With its sunny weather and humid climate, Florida is home to at least 12,500 species of bugs and pests.
This guide reveals 13 biting bugs in Florida that cause intense itching and red welts on the skin.
But bites from some of these bugs can cause serious diseases too!
In this post, you’ll learn when and where they bite you, which one of them enter homes, the risks they bring, the precautions you need to take, and some tips on preventing bites from these bugs.
So, if you’re a Florida resident or looking forward to moving to this beautiful southern state, this guide is your must-have.
13 Biting Bugs In Florida
- Biting Midges
- Black Flies
- Bed bugs
- Red fire ants
- House Ants
- Sea Lice
On our previous post on tiny black bugs in Florida homes, we touched upon a few bugs infest different areas of your home like bathroom and kitchen.
But these nine bugs can cause serious discomfort if they hide in hour home. Because a few of them can cause an infestation.
Let’s deep dive into each of these bugs and find out how they enter homes and what preventions you can take to protect yourself from their bites.
Biting Midges In Florida
Biting midges, also known as no-see-ums, sand flies, or punkies, are the most common flying, biting bugs in coastal Florida.
These bugs are tiny, growing only up to 1-3 mm in size, grayish, and have transparent wings with patterns.
Biting midges are active in the warm months of the year. These biting bugs breed in the semi-aquatic regions where a single female biting midge can lay up to 100 eggs.
Punkies bite many Florida residents outdoors in the woods or near the marshes.
The female biting midges are the one that bites and feeds on human blood. They need the blood to reproduce and to develop eggs in their bodies.
The male midges feed only on the flower nectar.
Biting midges on the skin look like a speck of black dirt. However, many people can’t see the bugs when they bite because of their small size.
Biting midges have sharp mouth parts that cut open the skin. Then they insert their beak, the proboscis, to draw out the blood.
Their bites cause intense itching and red rashes on the bitten wound.
It’s always best to wear skin-friendly mosquito repellents while you’re outdoors. The repellent keeps the midges away.
Also, dark colors attract the biting midges. So, wearing light color clothes also helps in keeping away these biting flies.
Florida homes with lush green yards, swimming pools, and ponds are breeding grounds for the biting midges.
Light from your home attracts these bugs. So, biting midges will fly inside your home through the open windows.
Inside your home, they’ll hover around the light bulbs and land nasty bites on you.
Use a mosquito spray on them, remove excessive vegetation from your yard, and control the dampness levels of your yard to discourage the biting midges from laying eggs in your Florida home.
Also, install window shields with fine mesh to prevent these bugs from entering your home.
Window shields are very helpful in keeping bugs that gather around windows and try to sneak inside homes.
Horseflies In Florida
Horseflies are big gray flies that are common in properties with livestock. These flies are a menace in barns of Florida, and many parts of the United States, during the summer.
Homes with swampy backyards and a lot of organic waste like mulch beds and compost piles can also have horseflies.
Horseflies feed on animal blood. They’ve sharp blade-like mouths that they use to rip open the skin of their hosts to draw blood.
And horseflies bite not only animals but also humans.
Horseflies avoid dark places. So, they’re inactive at night. But during the daytime, these flies will always look for their bloodmeals.
That’s the time when horseflies suddenly appear in homes to bite. And they get inside in large numbers.
So, people living in rural to semi-urban areas, ranches, and barns, notice a sudden appearance of horseflies in their homes.
Removing their breeding grounds is essential to control the horseflies on your property.
So, you’ll have to remove all the damp organic wastes and control water leakages in your yard or property to prevent them from laying eggs on your property.
Spraying insecticide sprays on their breeding grounds is also necessary to eliminate horseflies and their larvae.
Along with the horseflies, deerflies are also active in similar habitats. Deerflies are active in the wetlands, marshes, streams, and even near the water sources in your ranch or barn.
Mosquitoes In Florida
Florida mosquitoes have gone from bad to worse in the past few years. Today, as per the CDC, there are 80 species of mosquitoes in Florida. And 25% of these species are disease-carrying mosquitoes.
The worst part is that menacing mosquitoes like the Asian tiger mosquitoes and the yellow fever mosquitoes are now active in Florida, especially in the coastal regions and near the marshes.
These mosquitoes spread diseases like the West Nile virus, Chikungunya, yellow fever, dengue fever, and Zika virus.
However, there are no mosquito-borne diseases in Florida and the US.
Mosquitoes are a big problem in Florida homes with swimming pools, fountains, and ponds.
They lay their eggs in stagnant waters, which makes the situation worse.
Do not let water get stagnant in your Florida home. Ensure that there are tires, redundant pots, and containers in your yard holding water.
Also, remove overgrowing vegetation that you don’t need. And use mosquito dunks in your pond, swimming pool, and fountain to kill any mosquito larvae.
