Florida Bugs To Be Thankful For
November 18, 2014
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s time to show gratitude for the little things that happen to us which we don’t have the slightest control over. Let’s take this time to think about the insects in our neighborhoods. There are hundreds of thousands of insects in the U.S. and some of them are really a bother. For example, we all hate mosquitoes, and ants can be intimidating. But those are not the only bugs we are blessed with in Florida.
According to the University of Florida, of the over 100,000 insect species active in the U.S., more than half are beneficial to the community. We call these the “good bugs.” They don’t feed on plants in a bad way and on most occasions will feed on other pests to naturally keep them in check.
The good bugs fall into two categories; parasites and predators. Parasites feed on a host or lay eggs that feed on a host. Predators, on the other hand, consume the entire host.
Here are 5 Florida pests to be appreciative of this thanksgiving season:
Assassin bugs are easy to identify. They are usually either entirely black or fully brown though a good number are brightly colored. They are between ½ and 1-inch-long with an elongated head and short curved beaks. There are more than 160 species of the assassins in North America and both nymphs and adults are effective at pest control. One example of the assassin bugs is the wheel bug.
We all know lady beetles. They are some of the most common insects in North America with over 475 species patrolling the U.S. Larvae and adults are equally adept at pest control, feeding on several species of soft-bodied insects such as mealy bugs, mites, and aphids. Lady beetles are orange or reddish in color with black markings, the adults are oval in shape and grow up to ¼ inch long.
There are over 160,000 species of parasitic wasps in North America alone. They are small-sized insects growing to no more than 1/8 of an inch. Their larvae feed and pupate inside a host and as the young one leaves the host, it always leaves a mark on its body which is evidence of parasitism. Hosts include white flies, aphids, scales, caterpillars, and leaf miners among others.
Well, spiders are actually classified as arachnids and not really insects but, it would be unfair to leave them out of this list. These small animals capture prey in their webs while some such as the jumping spider will pounce on their prey. The golden silk spider and the green lynx spider are also very helpful to Floridians. Spiders feed on a wide variety of harmful insects.
Everyone has seen a bee before. If you live in Florida, these are some of the most common insects. Bees are best known for their honey which is one of the reasons the honey bee is so popular. However, the bee has so much more to offer. For instance, bees are some of the best-known pollinators.
We understand that some of these bugs may still pose a risk to human health, but what we would like every resident of Florida to understand is that life would be a lot harder without some of these good bugs. Let’s think about them this thanksgiving and be thankful for the work that they do to help our lives here in Florida.
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