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.
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 breeding and spread... 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 on the ground... Read More What are these specks of dirt climbing up my walls? (5/26/2016) - If 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), which is the larval... 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 with standing water—like... 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 to bees, some... 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 spring is when many... 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 golden-brown colored moth... 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 difficult to determine... 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 woods mosquito (King... 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 examples of tormentors... 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 is also healthy... 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 fact, related to... 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 for the tree.... 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 is a widely... 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, like love bug... 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 of bugs here... 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 billion in lost... 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. Scientists believe that,... 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 seven to 10... Read More Welcome to UF/IFAS What’s Bugging You FAQ’s (5/2/2014) - 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 questions about them. UF/IFAS... Read More