If you live in Florida, or visit here, you know that the Sunshine State is home to many bugs. Thousands of species of insects, spiders, mites and other creepy-crawly arthropods roam the state — some beneficial to people, some potentially harmful to people, some neither, some both.
You may have a few questions about Florida’s bugs. That’s why we’re here.
UF/IFAS entomology experts want to make sure you get the facts about Florida’s bugs, so we’re providing this FAQ backed by science-based answers.
If you have questions that aren’t addressed in the current version of the FAQ, let us know by writing to email@example.com. Many of the questions submitted will be featured on the UF/IFAS Facebook and Twitter pages during UF’s annual Bug Week celebration every May. And the online FAQ will continue to grow as new material arrives.
Bug Word of the Day: Central-Place Forager (4/6/2018) - Central-place foragers are animals that return to the same nest in between foraging trips, collecting their food, or food for their offspring, in an area around that nest. Animals that are not central-place foragers instead... Read More Bug of the Day: Sweat Bee (4/6/2018) - If you are outside on a hot day working in the gardening, or taking a walk through a park, you might find a shiny bee resting on your sweaty skin. It is probably a sweat... Read More Bug Word of the Day: Proboscis (4/5/2018) - Elephants, mosquitoes, and butterflies share something in common – they have a proboscis! A proboscis is simply a long appendage coming out of an animal’s head, and is used to describe the nose or snout... Read More Bug of the Day: Bella Moth (4/5/2018) - Not all moths are night creatures. In fact, one of the most colorful moths in Florida, the bella moth Utetheisa ornatrix, is active during the day when we can admire its beauty. The wings of... Read More Bug of the Day: Green Orchid Bee (4/4/2018) - The green orchid bee, Euglossa dilemma Friese, is a large, beautiful, metallic green bee named for its unique association with orchids and its distinctive color. While it can be found in the southern half of Florida, it... Read More Bug Word of the Day: Scopa (4/4/2018) - A scopa is a part of a bee’s body that is designed to hold and carry pollen. Bees must transport pollen from the flower, where it is collected, to the bee’s nest, where it is... Read More Bug of the Day: Hoverflies (4/3/2018) - Hoverflies, also known as flower flies or syrphid flies, are perhaps the most unrecognized and underappreciated pollinators. They are actually thought by some scientists to be the second most important group of pollinators after bees!... Read More Bug Word of the Day: Flower Constancy (4/3/2018) - Pollinators sometimes play favorites when choosing plants to forage on, a behavior known as flower constancy. This behavior can be seen across many different types of pollinators, but is perhaps best known in honey bees... Read More Bug of the Day: The Common Eastern Bumble Bee (4/2/2018) - The common eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens, is one of the most frequently found bumble bees across the eastern half of North America. Their native range extends north-south from Ontario to Florida, and east-west from... Read More Bug Word of the Day: Mutualism (4/2/2018) - Pollination is one of the best examples of mutualism, a relationship between two different species in which both species benefit. Mutualisms are different from the many other relationships between organisms in which one or both... Read More Zika and Florida Beekeepers (9/9/2016) - A letter from the Florida Chief of Apiary Inspection, David Westervelt: The Southeastern United States is in a triple threat situation for mosquito proliferation and control. Listed below are conditions making it favorable for the... Read More Giant wasp making you nervous? (8/26/2016) - This is a guest post by Lauren Webb, a research assistant in the Dale Lab in the UF/IFAS Entomology & Nematology Department. Have you ever seen a wasp nearly the length of a large paperclip? Perhaps... Read More I have things that move in my birdbath. What are they? (5/24/2016) - Those little, squirming things in your birdbath are container-breeding mosquitoes (Figure 1). These mosquitoes are in their larval stage. Adult container-breeding mosquitoes lay eggs wherever water collects, which can be natural structures—like bromeliads—or artificial ones... Read More Do wasps have any benefits at all? (4/11/2016) - Actually, yes! They may not make honey like pollinating bees do, but we still need them. Even though you might tend to think of wasps as pesky stinging insects, they do provide ecological benefits. Similar... Read More Fresh spring leaves: A delectable treat (3/31/2016) - Throughout early spring, leaf buds on deciduous trees open up into fresh, green leaves. Our recently bare and bland landscapes are green again. We aren’t the only ones who are excited about this, though. Leaf-eating insects are too. Early... Read More What are these tents? (12/16/2015) - You may have noticed branches covered in these strange structures (Figure 1) during the spring, typically in March. These are tents constructed by eastern tent caterpillars, the larval stage of a Lasiocampid moth—a hairy and... Read More Are ladybugs all ladies? (11/18/2015) - The ladybug (Figure 1), or ladybird, is the common name given to beetles in the Coccinellidae family. This is misleading because not all ladybugs are ladies; they can be either female or male. It is... Read More What is this mosquito with white feet? (11/1/2015) - We are pleased to announce a new article on Featured Creatures that will answer that question! Take a sneak peek with this excerpt from the article: Psorophora ferox, (Figure 1) known unofficially as the white-footed... Read More Real zombies are among us! (10/26/2015) - It seems like science fiction, but insects can have their brains reprogrammed by fungi and even other insects! These zombies are common and may even be in your garden. We are mesmerized by the many... Read More Insects: A Delectable Wonder (10/15/2015) - Have you ever crave something crunchy, spicy, and savory? You are probably thinking of potato chips or chicken wings. You will be interested to know that there is another crunchy, spicy, and savory food that... Read More How is this leaf walking? (9/19/2015) - This leaf is not really a leaf at all. You are actually seeing an insect: a katydid (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) (Figure 1). On closer inspection, what you may have referred to as a grasshopper is, in... Read More Why is this tree leaking? (6/12/2015) - If you see sap coming out of a tree it could be caused by many different things. Damage to a tree trunk or limb can cause sap to leak out. This is natural wound protection... Read More What’s the best mosquito repellent to use? (5/6/2014) - Scientific studies have shown the mosquito-repelling effectiveness of the chemical N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, which is better known by the acronym DEET. Although people have reported good results with other options ranging from cosmetics to home remedies, DEET... Read More Why is my area so bug-infested? (5/6/2014) - These are some common questions- Why are there so many bugs in Florida? Not species but individual bugs. Why is my area so bug-infested? Why are there sometimes so many bugs of a certain type,... Read More Why are there so many species of bugs in Florida? (5/6/2014) - Florida is home to thousands of insect species, plus thousands more land-dwelling arthropods that aren’t classified as insects – organisms including spiders, mites, centipedes and ticks. Part of the reason we have so many species... Read More Which bug is the biggest agricultural pest in Florida? (5/6/2014) - Right now it’s probably the Asian citrus psyllid, a small flying insect that’s the vector of the presumptive cause of citrus greening disease, the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. The disease cost Florida citrus growers $4.5... Read More What’s the most dangerous bug in Florida? (5/6/2014) - In the big scheme of things, it’s the mosquito. These blood-sucking pests don’t pose a danger by themselves, but their bites can transmit microscopic organisms that cause infectious diseases including Eastern equine encephalitis and dengue.... Read More What’s the biggest bug in Florida? (5/6/2014) - For greatest body length, we’re confident that the title holder is Scolopendra alternans, commonly called the Florida Keys giant centipede or Haitian giant centipede. A really big adult can be somewhere in the neighborhood of... Read More