Common Pest Pressures In Boca Raton & South Florida
Whether you see unfamiliar pests crawling across your counter or all over your yard, you will need information. What are they? What problems do they cause? Are they dangerous? How do you get rid of them? Our pest library is the place to go to find the answers you need. It contains information on the most common pests in the South Florida area.
Ants are social insects that live and work together in large groups for the good of the colony. The vast size of their colonies allow them to invade yards, homes, and other buildings in large numbers making controlling and eliminating them difficult. There are over 10,000 species of ants living across the world; in our area, white-footed ants, big-headed ants, and sugar ants are the most common species that cause problems for people.
Ants are usually found living and nesting outside but often move into homes, restaurants, hospitals, office buildings, and any other structure where there’s access to food and water. All ants have three distinct body regions (head, thorax, and abdomen), six legs, and two antennae, but only the reproductive ants have wings. Individual species vary in appearance, food preferences, and nesting sites. Most ants are nuisance pests, but some species cause damage to properties or create health risks to people.
Ant Prevention Tips: Stop ants from foraging for food on your property by keeping locking lids on trash cans and compost bins and outdoor eating areas free of food debris. Pick up fallen fruits and vegetables from garden areas. Inside, counters should be free of food, crumbs, and spills. Eliminate nesting spots in your yard by removing fallen trees, trees stumps, and excess piles of wood or leaves. Prevent ants from gaining easy access to your home by trimming back trees and shrubs from your exterior walls and using caulk to seal up gaps in the exterior walls and foundation of your home.
Bed bugs are wingless insects that have flat, oval-shaped bodies. Adults are reddish-brown and about 3/16 of an inch long. The bed bud's sole source of food is the blood from warm-blooded mammals, and this pest’s favorite host is people. Once they find their way indoors, they hide during the day and emerge at night to feed on our blood while we sleep. They bite without waking us because they have an anesthetic in their saliva. People allergic to their saliva develop a raised, itchy rash.
Because people are bed bugs favorite hosts, you’ll find these insects wherever there are people. You can come into contact with bed bugs in a variety of public places, including hotels, libraries, movie theaters, dormitories, airports, shopping centers, schools, and hospitals – any place where people come and go.
Bed bugs crawl onto people or their belongings and hitchhike their way to new locations. Inside a home, bed bugs initially hide close to sleeping areas like the seams of mattresses and box springs, footboards, behind hanging pictures, and in the cracks of walls. Over time the bed bugs will travel through the walls in a home and even to other floors, infesting multiple areas. In a multi-unit building, bed bugs crawl through walls to infest other units.
Bed Bug Prevention Tips: When spending time in public places, always keep personal belongings up off of the ground and away from other people’s belongings. Before bringing luggage into a hotel room, inspect it for bed bugs. To get rid of stray bed bugs from your Boca Raton home, regularly wash your bedding, vacuum your floors, and wash outerwear frequently. Reduce hiding spots in your home by placing bed bug proof protective covers over mattresses and box springs and keeping clutter to a minimum.
Cockroaches are ancient insects, and their adaptability and resilience allow them to thrive in almost any indoor or outdoor environment. Most species of cockroaches live outside, away from people. Cockroaches are beneficial scavengers, helping to break down decaying organic materials. It is only a select few species that are dangerous; when they live near people, they spread disease pathogens, trigger allergies, and contaminate food.
Cockroaches have flat, oval-shaped bodies and very long antennae; whether they have wings or are capable of flight depends on the species. Cockroaches are nocturnal, hiding during the day in dark, secluded, quiet spaces and emerging at night to forage for food. Some of the most common species that invade homes and businesses in our area include American cockroaches, German cockroaches, and Australian cockroaches.
Most species of cockroaches are social and live together in large groups. No home or business is immune to a roach infestation; these insects can find their way into just about any structure. They may enter inside on there own while searching for food through cracks in the foundation and exterior walls, or hitchhike their way inside in packages, bags, used furniture, appliances, or even on the bottom of a person’s shoe.
Cockroach Prevention Tips: Eliminate as many entry points into your home as possible. Caulk openings in the foundation and exterior walls and install weatherstripping around windows and doors. Place mesh covers over drains and vents and repair window or door screens with rips in them. Reduce excess moisture that attracts cockroaches by fixing leaky pipes, keeping gutters clear, and using dehumidifiers to keep basements dry. Limit their access to food by keeping lids on trash cans and compost bins. Inside, never leave food out on counters or tables. Store your food in the refrigerator or plastic or glass storage containers. Always inspect bags, packages, or other items for cockroaches before bringing them into your home.
