Be on The Lookout: 3 Florida Insects You DON’T Want to Tangle With

BlackWidowWebCentral Florida has no shortage of reptile, bird, or insect species.  Our almost tropical climate seems to support critters of all kinds, and it doesn't take long on a hike through one of our swamps or alongside one of our many lakes to see a huge variety of wildlife. While it's easy to know which of the large animals you should avoid (i.e., gators, skunks, snakes, etc.) and which ones are usually safe, when it comes to insects it can be harder to tell what is friend or foe.  While most of the insects here in Florida are (relatively) harmless, there are some that you should watch out for.

  1. Stinging Caterpillars.  While there are many caterpillar species here in the Southeast, Florida one fellow carries a nasty punch when pet.  The Puss Caterpillar, appropriately named because it looks soft and furry like a kitten, is a mean little devil with venom spines hidden under that supposedly soft fur.  Those spines hold a toxin that, once released into your skin, is more painful than a bee sting (or even a jellyfish sting) and can lead to vomiting, convulsions, or worse. These guys can take on slightly differing colors and appearances, so take some time to research online and be familiar with them before you head out into the woods, especially if you'll be hiking around or under oaks where they like to hide out.
  2. Widow Spiders.  The Black Widow spider is the most famous and well-known of the widow spiders, but the entire family is venomous.  The Southern Black Widow, Northern Black Widow, Red Widow, and Brown Widow are all poisonous and can all be found in Florida.  The bite of these spiders can be fatal, although not often as long as medical attention is sought and the victim is in otherwise good health.  The widow spiders have a telltale hourglass marking on their abdomen, and while it varies some in color and/or distinction among the various widow types, they all have some semblance of this marking to set them apart.
  3. Fire ants.  These little monsters are perhaps one of the most common culprits for the calls we get here at Country Boy, and for good reason.  Fire ants can trigger the same type of allergic response in a sting victim as a bee, but instead of a single sting, you usually end up with several (or more!) since they swarm like a tiny, angry army.  Small children are especially susceptible since they can step in, or explore, a fire ant next without realizing it and can be overtaken by the stinging insects quickly.  Even without an allergic reaction, the bites are painful, and each sting site forms a small blister.  It's best to keep these guys out of your yard.

If you are having trouble with any of the insects mentioned above, or simply an annoying case of stubborn roaches in the pantry, we have great news for you.  Country Boy can handle ALL of that, and more!  We are Polk County's top choice for pest control services since we can give an on the spot estimate and customize a pest control plan for you.  Give us a call and make an appointment today!

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