Boy – There are a lot of bugs. Like, a ton of them – And if you imagine the stereotypical creepy-crawly, you’re probably going to think of something with big googly eyes and a pair of wings and green all over. So it might be a surprise when most bugs wind up being various shades of gray or brown! It’s made all the more alarming than when you suddenly notice a bright splash of green buzzing past. What was that green bug? This article will describe a few common bright green bugs that you might encounter in Florida.
But there are, as we’ve said, a lot of them – Even the common ones are numerous! So, tell us more – What did it look like?
It was huge and had a tiny head and really long back legs!
A weird and wild specimen, you’re probably looking at a giant Florida katydid! A species of bush cricket native to Florida and, surprisingly, Cuba. You might have noticed, but their huge wings resemble leaves, helping them hide in the bushes and trees they live in. You know it’s a katydid If the wings pinch together when seen from above, making it look paddle or spear-shaped distinctly. While adults can be as long as an adult male’s finger, the babies are barely larger than an ant! Worry not, these insects are harmless. Try to scoop them into a bowl, cover them with a sheet of paper, and let it go outside.
These green bugs are long and squishy with a spike on the back!
Even though it might look like it has more than three legs, it only has three true legs – You’re looking at a pest called the tomato hornworm. These are not full-grown insects but caterpillars. They’re the larval stage of a large moth, Manduca sexta, and they absolutely destroy tomato and vegetable crops. If they show up in your garden, you’ll have to pluck them off by hand or get a professional to spray them out. Prevent them by interplanting dill and basil and thoroughly tilling your soil before and after the gardening season to destroy eggs that might be present. Oh, it could also be a tobacco hornworm – These are also pests. You can tell them apart by the white stripes, black spots, and red horns.
Just as a note, if you see them with white pill-looking things on their skin, consider bringing them somewhere far away. They’re covered in parasitic wasp eggs, and when the larvae hatch and eat the worm, the adults will spread out and help keep populations low.
It’s small, skinny, and has big clear wings!
This is something very beneficial and precious, most likely! If it almost looks like a miniature dragonfly with rounded wings, a pointy face, and long antennae, you’re looking at a green lacewing. Don’t squish these, whatever you do! Send them outside and be careful of spiderwebs. The adults snack on aphids and pollen now and then, but the real show starts when they lay eggs. Larval lacewings tear through aphid colonies with such voracity that they can clean entire gardens of aphids in a single laying section! Lacewing larvae look like itty bitty caterpillars that have large jaws and long legs and move much quicker. Sometimes you might see a brown variant – In that case, thank your lucky stars. Even the adults go the whole hog on aphids and other garden pests.
On the flip side, their presence likely means there are aphids nearby. Be sure to check your plants and see if they’re suffering.
These green bugs are shaped kinda like a shield and is loud
Uh-oh. Green bugs in Florida aren’t dangerous, by and large, but don’t mess with this one. You’re probably looking at a stinkbug. Don’t even touch it, don’t upset it at all. If you can, scoop it into a cup without touching it directly – Plastic bags work great. Stinkbugs release a particularly foul stink that can stick to you, your walls, and your home for hours or even days at the slightest provocation. If you see lots of these guys, please! Call a professional!