Now is a good time to:

  • Aerate and fertilize
  • Sharpen your mower blades
  • Adjust your watering schedule as needed

Summer

Florida summers are hot and humid, which can stress your lawn if you don’t take the right steps. To keep your lawn healthy through the heat, keep these tips in mind:

  • Increase your watering frequency as needed.
  • Keep an eye out for pest infestations.
  • Stick to a regular mowing routine.
  • DO NOT fertilize during the heat.

It’s also important to note that June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season. Should a storm hit, your lawn will likely sustain a little bit of damage. To increase the safety of your yard and limit damage, be sure to prune nearby trees and store your tools indoors. 

Fall

As fall approaches and temperatures drop, your lawn’s growth will begin to slow down. Now’s the time to prepare your grass for winter. Try following these steps to keep your lawn healthy during fall:

  • Cut down on your mowing and watering as needed.
  • Regularly rake away leaves or debris.
  • Aerate and apply a layer of topseed.

Winter

Most Florida lawns do not become fully dormant in the winter, because the weather is still warm and sunny. However, their growth rate will slow significantly. For this reason, you won’t need to water or mow as frequently – if at all, depending on the weather. In order to protect your lawn at this time of year, prevent trampling by reducing foot traffic. 

Benefits of Professional Lawn Care

Taking care of your lawn can become a pretty time-consuming task, especially if your yard is large, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Lawn care professionals have the tools and expertise needed to keep your grass looking green and healthy all year long. That way, you can enjoy a gorgeous lawn without having to spend hours toiling outside. 

If you want to see how professional lawn care can transform your yard, turn to the experts at Florida Pest Control! From insect and weed control to pH balancing and fertilizing, our Lawn Care Program is designed to keep your grass healthy and beautiful through each season. Our experienced technicians are committed to providing you with exceptional services and outstanding results. Just contact us today to get your free quote!

Fall Pests That May End Up in Your Home

Wasp nest hanging in eaves

If you’ve noticed an increase in insects in and around your home in the fall, it’s not your imagination and it’s not just you. It’s the result of pests trying to get out of the cooler weather. Some pests migrate even further south than Florida, some burrow in or under debris, while others just try to get into our homes. The scientific term for this phenomenon is overwintering. 

The form of overwintering that most directly affects you is when pests enter your home. There are several types of pests known to try to get in, from insects to rodents. The most difficult fall pests to get rid of are the ones you can’t see because they’re now in the attic or behind your walls. Some of the pests most likely to end up in your home this fall include: Asian lady beetles, rodents, termites, stink bugs and wasps. Read on to learn more about these common pests that may try to get into your home this fall and winter.

Asian lady beetles

While Asian lady beetles resemble ladybugs, they’re a bit larger in size. Also, their coloration ranges from red to orange and not all of them have spots like the ladybug. So, what’s the problem with these small ladybug look-alikes? They stick together in groups, using pheromones to communicate their location. When they want to enter your home, the result can be a large infestation that ends up in your attic or walls. While they won’t eat your home or sting you, if you have an infestation, their waste can stain and can trigger allergic reactions or breathing difficulties in sensitive individuals. The best way to prevent these, or any, bugs from getting into your home is to seal cracks and crevices on the exterior of your home. They’re small, so you will need to be diligent. Having a preventative pest control service in place can also help to prevent a pest infestation from taking place in your home.

Rodents

You probably know that squirrels are excellent climbers but so are roof rats and mice. Most rodents can climb up trees and get onto your roof via nearby branches, fences, and or even by climbing a drainpipe!  From there, it’s easy to get into your attic and make a nest to stay warm for the fall and winter. If you hear scratching or gnawing noises from up above or inside the walls, you likely have rodents inside your attic or wall voids starting to make themselves at home. If this happens, it’s time to call an experienced rodent exterminator like Florida Pest Control.

Stink bugs

While there are several types of stink bugs, the brown marmorated stink bug is the one you’re most likely to see in your home. It’s an invasive species originally from Asia. They’re shaped like a shield and their color is a mottled combination of brown and gray. They range in size from ¼” to ⅜”. As their name suggests, when stink bugs feel threatened or get squashed, they release an unpleasant odor. Stink bugs tend to spend the winter in quiet parts of a home where they’re unlikely to be disturbed like an attic, crawlspace or inside the walls. You will first start to notice these pests as the temperature starts to fall at night but the days are still warm and sunny. Stink bugs will land on the sunnier sides of your home, in an effort to warm up. They are also attracted to lighter color homes, which sometimes can be the reason you are seeing them but your neighbor isn’t.

Termites

Termites are considered to be the most destructive pest in America. The estimated annual cost of termite damage and termite control efforts in the US is up to $30 billion. Termites are always looking to enter your house as a food source. So, what’s different about fall and winter? First, subterranean termites, the most destructive species, tend to burrow deeper into the ground to stay warm in the winter. This means you’re less likely to discover a subterranean termite infestation until the spring. During that time termites can do a great deal of damage. Once termites can get into your home they will consume wood and anything else that contains cellulose. Signs you may have termites in your home include blisters on painted falls, hollow-sounding wood, mud tunnels in your crawlspace, chewing sounds, and unexplained pinhole-sized holes. 

