Spring is rapidly approaching. Along with warm weather and long, lazy days, the season brings an host of undesirable spring insects. If you want to enjoy your time outside over the next few months, learn to identify the signs of some common south Florida insects – and methods for keeping them away!
Yellow Jackets & Hornets: Yellowjacket and hornet colonies become active in early spring. These insects are scavengers attracted to standing water and trash. Therefore taking preventative measures such as getting rid of empty containers and closing your trash can tightly can help to keep them off your property.
You’ll want to locate and eliminate yellowjacket nests in your yard as early as possible. Yellowjackets nest in the ground and aggressively attack when disturbed. While their activity does not peak until late summer/early fall, you can still track their flight in spring to locate the entrance of the nest. To target individuals, purchase chemical traps or make DIY traps and place in problem areas.
Bees: Many people fear bees as well, but it is important to remember that bees are pollinators vital to the ecosystem. While the non-native honeybee is territorial and will sting, Florida has many species of native bees which are usually solitary, live in underground burrows or piles of wood, and are nonaggressive. In fact, most species do not even have stingers! The University of Florida offers helpful information on how to identify and attract native bees to your garden to aid in pollination of your flowers. If treating for wasps and hornets, select bee-safe pesticides whenever possible.
Chinch Bugs: Chinch bugs are tiny black-and-white pests that can wreak havoc on a Tampa area lawn. They particularly target St. Augustine grass—the most popular turfgrass in Florida. If you notice rapidly-growing brown patches in dry areas of your lawn, chinch bugs may be to blame.
Inspect the borderline of brown and green grass for adults, or for small orange-colored nymphs. Once you have identified chinch bugs as the culprit, treat the affected areas with chinch bug-specific insecticide. Follow the label directions for application instructions. You should be aware that most pesticides will not kill the eggs of these spring insects. More chinch bugs could emerge between 1-6 weeks after your initial application, so be prepared to apply multiple treatments. Rotating the pesticide use decreases the chances of the bugs building resistance to a single type.
Termites and Ants: These common pests make a reappearance each spring as well. The subterranean termite is the most common species in Florida, and elimination of termite colonies often require a pest control service. Look for signs of damage in wooden areas of your home. After a heavy afternoon downpour, keep an eye out for swarms—spotting a swarm is a good indication of an infestation in or around your house. Termites are attracted to moist wood, so take preventative action by fixing any areas of excess moisture, such as leaky faucets.
While ants have the potential to enter your home at any point, the growing season offers more access points as limbs of trees and shrubs expand and touch your house. The ants use these limbs as a bridge to enter from various points, so pruning your plants regularly lowers the number of access points. Eliminating standing water and exposed food along with finding and sealing cracks in your entryways will also decrease the chances of ants invading your privacy.
If you need any insecticide to keep spring insects away, or new sod to replace dead areas – Big Earth Landscape Supply is your one-stop shop for spring.