Residents of the Sunshine State recently got good news after it was announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture allocated more than $3 million in funding to support a wide range of plant health activities in Florida.
This is a real boost for the state’s annual economy and for Florida pest management. It’s estimated that more than $132 billion annually is generated by Florida’s agribusinesses and agricultural operations.
The other big news out of the recent announcement, per USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach, is that $3.7 million will go toward dealing with pests. In fact, the money will go toward pest surveillance and detection, as well as threat mitigation. Ultimately, the money will help provide a safeguard for the nursery production system in the United States.
“Florida has about 47,000 farms and its agriculture and agribusiness contribute more than $132 billion to the state’s economy. Protecting Florida’s agricultural industry is critical,” Ibach told Florida Trend. “These projects will help Florida protect its resources and contribute to USDA’s mission of keeping our nation’s agricultural economy strong.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) received more than $4.1 million in funding, which will fund projects such as:
- $1 million to survey for invasive fruit flies.
- $372,188 to support National Clean Plant Network.
- $175,659 for biological control efforts against the cactus moth.
- $890,794 for giant African land snail eradication.
- $153,996 to evaluate and establish Brazilian peppertree biological control.
- $1.4 million for high-risk pest rapid response and detector dog program.
This is welcome news because it means the state is serious when it comes to pest control. The home and garden pest control sector in the United States is growing by 3% each year and it’s not hard to see why. Between dealing with termites, rodents, and other pests, Floridians and, by extension, all Americans, are constantly dealing with pests and doing everything they can to keep them from destroying home gardens as well as vital crops.
Because of its unique geography and climate, agriculture in Florida is susceptible to a wide range of pests and diseases. The recent news is great for Florida because it ensures that its natural beauty is protected, its agribusinesses keep humming along, and reaffirms the state’s commitment to Florida pest management.
The news means plenty of good things for Florida, and it also serves as a good reminder to do what you can to control pests and insects at home. There are a number of things you can and should do for Florida pest management:
Meeting A Problem Head-On
For many homeowners, the need for the expert hand of pest control services starts simply enough. Maybe it’s a sticky residue on plant leaves or on the floor. Maybe it’s the absence of missing vegetables from the garden. Once you notice a problem, be sure to act right away.
Sticky substances on houseplants, as well as bumps on stems and leaves, likely mean that insects have moved in to your home. Not only can those insects affect the health of your plants, but they can spread in your home, leaving you with a problem to deal with. Anyone who’s battled insects or other pests knows well that they can be difficult to deal with.
So what can you do? Aside from enlisting the help of commercial pest control professionals, one of the best things you can do is to educate yourself.
Learn All You Can
If you’ve got a bug problem in your home, particularly with houseplants, you need to learn about what you’re up against as well as different kinds of Florida pest management. Scale insects, like the ones who end up on houseplants, are able to pierce through the surfaces of stems and leaves to suck sap out of plants. As they feed, they secrete a clear, sticky substance called honeydew, which is what ends up on your plants, plant pots, or even your floor.
What necessities the need for experienced exterminators, is that adult scale insects can form coverings that are very effective in protecting them from chemicals as well as the environment. Under this protection, eggs can hatch and newly hatched scale insects will go looking for places to feed.
By identifying and isolating plants that have been affected by scale insects, you can reduce the risk of them spreading around your home and property.
Thankfully, you can remove adult scale insects with some everyday household items. If you’ve got an old toothbrush, tweezers, or even toothpicks, you can remove insects from the affected plants. If you monitor the plants every few weeks, you should be able to bring your problem under control.
In addition to cleaning your plants, you’ll want to make sure to clean the area around the plants. That means cleaning any plant stands, saucers, the area of the floor around the plant, as well as the plant pot itself. There’s a lot of joy to be had in planting, watching plants grow, and maintaining plants. By learning about different pests and staying observant, you’ll be able to keep your plants clean and free to grow to full maturity.
Tips For Pest Control
There are plenty of great reasons to live in Florida, especially for the weather and being by the water. But when it comes to Florida pest management, there are many simple things you can do to keep your home bug and pest free:
Clean Your Home
One of the best tips for residential pest control is simple: keep your house clean. Not only will you feel great about having a clean home, you’ll be keeping out the critters too.
Really, any kind of cleaning is effective. Wipe down surfaces after preparing food, keep trash bags sealed tight, and keep any containers—food or otherwise—well-sealed. Vacuuming on a regular basis is important too. Even the smallest crumbs can attract bugs and you don’t want a bug or pest problem spiraling out of control, especially if it’s not immediately obvious you’ve got a problem.