Wasps

Wasp colonies as a whole don’t overwinter; the regular workers do not survive and the colony is rebuilt annually. However, fertilized queens overwinter outdoors in hollow logs, stumps or under leaves. However, they can also overwinter on or in structures, including the attics or siding of homes. The most common way for wasps to get in is through attic vents that aren’t screened. It is always best to ensure that your attic is as sealed as possible, to prevent wasps and other pests from entering. It is possible for the queen to start her new colony in your attic next year, which can mean a large nest of stinging insects to remove. Best to prevent that from happening right from the start this fall! 

Experienced Local Exterminators

Florida Pest Control has been providing Florida with trusted pest control services since 1949. If you have any of these fall pests in your home, Florida Pest Control can help get them out and keep them out. We also offer services to help prevent these pests from entering your home.

Contact us for a free quote!

10 Tips to Help You Pest-Proof Your Backyard

Servicing a yard in Florida - Florida Pest Control

Spring and summer are cherished seasons for the sunshine and warmth that they bring, but there’s no harder time to avoid pest problems than during post-rainfall warmth. Here in Florida, our climate accounts for pest infestations all through the year, making it hard to enjoy a nice day relaxing in your backyard. You have to take constant measures to ensure that pests don’t take over your property, and we’re here to help you direct your efforts. Read on for advice on pest-proofing your backyard with the exterminators at Florida Pest Control!

Top 10 Tips for Backyard Pest Prevention

Florida is home to so many different types of pests that it is crucial to have a wide-reaching pest prevention plan for your backyard. Here are our top 10 backyard pest control tips:

  1. Trim trees and bushes: Overgrowth of plants and trees can create shaded hiding places for many kinds of pests. Trim your trees, bushes, and shrubs often to prevent this.
  2. Mow your lawn often: Overgrowth can lead to bountiful opportunities for pest shelter and trap in excess moisture for bugs to hydrate with. Mowing once a week can prevent this.
  3. Prevent stagnant water: Mosquitoes breed in still water pools. Check for pooling rainwater in gutters, planters, tarps, and more, and get rid of it with a cover or by pouring it out.
  4. Get rid of yard waste: Piles of yard waste can serve as temporary shelters for pests of all sizes. Get rid of yard waste as often as you can.
  5. Dethatch your lawn: Thatch is helpful for lawn temperature regulation, but too much can create many kinds of common lawn pest problems. Dethatch to prevent pests and keep your lawn healthy.
  6. Use garden nets: Garden netting can prevent wild animals and insects from venturing into your yard to eat your plants.
  7. Store firewood carefully: Firewood can lead to termite problems that eventually seriously affect your home. Keep your firewood elevated and distanced from your home.
  8. Water your lawn properly: Using an irrigation or sprinkler system can help prevent the pest problems that come with both overwatering and underwatering.
  9. Seal and distance waste bins: Pests as small as wasps and large as raccoons will forage for food in your trash cans. Seal them if possible, but be sure to keep them far away from your yard.
  10. Hire an exterminator: An exterminator can figure out the reason for your backyard pest problems and put a stop to them.

Pest Control for Your Backyard in Florida

To ensure that your backyard stays pest-free all through the spring and summer, it’s important to work with a professional exterminator with experience in our region. Our team of technicians at Florida Pest Control is well-versed in the many strategies it takes to prevent and get rid of all kinds of common Florida pests. Get in touch today for a free quote!

What’s the Difference Between Bee Stings vs Wasp Stings?

What honey bees look like in Florida - Florida Pest Control

Most people have dealt with a wasp or bee sting at one point or another. It is widely known that their stings are painful, but not everyone knows about the serious side effects that they can cause in cases of allergic reactions.

If you need help identifying the stinging insects in your yard in Florida, look no further than Florida Pest Control. It is important to be able to tell apart bees and wasps to ensure that you are aware of the side effects that you might be in danger of.

Wasp vs Bee Stings in Florida

Bee stings and wasp stings can feel almost the same in some cases, but the processes of their stings are quite different. There are three main differences between bee and wasp stings:

  1. Stinger: When a bee stings you, it ejects its stinger into your body, rendering it unable to sting again. On the flipside, wasps’ stingers remain intact. They can sting you many times in a row.
  2. Volume: Bees sting just once, but inject all of their venom into their victim. This usually totals 50 micrograms of venom. Wasps only inject 2-15 micrograms of venom per sting, but they can issue many stings in a short amount of time.
  3. Venom: Wasps and bees have different allergens in their venom. Despite this, though, their stings both result in the release of histamine in our bodies, which causes a breakout of hive-like patterns on the skin.

Differences between wasp and bee stings in Florida - Florida Pest ControlDo Bee and Wasp Stings Cause Allergic Reactions?

It is possible to develop an allergic reaction to both wasp and bee stings. You might be allergic to one and not the other, both kinds of stings, or neither. Bee and wasp stings usually only result in mild symptoms, like:

  • Pain and soreness
  • Swelling
  • Itchiness and redness

Unfortunately, severe allergic reactions occur more commonly than many people expect. Thousands of people visit the emergency room annually for complications resulting from anaphylaxis, the most dangerous reaction that results from bee and wasp stings. The most serious symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the throat and tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Pain and itchiness all over the body

Wasp and Bee Control in Florida

Bee and wasp stings should be taken very seriously. It is possible to experience an allergic reaction to a sting without experiencing severe symptoms in the past. If you can’t tell which kind of stinging insect is inhabiting your yard in Florida, ask your local pest control company. Our experts at Florida Pest Control can identify any type of bee or wasp on your property, locate their nest, and remove it safely and promptly. Contact us today for a free estimate on nest removal services!