Top 30 Most Common Bugs In Florida

Which are the most common bugs of Florida? Florida has at least 12,500 insect species. They all eat something, and whether humans call them “pests” depends on how they impact our lives.

Some of them eat the plants we consider important, and some of them bite, sting, or try to feed on us. Many insects are considered invasive species that arrived in Florida by accident or were intentionally introduced. Many of the invaders affect Florida residents and its environment in a negative way.

The following is a sampling of the 30 insect species most common to our state.

Palmetto_Bug

Palmetto Bug. Scientific name: Eurycotis floridana. This large cockroach grows to a length of 30–40 mm (1.2–1.6 in). It is found mostly outdoors, where it eats detritus and leaf-litter, but occasionally will sneak into houses.

No-See-Um
‘No-See-Um’. These are the biting midges of the genus Culicoides; 47 species of which are known to occur in Florida. They are so small that you can’t see them (hence the nickname ‘No-See-Um’). They are a nuisance to people outdoors who might spend time near shorelines or wetland areas when winds are calm. They leave small red welts where they bite.

Yellow_Fly

Yellow Fly. Scientific name: Diachlorus ferrugatus. Yellow flies are ferocious biters, with female flies needing a blood meal in order to develop their eggs after mating. Their peak season in Florida is April through June.

Stable_Fky
Stable Fly (Dog Fly). Scientific name: Stomoxys calcitrans. This biting fly originated in Asia, but now can be found worldwide. It mostly attacks dogs and cattle, but will also bite humans. In northwest Florida, stable flies will conglomerate in large numbers in seaweed washed-up on the shoreline and attack humans who venture too close. The small flies are affected by wind currents, and how the winds blow can determine how bad the biting will become. The flies can become so bad that it affects tourism.

Wolf_Spider
Carolina wolf spider. Scientific name: Hogna carolinensis. These large spiders can reach 25 mm (0.98 in) in size. Though they look ferocious, they shy away from humans. They are beneficial in that they consume insect pests for food. Females are noted for carrying their young on their back.

Fire_Ant
Red Fire Ant. Scientific name: Solenopsis invicta. The fire ant is native to South America, but has become a pest in the southern United States. Fire ant mounds can be found in back yards all over Florida. Fire ants give a painful sting that often leaves a swollen pustule on the skin.

Formosan_Termite
Formosan Subterranean Termite. Scientific name: Coptotermes formosanus. An invasive species from Asia, which arrived in Florida around 1980. It is often nicknamed the ‘super-termite’ because of its destructive habits. These termites can seriously damage a wooden structure in as little as 3 months.

Citrus_Leaf_Miner

Citrus Leafminer. Scientific name: Phyllocnistis citrella. This moth is an invasive species from Asia that first entered Florida in 1993. The moth’s larvae mines the leaves of citrus trees, severely impacting the Florida citrus industry.

Southern_Mole_Cricket

Southern Mole Cricket. Scientific name: Scapteriscus borellii. This insect is an invasive species from South America. It is fairly large—about 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) long, and can be found in yards all over Florida where turf-grass is planted. Mole crickets burrow beneath the turf, feeding on the roots of the grass, causing damage to lawns.

Yellow_Fever_Mosquito
Yellow Fever Mosquito. Scientific name: Aedes aegypti. This mosquito is an invader from Africa which hitched a ride to the New World with the slave trade. It can spread the dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses, along with other diseases. Yellow fever became a scourge of the tropics and neotropics until effective mosquito control was instituted after about 1900. A yellow fever vaccine was developed by 1937.

Eastern_Velvet_Ant

Eastern Velvet Ant. Scientific name: Dasymutilla occidentalis. This insect is actually a wingless species of wasp, attaining an approximate length of 0.75 in (1.9 cm). Females are capable of an extremely painful sting, hence the ant’s nick-name “cow killer”.

Eastern_Carpenter_Bee

Eastern Carpenter Bee. Scientific name: Xylocopa virginica. It is often mistaken for a large bumblebee, as they are similar in size and appearance. They sometimes bore holes in wood dwellings, becoming minor pests. Only females can sting.

American_Dog_Tick
American Dog Tick. Scientific name: Dermacentor variabilis. This tick is common throughout the eastern and southern United States, to include Florida. It is one of the most well-known hard ticks and is a vector for Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.

Asian_Tiger_Mosquito

Asian tiger mosquito. Scientific name: Aedes albopictus. This mosquito was first documented in Florida in 1986. It is a vector for several diseases, including equine encephalitis.

Tomato_Hornworm

Tomato Hornworm. Scientific name: Manduca quinquemaculata. Tomato hornworms are large caterpillars that are the larvae of the Five-Spotted Moth. They are voracious eaters of tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers in back yard gardens and can quickly defoliate these plants.

Brown_Recluse_Spider

Brown Recluse Spider. Scientific name: Loxosceles reclusa. Only the extreme northwest portion of the Florida Panhandle lies within the natural range of this spider. The brown recluse possesses a powerful venom and can give a serious bite. Luckily, bites to humans from the species are uncommon.

