Florida may be known as the Sunshine State, and it’s a wonderful place to live or travel – but it’s also got more than its fair share of critters, which can be the bane of the lives of visitors and residents alike.
To help you learn about some of the pests you might encounter there – and which ones to be most wary of – in the post, we have all the info you need about tiny black bugs in Florida.
Tiny Black Bugs in Florida
Perhaps the most infamous of all Florida bugs are lovebugs, black and red flying bugs that emerge in their millions every May and September – and sometimes in December too in some southern parts of the state.
They get their name from the way they pair off to breed – when they find a mate, they join together tail to tail and stay attached, even in flight.
They are particularly irritating to drivers since thousands of them end up splattered over the front of cars and are difficult to clean off. They are also slightly acidic, so if you don’t clean them off quickly, they can damage the paintwork of your vehicle.
However, they pose no threat to humans since they don’t bite and carry no diseases.
If you live in Florida, there’s very little you can do about love bugs since during their mating season, they appear in prodigious numbers – so all Florida residents can do is get used to them.
2. Fungus gnats
Fungus gnats are tiny flies that tend to buzz around windows and are attracted to potted plants with moist soil that aren’t properly drained. There are many species of such gnats, and they are common throughout much of the US, including in Florida.
They lay their eggs in the soil of overwatered plants, and they eat mold that grows on it, hence the name. The best way to eradicate these pests is to make sure your plants are properly drained and not constantly wet – and this will cause the gnats to disappear.
3. Fruit flies
Fruit flies are another type of common flying pest that are common throughout the US, including Florida. They lay their eggs in overripe fruit, and you will often see these tiny black bugs buzzing around any fruit that you leave out for too long.
Again, as with fungus gnats, the best way to rid yourself of them is to remove their favorite food source – because if you don’t leave out fruit to attract them, they won’t have anywhere to breed, and new flies won’t be attracted to your home.
4. Drain flies
Drain flies are one more species of tiny black fly that is common throughout most of the country, and you’re most likely to find them in your bathroom buzzing around your shower.
They look a little like tiny moths and lay their eggs in decomposing organic matter.
They often find this organic matter in drainpipes, which is why they are most commonly encountered in bathrooms.
Drain flies can be an indication that a blockage is developing in the pipe below your shower, but they can also make their way up from the sewer if that’s where they’re breeding.
The first thing to do if you have a problem with drain flies is to clean your shower drain. They could be breeding just below the drain hole, in which case, clearing out the crud and muck will help solve the problem.
However, a blockage could also be forming further down, in which case, you might need to use a plumber’s snake to dislodge it.
5. Biting midges
Of the irritating black flies we’ve mentioned so far, biting midges are the only ones that bite humans, which makes them more of an annoyance than ones that just buzz around in your home.
The term “biting midge” isn’t a scientific one and refers to many species of tiny black biting flies, some of which are prevalent in parts of Florida, especially in coastal areas.
One of their common names is no-see-ums due to their diminutive size, and often you won’t realize one has bitten you until you notice the red marks and itchiness their bites cause.
They are most active around sunrise and sunset, so if you’re outside at those times – and especially if you’re anywhere near water – it’s advisable to use insect repellent to prevent them from making a meal of your blood.
They’re also attracted to electric lights, so this is something that might also draw them in to feed on you if you’re sitting outside in the evening.
However, biting midges don’t carry any diseases, so you don’t need to worry about them making you ill, unlike the next entry on our list.
Everyone knows what mosquitoes are like, and it’s fair to say that almost every person alive hates them. However, unfortunately for Floridians, mosquitoes love the Sunshine State, making it probably the worst place for them in the entire US.
In many ways, Florida provides the ideal conditions for mosquitoes to flourish, especially with its hot, humid climate and with plenty of standing water that mosquitoes need to breed.
Even worse, several of the species of mosquito present in Florida are capable of transmitting some nasty diseases when they bite you, including zika virus, West Nile virus, encephalitis, Chikungunya virus, dengue fever and others.
To help minimize mosquitoes’ opportunities to breed, it’s important to drain or remove pools of standing water.
At the same time, you should install mosquito nets on windows to prevent them from flying into your house at night, and if you are outside especially at dawn or dusk when they feed, you should apply insect repellent to stop them biting you.
One of the most annoying pests that can invade your home in Florida is the weevil.
These small black bugs of about 0.1 inches in length can be identified by their long snouts. They love to make their way straight to your pantry, where they will feast on whatever grains, flour and other foods they can find there.