You might think it’s a little excessive to clean your home frequently—perhaps every day—but the cleaning pays off in the long run. By vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, picking things up, and taking other steps, you’ll keep your home clean and give pests no reason to enter your home. By doing this, you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way.
Check Your Faucets
Another good tip for Florida pest management is to check your faucets for any leaks or drips. Why do you need to do this? The answer is simple: bugs like water. They especially like fresh water. If you’ve got a leaky faucet somewhere in your home, odds are pretty good that you’re going to find cockroaches near by. By keeping your bathroom dry, sealing leaks, and getting rid of any excess water, i.e. puddles, you’ll keep your home pest free and bug free.
Put Up Screens
Another set of useful tools for Florida pest management are screens on all of your doors. This is especially important if you’ve got a patio and people are always coming and going on good weather days. You may not automatically realize it, but screen doors can work magic. Screens on windows and doors mean that you can open your windows to feel the breeze on a gorgeous day, and most importantly, you can keep the pests out.
Keep Some Distance Between Plants And Windows
For some folks, there’s nothing more relaxing or therapeutic than gardening. There’s nothing better than seeing plants, vegetables, and other things grow after you’ve taken time to plant them and tend to them. But as any avid gardener knows, foliage invites pests. Most folks will tell you that bugs and other critters are fine outside, but once they get into plants, then they become a problem.
The main thing you should take from all this is that if you have outside plants, keep them a decent distance away from your windows. Positioning them too close can practically invite pests into your home. A good example of this is if you have a potted plant in your kitchen window. It adds a certain something to your kitchen, but if you’ve got leaves hanging out the window, clip them and move the plant somewhere else.
Check Your Foundation
If you have an older home, it’s a good idea to check your home’s foundation. This is an important Florida pest management tip because an aging foundation could be the source of a lot of problems. You may find sizable gaps in foundation walls, which can be perfect entry points for things to come in.
However, fixing the problem is simple. You can seal your foundation walls using liquid cement and you can get a caulking gun to seal cracks around windows and doors. These steps will serve two important purposes: you’ll keep pests away, but, perhaps more importantly, you’ll be strengthening your home’s foundation and protecting it against bugs, weather, and other elements.
Call The Pros
There are many simple tips you can use for Florida pest management in your home. But sometimes bug and rodent problems are too big to handle alone. That’s when it’s time to call local professionals in your area.
If you need to eliminate bed bugs, a local bed bug control service can come in and use several effective methods to rid your home of the pesky bugs. If you have a dead tree in your yard, call a tree removal service to come and remove it. Once that’s done, you can plant a new tree nearby. It will obviously take some time to grow, but eventually, a big, beautiful tree will replace the one that was removed.
If you’re dealing with rats, mice, or other rodents, don’t hesitate to call rodent removal services. It’s often the case that you can hear rodents moving throughout your house, but you may not be able to see them. This can prove frustrating if you see evidence of chewed up towels or toilet paper in your cabinets—along with droppings—and you can’t find the furry culprit. With rodent removal services working for you, rodents won’t be a problem anymore and you might get some tips on how to keep them out in the future.
Don’t Sleep On Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is a word you hear in a lot of settings these days. If you work in an office, you’ve likely heard about the importance of it. If you’ve done any kind of remodeling or home improvement project, the term has likely popped up as well.
What does it mean? It essentially means putting in some work, or maintaining something over time, so that a bigger problem doesn’t arise from neglect. In an office setting, it might mean changing out printer ink or replacing paper to avoid paper jams. At home, it might mean cleaning your drains and tightening faucets to prevent damage from leaky pipes.
This, of course, can also apply to Florida pest management. For example, at home, you can practice termite control very easily. By keeping firewood off the ground and sealing any cracks or holes in your home’s exterior, you can easily eliminate breeding grounds for termites. You can also keep out the wood destroying insects by keeping your attic or crawlspace dry and ventilated properly.
Another bit of preventative maintenance you can do at home concerns your house plants. As previously mentioned, there are several steps you can take to keep scale insects off your plants, but you can take things a step further to deter them from coming back. You can find an organic insecticide that will take care of the bugs and not harm your plants. The same thing can be done with your outside plants. If you have a garden or shrubbery, you can do some DIY tree and shrub spraying to keep the bugs away while not harming the beautiful, outdoor elements of your property.
Now that the state of Florida has been granted resource prevention measures, we can only hope that the area continues to thrive.