One thing for sure: Florida has no lack of insects. They crawl, swim, fly, and burrow. Some are bright and colorful and make us smile. Others, not so much.
Since Florida rarely chills down, insects are everywhere. Most are beneficial, but biting insects can make you sick.
This is our slowly-evolving guide to the insects that we see when we spend time outdoors.
What are Insects?
Insects have three body segments and six legs. They often have wings. Bees, beetles, butterflies, flies, and mosquitoes are all insects, along with millions of other tiny creatures with no spines (invertebrates).
Although spiders, scorpions, and ticks are not insects, we discuss them here because “insect repellent” affects them all, and a lot of people assume they are insects. What’s the difference?
Arachnids have two body segments and eight legs. They never have wings.
Biting Insects in Florida
With the amount of time we spend outdoors, we constantly have to deal with biting insects. These types of insects are the most problematic, so we’ve tackled descriptions of them first.
Let’s face it: Florida is a breeding ground for ticks, and summer is prime time for these nasties. Here’s what you can do to minimize tick bites and how to handle if you do get bitten.
There are many other types of insects in Florida that are beneficial for pollination, composting, and being a part of the food chain.
We don’t stop often to take insect photos – except of butterflies, of course – but as we do, we’ll add them to this guide.
Articles about Insects
Dig through additional articles that we’ve written about insects and arachnids, which includes how to repel the ones you don’t want around you.
A botanically-based natural mosquito repellent that doesn’t touch your skin, Aringel offers a different way to protect yourself against flying insects in Florida.
A mosquito-borne disease, Chikungunya fever was first identified in 1952 in Tanzania. In recent years it has spread prolifically throughout the Caribbean. It has no known cure, and it is now present in Florida.
Insect Identification Tools
Use these websites to learn more about insects and arachnids in Florida
UF Insect ID Lab
The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is a fabulous resource for researching both common and unusual insects and arachnids. Dig into their database here.
Florida Museum of Natural History
At the Florida Museum, the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity focuses on one important segment of the insect population: butterflies and moths. Their image gallery includes species from around the world.