They are often present in grain stores, either as adults, eggs or larvae, and you can inadvertently bring them back home and place them right next to the rest of your food when you put what you’ve just bought in your pantry.
Even worse, these bugs can easily chew through paper or plastic packaging, so even unopened food isn’t safe, and once you have an infestation, it can be difficult to resolve.
Often, the only thing you can do is throw out all your infected food and start again.
To prevent weevils from moving in and ruining your food stores, make sure you keep all food in sealed plastic containers that weevils can’t penetrate – and also check new food carefully for weevils before you place it in your pantry.
8. Flour beetles
At 0.1 to 0.15 inches, flour beetles are bigger than weevils, and they don’t have the same long snout – but otherwise, they behave in the same way, often arriving with food bought from a store and then infesting grains, flour, bread and whatever other foods they can find.
As with weevils, all you can do is throw out the infected food – which may contain live beetles, dead insects and even their droppings – and then take extra care with food storage in future to prevent them from returning.
9. Black carpet beetles
Something else that can infest your food stores but that is also a specialist in devouring all kinds of natural and semi-natural fabrics is the black carpet beetle.
Once they enter your home, they lay their eggs in your carpet as well as anywhere else there’s a source of food, and when the larvae emerge, they begin devouring everything they can find with a voracious appetite.
Adults are small black bugs of around 0.1 to 0.2 inches in length while the larvae look more like black or slightly brown worms, but you might notice the damage the larvae do to your fabrics before you notice the invaders themselves.
You can prevent them from taking up residence by vacuuming regularly and keeping doors and windows closed. Vacuuming can also help after they’ve become established in your home, as can steam-treating carpets.
You should also check anywhere you store clothes or other fabrics since they might be happily eating away on things in closets you rarely open without you even realizing.
10. Sugar ants
There are plenty of ant species in Florida, but among those that will commonly invade homes is the sugar ant.
This tiny black bug is so called because it is drawn to sweet foods and spillages of anything like sodas. Then when it finds them, hundreds of these creatures will march into your home as they set out on a huge expedition to collect the food and take it back to their nest.
The problem with ant infestations is that if you kill the workers but not the queen, more workers will replace those you exterminated as the queen just keeps laying eggs.
The best way to deal with these bugs is not to attract them in the first place, so make sure you clean up all spills promptly and don’t leave foods like sugar out or uncovered.
However, to destroy a nest, you need to kill the queen, and methods like DIY bait made from borax and honey or spreading corn starch on the nest may produce good results.
11. Carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are possibly worse than sugar ants since they are bigger and can cause structural damage by boring into the wooden parts of your home. They do this to build nests in wood, but they don’t eat wood, unlike termites.
They are brown or black in color, and they prefer to nest in wet or decaying wood. This means you can prevent infestations by ensuring no suitable wood is found in or around your home.
If they do infest your house, you can attempt to kill them in the same ways as you would for sugar ants using borax bait traps or corn starch powder.
Fleas are tiny brown or almost black jumping insects that hitch a ride on our pets, making a meal of their blood as they do so.
Once fleas start breeding on your animals and in your house, it can take several months of concerted efforts to eradicate them all, so if you spot even one, you should take action immediately.
This will include washing your pets with flea shampoo, fitting them with flea collars or giving them anti-flea medication. You will also need to wash all animal and human bedding frequently and vacuum your house thoroughly and frequently until the infestation is resolved.
13. Water bugs
Water bugs are what Floridians call oriental cockroaches, and they can grow to about an inch in length. They are brown or almost black, and they will be attracted to your home by dark, moist areas and the availability of food – which for them, can be almost anything.
They are also incredibly difficult to evict once they move in, so it’s best to make sure you don’t provide an inviting environment for them in the first place.
Ticks are among the most dangerous bugs on our list since they can carry serious diseases such as Lyme disease.
They normally attach themselves to pets or people who walk in long grass, and they then find a appetizing spot on the skin where they can sink in their jaws and enjoy a blood meal that causes them to swell to several times their original size.
Ticks are small brown or black bugs with eight legs that swell up in a bulbous shape when they feed. If you find one on your skin, you shouldn’t pull it off since its jaws may remain in your skin and cause an infection.
Instead, let it finish feeding and drop off naturally – or better, twist it off with a dedicated tick-removal tool.
Plenty of bugs – but mostly harmless
As we’ve seen, there’s no shortage of tiny black bugs in Florida, but thankfully, most of them are annoying rather than dangerous.
However, there are still one or two you need to be careful about, and with this guide, now you know which ones to avoid.