Black Flies In Florida
Black flies, also known as buffalo gnats, are tiny black flies that leave a nasty bite.
Black flies are tiny, growing only up to 1/16-1/18 inches in size, and are active in shaded areas like underneath trees and sheds in your home.
Black flies lay their eggs in the underwater objects in the shallow sections of the fast-flowing sections of rivers and streams.
So, these biting bugs are widespread near flowing water bodies. Campers, hikers, and people while fishing experience nasty bites from the black flies.
They’re also menacing in the hilly regions where they lurk and wait under the shaded areas.
Black flies will also feed on your blood. But they don’t spread any diseases.
However, their bites can cause intense itching, soreness, swelling, and rashes on the skin that can persist for days.
Bed Bugs In Florida
Florida’s ultimate nightmare bugs, the bed bugs, have skyrocketed in the past decade.
Cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Palm Coast are seeing a massive spike in bed bug infestation.
The worst part is that bed bugs are not seasonal pests. They’re active all year round.
So, no matter what season of the year is, bed bug infestation can occur without warning.
Bed bugs are tiny biting bugs that primarily survive on human blood. As their name suggests, these bugs hide mainly in bed.
But in case of bad bed bug infestation, bed bugs can hide in places like dresser drawers, carpets, rugs, and furniture.
As we all get back to normal and tourism in the state starts to grow, bed bug infestation in Florida is bound to get worse.
Bed bugs travel by hitchhiking onto people’s luggage, belongings, and clothing, especially when they come from a bed bug-infested home or a hotel room.
Bed bug infestation can be hard to detect when it’s low. It takes at least two months for the infestation to manifest.
So, if you ignore the subtle signs of bed bug infestation in your home, then the infestation can turn nasty.
Getting rid of a bad bed bug infestation is an expensive affair. It can easily cost you $1500 and up to eliminate a home-wide infestation.
However, you can get rid of bed bugs cheaply on your own if you spot the infestation when it’s low.
Our tips to prevent bed bug infestation –
- Do not introduce anything to your home from a bed bug-infested home.
- Before bringing them home, always check secondhand furniture like beds, carpets, and couches for bed bugs.
- Use a steam cleaner to regularly clean your soft furnishings like bed mattresses, rugs, carpets, and couches. Steam cleaner produces heat and kills bed bugs.
- Remain vigilant for the signs of bed bug infestation and eliminate them when the infestation is low.
- If you’ve bed bug infestation in your home, use bed bug repellents on your skin to prevent bed bug bites.
Fleas In Florida
As the bed bugs, fleas are active all year round in Florida.
And the primary carrier of fleas is pets. Your pets can bring fleas to your home.
However, wildlife like raccoons, opossums, and squirrels can also introduce fleas to your home. Fleas can also enter home by latching onto your luggage and clothes.
Another reason for fleas in Florida homes is abundant marshes with tall grasses. Fleas inhabit those places.
When you walk through thick vegetation surrounded by dampness, fleas will latch onto your clothing. And you bring them.
On the other hand, if your pet has fleas, then it can transfer those fleas to your bed, couches, and rugs.
When your pet sits on these places, flea eggs, pupae, and adult fleas will sometimes fall off their skin.
The result? A flea infestation in your home that you never thought of.
Once the fleas are off their primary hosts, mostly pets and other furry animals, fleas can survive on human blood.
That’s why fleas will hide in your bed, too, because it’s from there they’ll get their blood meals from you, which will keep them alive.
So, never ignore the signs of fleas in bed if your pet has fleas or you’re waking up with bite marks in your body.
Our tips on preventing flea infestation in your home –
- If your pet has fleas, don’t let it sit on your bed, couch, and rugs till you treat your pet.
- Never put clothes and luggage on your bed or couch after returning from outdoor activity.
- Get rid of overgrown bushes and shrubs in your yard. And do not overwater your yard or garden. Fleas thrive in these conditions.
- Always check your pet’s bed for fleas, flea eggs, and pupae.
Ticks In Florida
One of the nasty biting bugs in Florida is the ticks. Ticks are active in Florida in the spring and summer months.
Many people in Florida get tick bites when they’re engaged in outdoor activities during these warm and humid months.
Like fleas, ticks hide in damp and shady areas with dense bushes and tall grasses. They can hide in your yard or garden too. Ticks avoid dry places to hide.
Unmown lawns and overgrown bushes with weeds around in your yard can harbor ticks during the tick season too.
Here are the most common ticks in Florida –
Brown Dog Tick
The brown dog ticks are one of the most common ticks that can be right there in your outdoors.
These ticks latch onto primarily on dogs and feed on their blood.
When your dog has ticks latched onto its body, it can bring the tick home. The brown dog tick can bite humans too.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention categorized the brown dog tick as a carrier of a virus that can cause Rocky Mountain Fever.
