Whether you find bugs fascinating or grow squeamish at the mere mention of them, Florida undeniably has a lot of them due to its warm, humid climate. Most won’t harm you, but you should do your best to avoid or exercise caution around some species. These are a few dangerous insects to watch out for in summer.
Ticks aren’t technically insects—they’re arachnids, just like spiders and scorpions. Nomenclature aside, they’re definitely not pleasant critters to run into. They’ll sneakily latch onto you when you walk through areas with a lot of tree and/or grass cover, where they can lie in wait. Once they’ve bitten you, they can transfer ailments such as Lyme disease, which can give you a rash and leave you with flu-like symptoms. You can use repellent spray and tuck your pant legs into boots to ward off ticks.
Red Fire Ants
Many long-time Florida residents are familiar with fire ants. They’re easy to identify because they have a brighter, reddish-brown coloration that sets them apart from other ant species. Fire ants are dangerous insects you should watch out for in the summer—they’re easily provoked, and their bites contain a painful venom. The bites burn and swell up, and the ants aren’t keen to let go once they start attacking, either. Steer clear of anthills so that you don’t incur their wrath by accidentally stepping on them.
Africanized bees, or killer bees, are the result of hybridization between the European honeybees found all over the U.S. and the African honeybees that were originally introduced in Brazil due to their higher tolerance for warm temperatures. Africanized bees are much more aggressive than other honeybees, attacking in greater numbers than other bees. They have spread through many southern and southwestern states, including Florida. Appearance-wise, they’re slightly smaller than other bees, but it’s hard to tell the difference at a glance. Avoid attracting bees by cleaning up food you eat outside and fully closing your garbage containers. Wearing lighter colors so that you don’t resemble a predator may also help; many animals such as bears are brown or black.
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