Tampa is a great place to live and visit—and that’s true, in part, because of the city’s pleasantly temperate climate. The same climate that makes Tampa so enjoyable for people, though, attracts a wide range of pests. In fact, this kind of weather can be considered a pest magnet.
Fortunately, there are effective pest control techniques and, in this comprehensive guide, we’ll share information about common insects in Florida, the problems they can cause for your family—and how you can respond to these pest-related challenges.
This Tampa pest control guide will go in depth. So, if you have questions about a specific kind of pest, you can skip to the appropriate header. Or, if you’re in need of Tampa pest control services now, just contact us online or call (813) 565-7333.
“‘Probably, most ships of the 17th century and before harbored bed bugs, and the colonists and their belongings brought them to America,’ said Robert Snetsinger, a professor emeritus of entomology at Penn State University.” (History.com-archived page)
After the “advent of the railroad,” the bed bug population spread, including to “rundown hotels near train stations.” This, in turn, led to these blood-sucking critters finding their way to people’s homes. People tried to kill them through numerous methods, from smoking them out to the use of cyanide. The latter strategy, unfortunately, led to “numerous human deaths” as the bugs spread throughout the country.
Bed bugs find crafty ways to enter Tampa homes, including on the luggage brought in by guests and the clothes that people wear. To help prevent carrying them in yourself after a trip, inspect your suitcases and travel bags for bed bugs and wash towels and linens in hot water. Also, take a close look at second-hand items you buy from rummage sales and thrift stores. Mattresses, furniture, clothing, and more could have bed bugs tagging along for the ride.
Once bed bugs gain entry into a home, they settle in, often in places where people spend plenty of time. As their name suggests, they can slither into small cracks in bed frames, thanks to their thin, flat bodies. They also get comfortable in bed frames and joints of other pieces of furniture, as well as in baseboards, behind loose wallpaper, and more.
These pests thrive in a range of temperatures, adapting well to a broad range of human living conditions. (Unfortunately, the cleanliness of a home doesn’t prevent them from coming inside.)
You may not be able to see them in your Tampa home. That’s because they’re tiny, not much bigger than an apple seed. (They may be slightly easier to spot after they feast on blood because they can become a bit bloated.) As for their eggs, they’re downright miniscule.
Reddish-brown in color, they can be confused with other pests; so, even if you see some, it may not be clear whether this is a bed bug infestation or something else entirely.
For many people, it’s more common to spot signs of bed bugs, rather than the insects themselves. Signs can include the following:
The reality is that bed bugs have become more common in our country and, although they rely upon blood from a host to survive, they can go for months without imbibing any. Plus, they can travel more than 100 feet in a night’s time, looking for a new source of food (meaning, blood).
DIY bed bug treatments, unfortunately, are seldom effective. So, if you suspect or know you have a bed bug infestation, the team at Turner Pest Control offers the latest in technology: Thermal Remediation®. This is a safe and effective alternative to chemical fumigation.
You can find more information about our Tampa bed bug treatments.
“Fifty-two billion people—almost half of the cumulative human population—are thought to have perished at the hands of a creature no bigger than a fingernail: the mosquito . . . historian Timothy Winegard exposes this insect as not merely an itchy pest, but a force of nature that has dictated the outcome of significant events throughout human history. From ancient Athens to World War II, Winegard highlights key moments when mosquito-borne diseases caused militaries to crumble, great leaders to fall ill, and populations to be left vulnerable to invasion.” (Smithsonian Magazine)
The good news is that medical advances have come a long way in treating people who become ill—and yet, mosquitoes are still carriers of serious diseases: dengue fever, malaria, West Nile fever, the Zika virus, and more.
These buzzing pests can quickly spread disease and, in the state of Florida, there are more than 80 types of them. To help protect your family and rgw guests who visit you, it makes sense to reduce mosquito breeding grounds on your property—and, when possible, to eliminate them.
This can include getting rid of or appropriately managing standing water, such as what’s found in bird baths, watering cans, flower pots, old kiddie pools, and more. Fix leaky pipes and faucets, empty water out of old flower vases, dry trays beneath indoor plants, and more. Also, flush toilets regularly because mosquitoes are savvy enough to breed inside of them.
