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Florida Bee's and Wasps

A source for information on Bee's & Wasps

 

Bee's, Flea's, Hornet's, Mosquito's, and Wasp's

 

 The vast majority of bees found in Florida are species that have more extensive distributions to the north of the state. Some are widespread across the United States while others are restricted to sandy areas of the Southeastern Coastal plain (e.g., Perdita species in the Andrenidae). Florida has a relatively large number of endemic species and subspecies. Many of these are color variants such as Anthidiellum notatum rufimaculatum versus the more northern Anthidiellum notatum notatum. Many of our endemic subspecies have darker red coloration that usually is yellow further north and often the coloration is more widespread in Florida. Another color difference is seen in the three genera of sweat bees that are very common in Florida (Augochlora, Augochlorella, and Augochloropsis). In most of Florida, these bees are a bright green in color. In the southern most counties such as Miami-Dade, these species are bright blue. Causes of these color differences may be related to soil temperatures encountered by the larvae during pupation although they have not been well studied. Several endemic species have been described on the basis of a single or a few specimens. The status of these species and their conservation is unknown for most of them.

 

Fleas are very annoying pests in Florida, the most annoying that attacks both humans and animals along with Mange mites and Ticks Cat Fleas are the most common found in Florida, although you will also find dog, human and stick tight fleas. Fleas thrive when the weather is warm and humid. Depending on your climate, fleas may be a seasonal or year-round problem. Your pet can pick up fleas wherever an infestation exists, often in areas frequented by other cats and dogs. Adult fleas are dark brown, no bigger than a sesame seed, and able to move rapidly over your pet's skin. Adult fleas live their entire lives on your pet. Female fleas begin laying eggs within 24 hours of selecting your pet as a host, producing up to 50 eggs each day. These eggs fall from your pet onto the floor or furniture, including your pet's bed, or onto any other indoor or outdoor area where your pet happens to be. Tiny worm-like larvae hatch from the eggs and, to avoid sunlight, burrow into carpets, under furniture, or into soil before spinning a cocoon. The cocooned flea pupae can lie dormant for weeks before emerging as adults, ready to infest your pet. This gives fleas a life cycle of anywhere from 12 days to 6 months. Knowing where fleas develop helps you to efficiently break their life cycle.

 

Fleas are ectoparasites of animals, meaning they live on the outside of the body and need to feed on the blood of these animals in order to produce eggs. Because fleas usually feed and lay their eggs while the pet is sleeping, the pet's resting areas are where the most fleas will be found. Many pets acquire fleas outside in the yard. Research has demonstrated that urban wildlife, such as raccoons and opossums, are commonly responsible for introducing these insect pests onto residential properties where the pets can encounter them. Controlling a flea infestation successfully requires four steps:

  • Preparation for treatment.  
  • Treatment of pets.  
  • Treatment of the inside premises.  
  • Treatment of flea activity sites outside.  

Obviously, the pet is critical to minimizing flea infestations and regular grooming helps to limit fleas on the pet. For this reason, customers need to keep the pet groomed and treated with on-animal flea control products. Step One. Any flea treatment will be less effective if the home is not prepared properly by completing the following steps:

 

  • Remove all items, such as toys, clothes, and pet food from all floors.  
  • Remove all items from under beds and in the bottom of closets.  
  • Wash or replace pet bedding.  
  • Vacuum all carpets and rugs thoroughly, including beneath beds and upholstered furniture.  
  • Clean all wood, tile, and linoleum floors by sweeping and mopping.  
  • Clean concrete floors with soap and water in the garage,basement, or enclosed patio where pets rest or stay.  
  • Remove all pets including birds and reptiles. Cover fish tanks with a damp towel and turn off the air pump.  
  • Replace any pet bedding outdoors and make all shaded areas, crawl spaces, etc. available for treatment.  
  • Arrange to be out of the home for several hours until the treatment has thoroughly dried.  

Step Two. The homeowner needs to arrange for treating the pet. A number of on-animal treatment products are now available. Treatment of pets should be done under the direction of a veterinarian.

 Step Three. In homes that have an active flea infestation, a residual treatment combined with an insect growth regulator should be applied. A professional can best accomplish this treatment by using specialized equipment. Efforts should be focused on the areas where pets rest or sleep. These are the sites where the most fleas will be located.

 Step Four. Outside, treatment should be applied to shaded areas and beneath shrubs and decks where pets rest or sleep. Again, a professional has the right equipment to provide this treatment effectively.

