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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Posted: May 25, 2017It is that time of year when it seems that everywhere you look is an insect you have never seen before. To keep you in the know we have pulled together some of the... Read More Posted: May 23, 2017Are you seeing fantastic creatures that are the stuff of nightmares (or an entomologists day dreams)? We all have had these moments and can often be surprised by how small some of these so... Read More Posted: September 9, 2016A 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... Read More Posted: August 26, 2016This 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?... Read More Posted: May 27, 2016The silver critters that you find in boxes are called silverfish (Figure 1). They are a primitive type of insect that lack wings and are ametabolous (meaning they do not go through metamorphosis). Silverfish... Read More Posted: May 26, 2016If you have ever seen what looks like clumps of dirt ascending your walls, you are actually seeing an insect. The “dirt” is actually a case that surrounds a household casebearer caterpillar (Figure 1),... Read More Posted: May 25, 2016 When you have an infestation of bed bugs (Figure 1), bleach should not be used as a control method. Bleach can be harmful to people if not used carefully, and it will not... Read More Posted: May 24, 2016Those 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... Read More Posted: May 23, 2016Between April and November, you might notice spike-tailed green worms (Figure 1) feasting on your tomato plants’ leaves and fruit. These voracious creatures ravaging your garden are caterpillars called tobacco or tomato hornworms. The... Read More Posted: April 11, 2016Actually, 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.... Read More Posted: April 8, 2016It may feel as though ants, no matter what you seem to do, will never leave your house. There are several reasons why ants continue to find their way inside your home. Doing dishes... Read More Posted: March 31, 2016Throughout 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.... Read More Posted: February 24, 2016Welcome to the new online habitat, er, home for the University of Florida’s Bug Week! The UF/IFAS Web Team has designed this terrific new website, where you’ll find information about all the Bug Week... Read More Posted: December 16, 2015You 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... Read More Posted: November 18, 2015The 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... Read More Posted: November 1, 2015We 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... Read More Posted: October 26, 2015It 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... Read More Posted: October 15, 2015Have 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... Read More Posted: October 10, 2015We have a new article on Featured Creatures that will answer that question! Take a sneak peek with this excerpt from the article: Morpho peleides Kollar, the blue morpho butterfly, also known as the peleides blue... Read More Posted: September 19, 2015This 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,... Read More Posted: July 10, 2015The pillbug, Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille), is an isopod, a type of non-insect arthropod also known as a terrestrial crustacean. It is sometimes called a roly-poly due to its ability to roll into ball when... Read More Posted: June 12, 2015If 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... Read More Posted: May 20, 2014That depends on your definition of ‘here.’ No breeding populations of any species of recluse spiders (Loxosceles laeta, Loxosceles reclusa, and Loxosceles rufescens have all been found in the state), has been found in any... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014No, it’s not true. Not by a long shot. Not even close. NO! This rumor’s been around for decades and its origins are unknown. But we can tell you a few things to bust... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014Scientific 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,... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014These 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... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014Florida 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... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014As much as we’d like to help, we’re not physicians and so it would be irresponsible for us to try to diagnose a medical problem. The best thing for you to do is discuss... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014Right 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... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014You should talk to your primary care provider. There are tests available that can indicate potential bee and wasp venom allergies. In the meantime, if you’re not certain if you are allergic to bee... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014In 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... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014Is this what you are seeing? Those are representatives of a fly family called Psychodidae, commonly called drain flies, sink flies or moth flies. These insects are harmless, they don’t bite, sting or transmit... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014For 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... Read More Posted: May 6, 2014Let’s start with the easy part- defining what an insect is. An insect is a type of organism in a larger group called arthropods, which are cold-blooded creatures with an exoskeleton and no backbone.... Read More Posted: May 2, 2014 If you live in Florida, you already know that our state is a hotbed for bugs. And with thousands of insects, spiders, mites and other creepy-crawly critters wandering about, you may have a few... Read More