Best practices involve proactively protecting your Tampa property during the mosquito season. In some ways, though, that’s all year long in our city because of our weather, with a stronger emphasis on preventative actions from spring through fall. As part of this practice, check your home for potential entry points for those tiny mosquitoes and address them. If some do get inside, place net canopies over baby cribs and the beds of young children.
When possible, stay indoors at dawn and dusk and protect yourself well when you do go outside. Besides using appropriate mosquito repellants, cover up well by wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts.
Comprehensive Tampa mosquito control treatments by Turner Pest Control can attack these disease-carrying pests throughout their life cycle—from the egg stage to adulthood—through our fast-acting, long-lasting, ultra-low volume treatments.
National Geographic shared a report that somewhat salvaged the reputation of the rat, noting how they may not have been the culprit in the horrific Black Death plague that wiped out a third of Europeans during medieval times. That said, “In cases of plague since the late 1800s—including an outbreak in Madagascar in 2017—rats and other rodents helped spread the disease. If Y. pestis infects rats, the bacterium can pass to fleas that drink the rodents’ blood. When a plague-stricken rat dies, its parasites abandon the corpse and may go on to bite humans.”
There are more than 70 species of rats and mice in North America and they spread more than 35 different diseases, including the plague. Other serious diseases that can be caught directly from rodents include, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, rat-bite fever and more. There are additional diseases that are spread by rodents, this time indirectly: lyme disease, encephalitis, Colorado tick fever, typhus and more.
Rats and mice can wreak havoc in other ways, too, chewing through wires in your Tampa home, creating a potential for fire. They can also gnaw on other parts of the house, damaging its structural integrity.
Rodent infestation signs include:
Strategies to help keep rodents out of your home include these:
If you find rodent droppings, be aware that they can carry pathogens, spreading disease. At a minimum, they can trigger allergies and asthma. So, when cleaning up feces and urine, wear gloves, a mask, and goggles.
Even if the population in your Tampa home is initially small, rodents breed quickly and the infestation can quickly grow out of control. Here’s how it can work:
So, the cycle can repeat itself, over and over again. To help, here are our Tampa rodent control services.
“Termite colonies, which can include thousands of individuals, often live in large dirt mounds. When a female termite hits breeding age, she may emerge from her colony and find a mate. The pair then creates a burrow in the ground and the female (called a queen) begins to produce eggs—a lot of them. In fact, this female generates around 30,000 eggs a day! Once her offspring hatch, they become part of her colony.” (National Geographic)
You may have heard that termites can eat through concrete. That, fortunately, is not true, but they can slip into Tampa homes in foundation cracks as tiny as 1/32 of an inch. They also get inside by above-slab patios and room additions where soil levels can often be used as termite on-ramps. They can also slip inside along plumbing entry points, being very savvy creatures in this way.
More than 20 species live in Florida, with these three being among the most common:
Termites eat around the clock, non-stop, and create billions of dollars in damage every year in the United States. One single large colony can threaten the integrity of a home.
Termite control isn’t something that Tampa homeowners should DIY. So, we offer three levels of professional termite services and can discuss which is best for your home and needs:
We take a preventative approach with our Tampa termite control treatments, using a soil treatment rather than a bait system. This can exterminate termites before they can ever enter your home, a method that works ten times faster than bait.
One American Psychological Association report shows how “Green is good for you,” including in regards to a person’s “mental functioning, social relationships, and even physical well-being.”
Other things to look out for in your yard are:
“In the late 1930s, a small but threatening invader arrived in the United States: the Argentine fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) . . . Over the next 20 years, S. invicta spread throughout the South, inflicting painful stings, building large nests, and generally annoying human populations.” (University of California, Berkeley)
The state of Florida is a home of choice for fire ants, an insect that can clamp down their jaws on someone without cause and then inject them with venom. In some people, this can lead to serious reactions. Problems can be the most severe in the summertime when fire ants have stored up more venom. They can then sting someone multiple times, averaging three.
Just one colony of these stinging insects in Tampa can contain half a million members, so you do the math. To protect your family, you can request our highly effective annual treatment. Or, for extra savings, bundle this treatment with your lawn care services.
“Mole hills and tunnels can do significant damage to your lawn, creating tripping hazards and leaving grass roots exposed, which can kill the grass . . . A number of products and folk remedies supposedly get rid of moles, but unfortunately the results are inconsistent at best.” (HomeGuides)
Moles burrow deeply to look for food, typically at least ten inches into the soil, leaving hills shaped like volcanos behind. They also dig tunnels that are closer to the surface, creating ridges in the ground.