Two-Striped_Walkingstick

Two-Striped Walkingstick. Scientific name: Anisomorpha buprestoides. This is the most common stick insect in Florida, and can be found feeding on leaves of trees and shrubs.

Hieroglyphic_Cicada
Hieroglyphic Cicada. Scientific name: Anisomorpha buprestoides. This cicada prefers to eat the sap of oak trees. It is the first species to be heard in spring–its song starts with a sequence of progressively softer whiney bursts and ends with an even whine.

Florida_Carpenter_Ant
Florida Carpenter Ant. Scientific name: Camponotus floridanus. This ant is among the largest ants found in Florida. They do not sting, but can bite. They nest in soft rotting or pithy wood.

Southern_Black_Widow

Southern Black Widow. Scientific name: Latrodectus mactans. This venomous spider is found throughout the southeastern United States. It likes to inhabit wood and rock piles, rodent burrows, and hollow tree stumps.

Thorn_Bug
Thorn Bug. Scientific name: Umbonia crassicornis. The thorn bug is an occasional pest of ornamentals and fruit trees in southern Florida. The insect causes damage by piercing the plant tissue and sucking the sap and by making cuts in the plant for egg laying.

Lovebugs

Lovebug. Scientific name: Plecia nearctica. Lovebugs swarm to mate in late spring and during the summer. Males and females will pair and remain stuck together during mating. Automobiles driving through a swarm of lovebugs will emerge covered with smashed bugs, and if not washed off soon, the insect residue can damage the paint on a car.

Florida_Scorpionfly
Florida Scorpionfly. Scientific name: Panorpa floridana. No living individuals of the Florida scorpionfly have ever been observed. Nothing is thus known about the insect’s habits and life history. It appears as if males of this species have a large stinger in their tail; however this is just a reproductive organ.

Spined_Soldier_Bug
Spined Soldier Bug. Scientific name: Podisus maculiventris. This carnivorous insect is very beneficial to mankind, as it is a predator of around 90 insect species, to include several crop and garden pests.

Citrus_Gall_Midge
Citrus Gall Midge. Scientific name: Prodiplosis longifila. This tiny midge lays its eggs in the buds of lime trees. The larvae when hatched feed on the flowers, damaging them, and interfering with fruit development.

Catalpa_Worm

Catalpa Worm. Scientific name: Ceratomia catalpae. This “worm” is actually the caterpillar of the Catalpa Sphinx Moth. These moths lay their eggs on the leaves of the southern catalpa tree, which hatch into the colorful larvae. The caterpillars are prized as bait by fishermen.

Zebra_Longwing_Butterfly
Zebra Longwing Butterfly. Scientific name: Heliconius charitonia. The zebra longwing butterfly is the state butterfly of Florida. It lays its eggs on the leaves of the passion fruit vine, and has a very colorful larval (caterpillar) stage.

Miam_Blue_Butterfly
Miami Blue Butterfly. Scientific name: Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri. A small butterfly that is native to coastal areas of southern Florida. Once very common throughout its range, it has become critically endangered because of habitat loss. It may be the rarest insect in the United States.

Florida_Predatory_Stinkbug

Florida Predatory Stinkbug. Scientific name: Euthyrhynchus floridanus. This carnivorous insect is very beneficial to mankind, because most of its prey consists of plant-damaging bugs, beetles, and caterpillars.

Gulf_Coast_Tick
Gulf Coast Tick. Scientific name: Amblyomma maculatum. This tick is common throughout the southern United States, including all of Florida. It is of increasing concern because of its ability to transmit several pathogens of veterinary and medical importance.

References

Frank, J.H. & Thomas, M.C. (2015). Invasive Insects (Adventive Pest Insects) in Florida. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in503

IFAS. (2015). Featured Creatures. Retrieved from
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/main/search_common.htm

51 thoughts on “Top 30 Most Common Bugs In Florida

  1. the picture you have for a ‘palmetto bug’ is actually an adult American cockroach, similar in appearance to the scientific name listed beneath it, however different. we still have both in Florida lol

  2. My husband and I both have little tiny brown flying bugs in our cars. We are actually infested with them in our cars. I have pictures but I don’t know how to share them on this site. If someone would be kind enough to tell me how I can get my picture posted I would love to solicit some assistance. Thank you!

          1. I’m not too sure. I just sent two more closeups of better quality for detail. They are the size of a gnat. They do resemble the beatle.

            We live in South Florida and have tons of Palm trees in our yard that we park under. I suspect it is related to the trees considering both of our vehicles have been invaded. These little critters are entering the cars in the little holes where the dash meets the hood.

            I appreciate your help.

            Thanks again!

    1. You should reduce or get rid of standing water in the yard. You can also use insecticides but due to their short lifespan you will have to re-apply regularly. Mesh screens will help keep them out of the home.