The American Dog Tick
Like the brown dog tick, the American dog tick is also a dog parasite. But these ticks infect other mammals with fur like rodents.
It can also bite humans and carries the Rocky Mountain Fever virus.
The peak months for the American dog tick are from March to September. These ticks will overwinter and remain inactive during the late fall and winter months.
On top of causing the Rocky Mountain Fever, the American dog tick can also cause paralysis in dogs and children.
The American dog tick will attach itself to the spinal column of dogs. They’ll release a toxin that causes the paralytic effect.
However, experts say that the infected recover within 24 hours of removing the tick.
The Lone Star Tick
The lone star tick is the most widespread, human-biting tick in Florida.
The female lone star tick has a distinctive star-shaped light-colored dot on its back, making it easily recognizable.
The bite from the lone star tick causes the STARI disease (Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness) and ehrlichiosis disease.
This tick is active starting from April to August.
These ticks can’t survive in places that get direct sunlight. So, they hide in damp shady areas in the outdoors.
The Gulf Coast Tick
You should be worried about the gulf coast tick if you raise farm animals like cattle and pigs.
The gulf coast tick is common in Florida farms and many southeastern states. It looks like the American dog tick.
But they’ve got a bigger bite and draw more blood because they’ve more prominent mouthparts than the American dog ticks. Most of the time, the gulf coast tick will attach itself behind the ears of the mammals.
The gulf coast ticks are active from March to September. In humans, it transmits a mild Rocky Mountain Fever disease.
The Deer Tick
The deer tick is the only tick in the list active during the winter months. They remain active starting from September till early spring in May.
The deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick, carries the dreaded Lyme disease.
Deer ticks mostly bite large mammals like deer, but they can also bite humans.
Our tips on preventing ticks –
- Always wear tick repellents on your skin while outdoors.
- Do not keep your forearms and ankles exposed when you’re outdoors
- Do not keep your clothing or luggage on the bed or couch after returning from outdoor activities.
- Spray anti-tick spray-on luggage and wash your clothes with warm water
- Always keep your yard free from tall grasses and dense bushes
- Don’t let water stagnate in your yard or garden
- If your dog has been outdoors, immediately check for ticks in its fur or skin
- If a tick bites you, see a doctor asap.
Red Fire Ants In Florida
Florida has the most notorious fire ants known for their capability to bite and sting at the same time. And the ants are the red imported fire ants (RIFA).
The red imported fire ants are primarily outdoor pests. They’re dark reddish and grow between 2 mm to 6 mm in size.
Starting from the late spring, these ants are common in yards and grass lawns of Florida homes.
The infestation is visible by the ant mounds red fire ants create. The distinctive feature of the anthill they make is that they don’t have a crater or a hole at its tip.
The red fire ants are aggressive. When they feel their nests are under threat, or if you step on their mound, these ants will attack in massive swarms.
These ants bite and sting at the same time. And one red fire ant can bite and sting you multiple times.
The bites are itchy painful, and their sting causes a burning sensation.
They reproduce lightning fast. And if you don’t get rid of these fire ants, they’ll build a massive number of colonies in your yard.
These colonies can easily hold a million fire ants. And when their numbers increase, they’ll indeed look for other places to build their nests.
That’s the time when they can enter your home and inhabit your kitchen.
Pouring hot water on the red fire ant mounds will kill all the fire ants inside their colonies.
Take appropriate precautions by wearing shoes and tucking your pants inside the socks.
But if there’s a massive infestation of fire ants in your yard, it’s always best to hire a professional pest controller to eliminate them.
Mites In Florida
There are two types of mites in Florida that you should be careful of. These are the rat mites and bird mites.
Both rat mites and bird mites are parasites on their hosts, rats, and birds.
Rats and birds bring these mites home. If you raise chicken in your property or birds nesting in your property, then the bird mites can be a big problem.
The bird mites can fall from their nests and hide in your home.
On the other hand, rats that hide in your homes can introduce rat mites to your home. When you eliminate rats from your home by killing them, the dead rat can leave rat mites behind.
When both rat and bird mites don’t find their primary hosts in your home, they’ll target you.
Both these tiny mites will bite you to feed on your blood to stay alive.
The best part is that both these mites can’t survive indoors for long, and they can’t live off humans.
Neither do they transmit any diseases. But their bites are intensely itchy.
These mites are two of the microscopic bugs that bite. It’s pretty hard to spot them with a naked eye.
You’ll need at least a strong magnifying glass to see them.
Our tips on preventing mite bites –
- Don’t let birds nest on your property.
- If you’re raising fowls or chicken, ensure they’re free from mites.
- If you just removed rats from your property, do a thorough cleaning with a disinfectant where the rats’ hiding place.
Chiggers In Florida
Chiggers in Florida are active starting from the spring till late summer. But in the south of Florida and the panhandle region of Florida, chiggers are active all year round.