You can’t stop moles from coming to your neighborhood in search of earthworms and insects, but there are ways to apply bait to their tracks to address the problem. First, though, we’ll make sure they’re moles. These are small creatures, only a few ounces in weight. Their bodies are shaped like potatoes and their eyes are tiny, hard to see because of their fur. Unusual features include pointy, hairless muzzles and the lack of external ears. The front feet are big with webbed toes. The back ones are more narrow.
Need this as part of your lawn care services? Just let us know!
This is another creature that digs up soil, but they also can carry dangerous diseases. According to Science Daily, armadillos have transmitted Hansen’s disease, a chronic illness also known as leprosy, to people. One study done in the Brazilian Amazon focused on nine-banded armadillos, and 62 percent of them were infected.
Leprosy transmission has occurred in the southern part of the United States, which brings the problem close to home. In response, the CDC makes the following recommendation: “For general health reasons, avoid contact with armadillos whenever possible. If you had contact with an armadillo and are worried about getting Hansen’s disease, talk to your healthcare provider.”
Our armadillo control services can treat burrows to get the animals to leave—and stay away.
You can add each of these services—fire ant treatments, mole removal, and armadillo removal—to the lawn beautification we provide for your Tampa home, year-round. This includes comprehensive bi-monthly visits to fertilize your lawn, along with weed management, fungus management, and turf optimization.
To create a plan for your yard, trained technicians will perform the following three steps for your lawn care:
Here’s more information about Tampa residential pest control services. We also offer a comprehensive, one-stop program to protect your home: SMART TurnerGuard Termite and Pest Control. With this program, you can count on receiving total protection with no excluded pests.
SMART TurnerGuard provides the most coverage in the pest control industry. You receive all-in-one protection for a broad range of pests, from ants and bed bugs to roaches, snakes, termites, and more. In fact, with SMART TurnerGuard, you’ll never need to pay for another termite treatment again.
You’ll pay an affordable monthly fee that’s based on the size of your Tampa home, ensuring that you won’t pay more than what’s necessary. There are no hidden costs in this comprehensive pest control plan and no fine-print exclusions.
To help during the challenging days of COVID-19, we have added a new service: TurnerClean Disinfection Misting. When you select this service for your Tampa home, we’ll use a safe, broad-spectrum disinfectant (Nisus DSV). The EPA has determined that Nisus DSV is effective against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. This disinfectant is included in the biosecurity guides of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, used by governments globally for emergency disease control.
We’ll quickly provide powerful virus protection in your Tampa home, including bathrooms, home offices, kitchens, living areas, and places where surfaces are frequently touched. After the disinfectant is applied, please stay out of your Tampa home for two hours to allow for complete drying and maximum impact.
Any home or business can be infested by pests such as bed bugs, beetles, or drywood termites. When the infestation is severe, fumigation can solve the problem. Turner offers whole structure fumigation to our residential and commercial customers in the Tampa Bay area, with experts who will guide you through the process from start to finish. Estimates and initial inspections are free and there’s no obligation.
We hope our Tampa pest control guide was helpful!
Our options are simple yet flexible, basing services on square footage. That way, smaller homes typically have more affordable plans. We also strategically prioritize our services, addressing immediate challenges first and then putting a strong focus on keeping your Tampa home free from pests.
“The Turner Pest technician was extremely knowledgeable! He did an outstanding job!”
“Great customer service from all areas of service. Thank you for being exceptional and getting the job done!”
In our pest control in Tampa, Turner Pest Control stands behind:
Our company was founded in 1971 and the focus on serving our communities has never changed. Sure technologies have improved. Yes, we’ve grown. But our focus on serving our customers has never wavered.
Ranked as one of today’s top 100 pest control companies in the United States, we’re one of the fastest-growing companies in Florida. Plus, we’re a QualityPro Certified company, a designation granted to fewer than three percent of our country’s pest control providers.
With Turner Pest Control, you can count on:
No complicated contracts. No cancellation fees.
We’re proud to serve you. If you have any concerns in between your regularly scheduled services, we will gladly return for unlimited service calls, at no additional cost to you.