  3. I am having a problem which I thought were ants and now I’m not sure. They are teeny teeny tiny bugs. I find them in my kitchen in my den in my office. Even on my computer screen and on me too they are such a nuisance. Raid doesn’t get rid of them. I live in Boca please please help. I will try to take a pic but they are quick some of them others kind of look like they are going in circles.

    1. Liquid Terro. place a drop on a piece of foil or tear a section off from the box (the box provides this) and place in a corner where you see them coming in. You must endure them coming and going for a week or two. They feed on this Terro and will disappear for good after your patience. No patience-they’ll be around forever. Unlike other insects they have a queen but section off in groups to search for water mostly. Usually seen around the kitchen and bathrooms. You can spray around the foundation of the house up the sides and especially around windows but the spray will not get rid of them. From what I’ve read Raid and other insecticides may kill on contact but for all those ants killed in combat, so to speak, the queen gets to work and produces that much more to replace the dead. So, Terro drops are the only recourse you have.

      1. I think these must be the bugs that I have just found in my keurig. I flushed the coffee maker with white vinegar, but that did not work…they are back.

        they are so tiny, I can hardly see them but they seem to swim in clusters.

    1. Those are Lubber grasshopper nymphs. You can read about them here: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/lubber.htm The only way to kill them is with NOLO BAIT (or to beat the crap out of them and then do it again to insure they are dead – they do NOT die easily). The NOLO BAIT has a shelf life of only 13 weeks so you want to buy it in about the middle of February (or maybe early February) and start putting it out (you can read about it on-line) because these pests start hatching in March.

    1. Send a clear picture to dd2 [@] live [dot] nl.
      Mention size. For instance 2 mm.
      If possible with something for scale in it. Or something on the background. A remote control, a coin.
      Mention where you encounter the bugs. For example; in your living room in Carlsbad, California.

  4. Something is biting me in my car and home now it seems to be going to work and following me biting me and other.I saw something fly in the car during the day it looked gray.

  5. We were sitting on Sunset Pier in Key West at sunset, a small black with orange wing highlights bit my forearm with a burning feeling. Got a small red raised bump with little oozing. What bug bit me?

  6. I have an oval shaped small bug. Gray in color and looks like a piece of paper. Most of them are dead, but very few of them are alive and seem to glide across the floor. Hard to see the head. What are they?

    1. I wish someone would answer this question! I love these little guys and I call ’em Pocket Pets. There is a little wormish guy inside & pulls itself along with its little front claws. They’ve never bitten me and I find them incredibly cute!

  7. When outside walking my dogs I was covered in tiny black bugs with stingers. They seem to be attracted to yellow because my shirt was covered in them but the rest of my clothes had nothing. This happened at the back of my home on a golf course, the lawn was just cut. Thank you for your help!

  8. Hi, I have a quick question… my friend and I were deleting her backyard today and we’re pulling up broadleaf weed comet under the broadleaf weed there are these tiny orangish reddish bugs some with wings some without I’m trying to figure out what kind of bug that they are. We are located in Jacksonville Florida which is in Northeast Florida. It is a st. Augustine grass yard, well actually the parts that are left are st. Augustine grass the previous tenants ruined hair backyard by neglecting it. I have tried every single thing on Google, I have tried asking friends, etc… I am just looking to see if anyone knows what type of bugs that these may be. I am trying to capture one to get a picture but that is easier said than done. Small orangish reddish bug under broadleaf weed in the root system in dirt some with wings.

  9. hello – i just sent you a picture of a white tick looking bug – they are on my lawn in small numbers but also on young tree and it looks like they are eating the leaves…. at least something is eat the leaves but this white bug is the only thing that is visible on the tree’s leaves. thank you in advance. anthony

  10. Hello!
    My grandmother’s house seems to be infested with this wasp like bug and we are not sure what it is can you help us figure it out?

    1. Sarasota Saturday Market. Visit the booth where Lynn, the bug lady works. She sells all natural sprays that reprell no seeums, mosqitoes, and fleas from humans and pets.

  11. I just purchased a couch and now I have seen about 4 of these little things crawling on it. Anyone know what this is?

  12. Not sure what bug this is, they seem to invade the bathroom areas & are kinda crunchy to the touch when you press them against the countertop. They do not seem to fly. We live in Tampa, Fla. Please help if you can with ID & a way to get rid of them. Thanks in advance for your help ! I will send an email pic now

  13. What is the little black flying bug mating on Marco Island right now. Can’t open our doors. How long will this invasion last?

  14. Any idea what kind of critter this is. Slightly bigger than s pin head. It has a round body. Not flat like a bed bug or tick. Maybe segmented. I live in Tampa Florida. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

  15. Have tiny ant looking insects on kitchen counter. They are smaller than the head of a pin and they move around pretty fast for their size.

    Please Advise

  16. I need to know what these worms are my dogs keep drinking the water and they hack and hack all day long any ideas they seem to have 2 tails and feed on the algae in the bucket

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