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Reports have shown that 30-40 percent of the pesticide use in Florida occurs in urban areas. With its subtropical, humid environment, Florida is an ideal environment for insect pests and weedy plants. Our goal in the control of pests is to provide for the safest and lowest-risk approach to pest problems.

Many people today are looking for ways to manage weeds and pests with little to no use of toxic materials. The control of pests seldom relies on a single pest control practice. Rather, the decision to initiate control involves a combination of elements, including:

  • monitoring;
  • knowledge of the pests, plant or animal hosts;
  • beneficial organisms;
  • level of damage; and
  • selection of the pesticide with the least risk to humans and the environment.

Together, these elements form the basis for the practice of integrated pest management, more commonly referred to as IPM. When everything is taken into consideration the decision may be to not apply chemicals. Although use of chemicals is not necessarily eliminated with IPM, control strategies that are least- or nontoxic to humans and non target organisms are emphasized.

This section of our website, therefore, focuses on IPM, providing some alternative pest control methods. It also highlights selected insects and spiders that are noticeable and problematic in our area. And lastly, to help with their recognition, it provides an image gallery of insects and other arthropods in Sarasota County that inhabit our backyards and landscapes. If you need help with insect recognition or pest problems, the IPM Coordinator and horticultural staff are available to assist residents and businesses with questions about identification and control.

African honey bees

African honey bees, introduced to the Western Hemisphere in 1957, are quick to defend their nests. Learn more about these invaders.

Good Bugs!

Are there good bugs? Yes! Learn how some insects are very beneficial to their environment and ours.

The Brown Widow Spider

The brown widow spider (Latrodectus geometricus) is the most commonly found among Florida's "widow" spiders: black, brown and red. Find everything you want to know about the venomous brown widow.

Need help identifying an insect? Visit a Identification Resources