 

 Due to their intimidating size and appearance, wasps are typically feared by most people in Florida. For those who work or play outdoors, the sight of a flying wasp or wasp nest tends to elicit the samecautious behavior one would exhibit when in close proximity to bees, hornets, and yellowjackets, and for good reason. Wasps are most common around a variety of structures. Most are social insects that live in colonies, and they aggressively defend their nests by stinging. Wasps can become a problem in autumn when they may disrupt outdoor activities, but otherwise are considered nuisance insects. Wasps, order Hymenoptera, are generally 1-2 inches long, slender, narrow-waisted with long legs and are usually reddish-orange to brown or black in color. They also appear smooth-skinned and shiny. Unlike bees, which can only sting once before dying, wasps can sting repeatedly and will often do so if they feel threatened or if they are defending their nest. However, they are not overly-aggressive and will not attack humans unless provoked. Only females have the ability to sting.

 

House mosquito larvae breed in standing water that remains fairly calm and undisturbed. Larvae are common along the edges of a pond or a ditch, but they will not be found in a quick-running stream or creek. As a rule of thumb, any water that stands for at least seven days can breed mosquitoes. Often, mosquito outbreaks occur within two weeks of heavy rainfall where ditches, puddles and other low-lying areas fill up with water. Mosquitoes that attack people in their own yard are usually breeding close by on the property or on adjacent properties. Most mosquitoes found around homes are known as “tree hole” or “container” mosquitoes. This species does not breed in a natural body of water, rather the female seeks out accumulated water in hollows in trees; in water-capturing plants such as bromeliads; or in manmade containers such as bird baths, barrels, cans, clogged gutters and old tires. Smaller children’s swimming pools and regular swimming pools that are not well maintained can also serve as a source for mosquitoes. Complete control or elimination of house mosquitoes around any property is not possible. Mosquito reduction, however, is very possible and involves a number of components: Habitat Reduction – Getting rid of any item that could contain water and hold it for more than seven days needs to be addressed. • Empty and refill birdbaths at least once per week. • Drill holes in the bottom of tire swings to prevent rainwater from accumulating. • Avoid using barrels or other containers to capture rainwater unless the container is emptied every few days. • Empty children’s “kiddie” pools regularly. • Examine gutters regularly. Conditions, such as debris or loose guttering, should be corrected. • Fill in accessible tree holes with a material that will not harm the tree. Check with a local nursery for advice. • Use soil to fill in low areas in lawns and landscaped areas that allow rainwater to collect and stand for more than seven days. • Install an agitator in garden ponds used in landscaping or buy fish that eat mosquito larvae. The wave actions created by an agitator can prevent mosquito adults from successfully emerging from pupae. Controlling Mosquito Larvae — For properties that have ditches, small ponds or decorative garden ponds, environmentally friendly mosquito larvicides can be applied to the water by a pest professional in areas in which mosquitoes can breed. • The insect growth regulator (IGR), methoprene, affects only insects, interfering with a mosquito larva’s ability to pupate into an adult. IGR products are generally applied about once every 30 days to help reduce mosquito populations. • Bacterial mosquito control products that affect only mosquito larvae also can be used, but such products require specific timing in order to obtain maximum results. Controlling Adult Mosquitoes — The best way to limit mosquitoes is to prevent adult mosquitoes from developing by eliminating or treating breeding sources as described above. Because some adult mosquitoes are most likely always going to be present, treatments can be applied around a home to control as many as possible. • A pest professional can apply residual products to shrubs and other vegetation around the home and yard. Since mosquitoes spend most of their time during the day resting in vegetation, such treatments can effectively reduce mosquito populations. Such treatments need to be periodically reapplied during the warm months when mosquitoes are active. • Some of the mosquito traps available commercially do attract and capture large numbers of mosquitoes. Concern may exist that such traps may draw mosquitoes from adjacent properties, so locating the trap at the perimeter of the property is preferable to placing it next to the patio, deck, etc. where people are active. Mosquito control treatments are available in some areas of the country.

 

 Asian Mosquitto  BaldFaced Hornet  Bumble Bee  Carpenter Bee  Cat Flea  European Hornet
 Honey Bee  House Mosquito  Paper Wasp  Yellow Jacket    
           Resources

 

 

Images and information derived in part or in whole from Trueman's Scientific Guide to PMO 6th ED

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