With a mix of hot, humid environments and plentiful rain during half of the year, Florida is a breeding ground for many different types of insects. These creepy crawlers can be found all over the state and can be common annoyances for residents and visitors. Many of the common ones can also fly.
Mosquitoes, also known as “little flies,” are one of the most common insects in Florida. The state has the largest number of different species inhabiting it, with 80 species making their home there. Of these, 33 species of Florida mosquitoes can cause pest problems among animals and humans, and 13 are capable of carrying and transmitting diseases. This makes them a nuisance throughout the year, though their numbers greatly increase during the summer months. This is when Florida receives the most rainfall and humidity. Since mosquitoes need moist conditions to breed, this is when they are most prevalent. These scaly-winged bloodsuckers can be kept at bay with repellents and long-sleeved clothing.
The mud dauber is one of the stranger flying insects found in Florida. They are a type of wasp, though they are not a very aggressive species. They make themselves known most by building nests in garages, under eaves and in similar dark places in buildings. Often, they need to be removed by homeowners. These insects grow only ¾ to 1 inch long as adults. After mating, female mud daubers begin to make nests out of mud cells. The strange thing about them is what they do next. The small insects hunt for and find spiders, paralyzing them with a sting. They then lay an egg on the spider and surround it in mud to create a cell. Mud dauber nests typically have between six and eight such cells. When done, the nest is abandoned. Inside, the maggotlike larvae emerge and feed off the spider inside until they are grown into an adult. The cycle starts over again, with new mud daubers emerging from their nests in the spring.
Perhaps the most notorious flying insect in Florida is the palmetto bug, also known as the American cockroach. These reddish-brown insects grow up to 2 inches in length. They resemble other species of cockroaches, except they have a pair of wings on their back. These wings give them the unique ability to fly while also offering protection for the insect when it is on the ground. Palmetto bugs will eat anything, and the warm, tropical climate of Florida is the perfect stomping ground for them. They often invade homes and buildings, becoming a problem pest for many people. They are one of the fastest running insects, which make them hard to catch, but their large size generally makes them easier to get rid of.