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Old 02-16-2010, 05:52 AM
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,486 posts, read 19,926,696 times
Reputation: 2804


I'll add a few more things to the list. I have people say to me, "come on it can't all be good." Tell me something bad about Florida. So here goes, the negative side to living in Florida. Well, negative for some people.

Some people find it to hot for their liking, especially in the summer months June-August. It does get really hot here. I usually plan my day and if I'm gonna go for a jog it's probably not going to be at 12 noon, if you're gonna mow the lawn it's probably best to do it in the early morning or late afternoon. I suggest planning a trip here in the summer to make sure you are comfortable with the heat. You don't want to move here and then find out you're not all that fond of hot weather.

It's a tropical climate and tropical climates bring bugs. You will find a myriad of different species of bugs in Florida. There are many natural remedies to getting rid of the pests as well as having your home sprayed for bugs on a quarterly basis.

Mosquitoes are one of the most talked about bugs in Florida. Mosquitoes are most prevalent in in the rainy season, June-August. They lay their eggs in standing water of ditches, buckets of water and stagnate water. This area has airplanes that fly over in mosquito season and they spray for them. To cut down on the mosquitoes around your home make sure you eliminate any standing water around your house. There are many sprays, candles and bug zappers you can use to get rid of the pesky bugs.

Snakes are an issue that I hear about regularly. There are 45 different types of snakes in Florida with only 6 being venomous. Most won’t bother you and just eat things like small rodents, rabbits, rats, mice, and other types of small animals. The majority of snakes are good to have around the yard and control any over abundant rodent populations.

Many of the venomous snakes like to live in wooded areas under rocks or around swampy, marshy areas. Generally, they don’t want to be bothered when encountered, so if you leave them alone usually they’ll run the other way. Often times when people get bitten is when they try to handle a snake, not realizing that the snake is poisonous. If you kill a snake the snakes reflexes are still “live” for a short period after you have killed it, so don’t immediately handle it or you might get bitten.

The six snakes that are venomous are The Southern Copperhead, which is only found in the panhandle area and not in SW Florida. The Cottonmouth, commonly called a water moccasin, which is primarily found around brackish water and marsh areas. The Eastern Diamond Back, they like palmetto thickets, under brush and Gopher Tortoise holes and are found throughout Florida. Next is the Timber Rattlesnake which is only found in 9 counties in Florida and SW Florida is not included in it's range. Moving on to the Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake, which is found throughout Florida around ponds and in underbrush. And lastly we have the Eastern Coral Snake, which of my 37 years living here have never seen one. Supposedly they are found throughout Florida. If you absolutely hate snakes you could get this stuff called Snake-Away and I heard this keeps them away from your house or where ever you put it.

The latest news reports state that there is now an invasive species of Burmese Python known to inhabit the Everglades and they are large enough to eat goats. Although they are not poisonous they can be a danger to humans due to their large size. I have never seen this type of snake in SW FL.

Another animal that some people are concerned about is alligators. Alligators tend to stick to the rivers where the water is brackish (a mixture of salt and fresh waters) and they also like the golf course water traps.

Alligators seldom attack humans, and fatalities from such attacks are extremely rare. Alligators are naturally afraid of humans, but they lose that fear when people feed them. There has been several alligator attacks due to people feeding them.

The most likely time to see alligators is at dusk. Often during the day you can catch them sunning themselves on the shoreline. Once the sun goes down they become more active. I wouldn't recommend swimming in a place known to be inhabited by alligators. It's also wise to keep dogs and cats away from the shoreline of waters known to be inhabited by alligators. Most dogs and cats are about the size of the animals alligators prey on-raccoons, birds, fish, turtles, etc Stay away from any small alligators or nests because the female alligators can become extremely dangers when protecting their young. Also don't go trying to get a lost golf ball a golf course water trap. They love to hang out in places like that.

If you live on a freshwater or brackish water canal and have small children or pets I always recommend getting a fence as an extra precaution.

You can greatly reduce your chances of being attacked by an alligator by just using some common sense. Generally speaking, if you don't swim in the rivers or the water traps you should be pretty safe. If an alligator shows aggression toward human you can call Florida Fish & Game and they will remove it.

Then you have the Chinese Drywall. This certainly has been an issue. Most of the CDW was imported from Chine between 2001-2007. Hundreds of millions of sheets of Chinese drywall were imported from 2004 to 2006, but Chinese drywall has recently been found in homes built or remodeled as early as 2001. Chinese Drywall has been found in 30 states and the District of Columbia and is estimated to have been installed in over 100,000 homes in the United States. See Map. Unfortunately, this does not paint an accurate picture as most affected homes have a mixture of safe and tainted drywall.

The majority of Chinese drywall is 1/2", but not always. Here are some clues that the home has CDW. Does your home smell like rotten eggs or ammonia (sometimes a sweetish smell)? I've also been in homes where it smelled like raw sewage. Is it more noticeable when entering your home and then seems to dissipate? The level of odor varies greatly in each home as does each person’s ability to detect the odor. Of course, the strength of the odor also depends on how much drywall was used in the home. The home may not smell and still can be affected by CDW. In short, do not rely on your nose alone, particularly since many develop olfactory fatigue after being exposed to Chinese drywall.