Chiggers are microscopic larvae of harvest mites.
And you bring chiggers home from the outdoors. Outdoors chiggers live in damp areas with heavy and thick vegetation.
So, they can be present in your lawn, dense shrubs, and bushes in your yard too.
Like fleas and ticks, chiggers can also latch onto your clothing when you’re outdoors. And they mostly stick to the places where your dress is tight.
So, chiggers will latch onto the clothing of your waist, socks, and sleeves. They’ll wait till they get access to your skin.
Hence chigger bites are primarily on the feet, ankle, and waist area.
They’ve got sharp mouthparts which they insert into your skin.
After inserting, they’ll inject a fluid that dissolves the skin’s tissue. Chigger will then feed on the liquified skin tissue.
Chigger bites take time to show up. And the bite wounds are intensely itchy.
The bite wounds from chigger bites look like spots of itchy red welts on the skin.
Contrary to popular opinion, chiggers don’t feed on human blood. And they don’t hide inside your skin either.
Many people make the mistake of vigorously scratching the red welts hoping to bring out the hidden chigger.
Itching repeatedly the bitten portion will cause ruptures on the skin and can cause secondary skin infection.
Apply some clove essential oils on the bitten wound. It’ll instantly soothe the itchiness.
Our tips on preventing chiggers –
- Always wear a DEET based insect repellant on your skin while outdoors
- Take a shower with warm water and body wash after coming from outdoors
- Don’t mix the clothes with the other clothes after returning from outdoors. Wash them immediately
Spiders In Florida
Spiders in Florida homes aren’t a common occurrence. But many outdoor spiders can sneak inside homes during the peak of the summer.
When the temperature outdoors gets too hot, spiders will look for a milder place to hide.
In that case, they’ll sneak inside the home.
Both the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider can take refuge in your Florida, only if they’re hiding in your yard or garden.
Both these spiders are venomous and can bite you if they feel threatened. However, spiders are shy, and they avoid human contact.
Spiders will hide inside your home in cluttered places that get less natural light.
So, basements, attics, and storage rooms full of cardboard boxes and junk are their preferred hiding places.
But if your bedroom is cluttered, then spiders are also a high possibility.
Our tips on keeping spiders away –
- Seal the gaps and cracks on your home’s walls, windows, and doors.
- Remove clutter, especially cardboard boxes, from the spiders’ hiding places
- Use peppermint sprays around your home’s perimeter. Spiders hate that smell.
Caution: Spiders aren’t aggressive, and they won’t bite you even if spiders are hiding in your home. However, spiders can bite you if you try to handle them or if they get pressed against your skin.
House Ants In Florida Homes
There are many species of ants in Florida that invade homes. Grease ants, carpenter ants, and pharaoh ants are a few.
All these ants are categorized as house ants because they infest human dwellings.
Their target is your kitchen because it’s damp and their primary food source. But ants can spread far and deep inside your home, even in your bedroom, if the infestation levels increase.
The best part is that these ants aren’t as aggressive as the red fire ants. But they can bite.
The best way to keep these ants away are –
- Keep your yard free of ants as these ants enter homes from outdoors.
- Keep your kitchen clean. Food wastes attract these ants.
- Use sprays like peppermint spray to keep these ants away. Ants also hate the peppermint smell.
- Do not let cracks develop in your home’s floors, walls, and furniture. These can be nesting grounds for house ants.
Sea Lice In Florida Beaches
Over the years, sea lice in Florida’s beaches have increased. And many beachgoers suffer from itchy skin rashes on their bodies after a swim in the sea.
Sea lice are the larvae of jellyfish. When these tiny larvae get trapped in the bathing suits, they secrete matter that causes itching and red bumps on the skin.
These skin rashes appear within 10-12 hours after the swim. When sea lice bite you, you might feel a slight pinch on your skin while you’re in the water.
But sea lice are harmless. They don’t cause any diseases, but the bites cause itchy red welts.
Applying lavender or eucalyptus essential oil on the bitten area soothes the itching and helps reducing the skin rashes.
The peak season for sea lice is from April to late July on the Florida beaches.
According to the Florida Department of Health, wearing sunscreens before going for a swim in the sea will prevent sea lice from biting you.
Those sunscreens create a protective barrier on your skin which prevents the secretion of sea lice from touching your skin.
The 13 common biting bugs in Florida are –
- Biting midges
- Black flies
- Bed bugs
- Red fire ants
- House Ants
- Sea Lice
This guide has the seasons when they’re active, how they can infest your home, and what to do to prevent bites from these bugs.
But wait. Do you think these are the only biting bugs in Florida? Well, these bugs are crawlers.
There are biting and stinging bugs that fly. Check out our guide on biting flies in Florida to know more about them.