Mosquitoes are small, frail, fly-like insects, yet they are one of the world’s deadliest pests. Their threat to people comes from the diseases they can spread through their saliva when the females feed on the blood of their human and animal hosts. Mosquitoes spread things like West Nile virus, encephalitis, and the Zika virus. In developing and tropical countries, they spread malaria, which kills or debilitates millions each year. They also transmit potentially fatal parasitic heartworm to our pets.
Mosquitoes live and breed outside, making them difficult to control. Females lay their eggs in areas of standing water. Adults usually live within a few hundred feet from where they hatch but will travel 1-3 miles in search of food. Mosquitoes thrive in weather that is warm and wet; spring, summer, and early fall is when mosquito numbers are at their highest.
Properties that offer resting spots and food sources attract mosquitoes. During the heat of the day, mosquitoes rest in tall grass, under trees, along fence lines, and under decks. Both females and males feed on plant nectar from flowering trees and plants, which is their main food source. Standing water is another considerable attractant to mosquitoes. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water such as ponds, wading pools, water pooled in buckets or wheelbarrows, clogged gutters, etc.
Mosquito Prevention Tips: Prevent problems with mosquitoes by getting rid of standing water from your property. Make sure to store containers that collect water upside down when not in use. Do not overwater your lawn or potted plants. Reduce resting spots by keeping your grass cut short and removing overgrown vegetation from your property. Limit the amount of flowering vegetation planted near your home. Avoid spending time outside during dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Rodents are mammals; although they are wild animals, they have come to count on people and our property for many of their basic needs. All rodents have front incisors that grow continuously throughout their lifetime. There are more than 1,500 species of rodents living throughout the world – varying in size, color, behaviors, and food preference. Rodents are problematic pests in rural, urban, and suburban locations. The two most common species of rodents that invade Boca Raton businesses and homes are mice and rats. Both are dangerous because they damage property, spread disease, transport parasites, and contaminate food.
Rats and mice will move into homes or businesses any time of the year, usually while foraging for food and shelter. However, in the late fall, these rodents tend to enter structures at a higher rate to secure a safe, warm spot for winter. Common indoor nesting places for rodents include behind large appliances, under furniture, in boxes, in basements, in crawl spaces, and behind wall voids. They also invade garages and nest inside vehicles, lawnmowers, and other machinery. When living outside, mice nest in tall grass, fields, under logs, and in gardens or areas of dense vegetation. Rats burrow under foundations to nest and also nest in woodpiles and along riverbeds. Some species of rats nest above the ground in trees.
Rodent Prevention Tips: To eliminate rodents from your Boca Raton business or home, get rid of nesting and hiding spots for rodents on your property by removing fallen trees and tree stumps. Keep grass cut short, eliminate excess woodpiles, and overgrown shrubs. Prevent easy access to food by keeping tight-fitting lids on trash cans and compost bins. Pick up uneaten pet food, and keep garden areas clean. Inside, store food in the refrigerator or plastic or glass storage containers. Keep rodents out of your house by sealing spaces in the foundation, exterior walls, and roofline. Install a tight-fitting cap on your chimney and mesh covers over vents and drains that lead into your house. Keep garage doors closed when not in use.
Termites are wood-eating insects. In our area, there are three species of termites that invade structures to feed on wood, causing extensive and expensive damage in the process: Formosan termites, Eastern subterranean termites, and drywood termites. Formosan termites and Eastern subterranean termites are both types attracted to water damaged or rotting wood. Drywood termites prefer dry or sound wood. Their nesting locations also differ by species. Eastern subterranean termites nest under the ground, Formosan termites nest under the ground or above the ground in carton nests that they create, but neither species nests within the wood they are feeding on. Drywood termites, however, do nest inside the wood they are feeding on.
Termites have a unique and beneficial ability to enter “silently” into homes and other structures, working for months or even years before their damage, and then presence comes to light. Termite damage can become quite widespread and costly to repair and is not something that is typically covered by insurance. Subterranean termites usually attack wood beams located behind walls, below floors, above ceilings, and behind door and window frames. Drywood termites feed on wood furniture, woodwork, trim, and dry structural timbers.
Termite Prevention Tips: Make your yard less attractive to termites by removing their food sources such as fallen trees, tree stumps, and woodpiles. Create a stone barrier between your foundation and any mulch or soil. Seal up any cracks in the foundation, exterior walls, or roofline of your house. Reduce moisture levels in and around your home. Place weatherstripping around windows and doors to stop water from seeping into the walls. Inspect newly purchased furniture and other wood items for signs of termites.
The best prevention tip available is to partner with a pest control professional. If you are looking for exceptional pest control services for your South Florida property, reach out to the experts Home Pros Pest Control and request your free pest inspection today!
After trying several pest controls, a friend referred Home Pros Pest Control. Great service! Have not seen a roach in my house since!