Last week we began our discussion of the most common garden pests in Florida. We discussed aphids, scale bugs, mites, an fruit flies. This week, we are discussing even more common garden pests in Florida, some of which native Floridians know well. Read on to learn about these pests and what you can do to protect your garden. Many thanks to the University of Florida IFAS gardening solutions program for the data.

Fire Ants

Any kid that grew up in Florida and spent any amount of time outside knows about fire ants. Their bites result in painful burning spots on the skin and itching for days. However, these little insects are not just pests towards humans – it turns out that they like to eat gardens too. This form of ant is an omnivore, which means that they’ll eat just about anything. Typically, fire ants are much more common in landscaped yards rather than natural growth. Unfortunately, these little critters can live almost anywhere: trees and stumps, under pavement, in buildings, even inside electrical equipment.

There are no control methods that will completely eradicate fire ants from an area. The best way to keep them under control is by using bait traps, both around their environment and near the mouth of their mounds. If you are having issues with fire ants in your garden your best hope is to simply deflect them to another area of property.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are perhaps the most stereotypical of all Floridian pests. Their trademark buzz and bite method is something that every Floridian learns from birth. while mosquitoes do not really target the food in gardens, they certainly target the gardener.

The best way to avoid getting mosquitoes in your garden is to eliminate as many still water elements as possible. Ponds, birdbaths, and water collection units are all popular homes for the mosquito. There are certain plants and scents that drive mosquitoes away, which is probably your best bet. There’s not a lot of sense in trying to eliminate mosquitoes with pesticides because they are so all consuming in Florida.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are in a unique position on this list. They’re actually very good for gardens, because they are the natural predator of many insects that destroy plants. However, many gardeners do not want yellow jackets near them, for understandable reasons. Yellow jackets are very aggressive, and Unfortunately thrive in warm weather.

There is no real good way for gardeners to DIY a yellow jacket treatment. The best option is to hire a professional pest control company that can eliminate the entire colony. Unfortunately, there are quite a few components of gardens that attract yellow jackets. While gardens are a source of their prey, yellow jackets also love gardens for a few other reasons. They are drawn to natural sugar sources, such as flowers, nectars, and overly ripe fruits and even fruit to simply have a high sugar content.