Chinese drywall corrodes electrical wiring. Check the electrical receptacles in your walls to see if the wires are blackened. Pull off the electrical plate and look inside. Obviously, do not touch anything - you could get shocked. There should be a copper wire inside. The wires in this photo have been corroded from Chinese drywall. The breaker panel should also be checked. I've also seen plumbing fixtures that are pitted and if the A/C has been replaced and the home is relatively new-that's also a clue that the home may have Chinese Drywall. Some of the sheets of drywall are stamped Knauf or National Gypsum on the back.

Signs of an electrical problem include, a circuit breaker which frequently needs resetting without an apparent cause (particularly a GFCI or AFCI); lights that flicker without any apparent cause; bright flashes or sparks anywhere in your electrical system (this may indicate arcing conditions in the wiring); buzzing from electrical systems, switch plates, dimmers and outlet covers that are discolored from overheating; and a smell from overheating plastic. CDW was manufactured during the time that hurricane Charlie hit so even if your home is older it could be effected. I always recommend a home inspection

Moving on to the next concern I hear is hurricanes. Really a hurricane can hit anywhere in Florida. I think that the Miami and Key West have the highest possibility of a hurricane strike. You need to be prepared where ever you live. I am a native Floridian and have lived in or close by Sarasota county my whole life and have never evacuated, not to say that I wouldn't but I've never felt the need to.

Anywhere you live in the world you will be faced with some kind of natural disaster-tornadoes, typhoons, tidal waves, earthquakes, blizzards, etc. At least with hurricanes you will have advance notice before they hit. If you choose to leave you have the opportunity to do so. This is not the case with most other weather situations.

Since 1992 Hurricane Andrew, the Florida Building codes have been up graded in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 to deal with damage from wind. Even new manufactured homes are safer than site built homes pre-94 The newer the home since 94, the less insurance you will pay. Insurance for pre 94 homes is difficult to get/keep and you will pay a lot of money for coverage.

Some hurricanes are large and can cover the whole state, while some like 2004 Charley was an oversized tornado. Some years we have to watch for a dozen and other years only one or two. The hurricane season runs from June to November with the peak amount in September.

Here's a chart that shows the probability of a hurricane strike in each area:
Florida Hurricane Coastal Strike Probability

Hurricane strike probabilities are only statistical
estimates. Be prepared as storms approach.

This website is also pretty helpful-- Florida Hurricane Info

Another concern I hear is about sharks. I get asked quite a bit if I’ve ever seen a shark at the beach or if it’s dangerous to swim out at the beach. Fact is that since they have been keeping records on shark attacks there has never been a fatal shark attack from Bradenton to Naples. If you're talking shark attacks, the Atlantic side has far more attacks than the gulf side. One reason you get more attacks over there is the amount of surfers. Surfers mimic a wounded animal and in turn look like lunch to a hungry shark. Most of the sharks that are off the coast of New Smyrna are Tigers, Spinners, Bull, Reef and Blacktips. Ponce Inlet is specifically known to be pretty active with sharks. You really don't have that great surfing on the gulf side unless a storms brewing. The gulf side is also much warmer than the Atlantic side. http://www.underwatertimes.com/news....id=10863094725

New Smyrna Beach over in Volusia County on the Atlantic side is the "Shark Capital of the World" North America's top shark-attack beaches - USATODAY.com But you have more chance in winning the lottery than getting attacked by a shark. Map of Florida's Confirmed Unprovoked Shark Attacks

Next concern I hear is about the job market. Yeah it's pretty bad here. The unemployment rate is hovering somewhere around 10% right now. It's usually easier to find a job on the medical field then some other markets. The construction market is pretty tough right now. I would not suggest moving here without a job lined up.

There are some areas of town that are better than others which is pretty easy to figure out in the Sarasota area.

On the sex offender issue. I wouldn't say there are any more here than anywhere else. I just think we have a better system of keeping track of them. Which I think is a good thing. You can go here to check to see if any live in the neighborhood you are considering: http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/off...yyt!-928531442

So, if you can live with the the bugs, the heat isn't an issue, aren't afraid of mosquitoes, snakes, sharks or gators, can prepare for hurricanes, have a stable job lined up, are willing to have your home inspected for CDW and can figure out where you want to live...you should be good to go

Old 02-16-2010, 05:54 AM
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
1,457 posts, read 3,458,129 times
Reputation: 1471
Originally Posted by ECX View Post
I really would like some "TRUE" answers...

1. Your house and yard will be INFESTED with Huge Palmetto Bugs, Giant Spiders and Massive Swarms of Bloodthirsty Mosquitoes!

2. The heat is unbearable for 8 months out of the year and you will do nothing but sit inside with the AC on full blast mounting massive electric bills.

3. The beaches get Red Tides all the time and smell horrible and burn your eyes. When there is no Red Tide, the waters will be filled with stinging jellyfish and man-o-war. They are also littered with trash and medical waste.

4. If you venture outside of your fenced yard you will be attacked by Killer Alligators, Venomous Snakes and Spiders. And be eaten alive by mosquitoes and other biting insects.

5. Insurance is unaffordable IF you can find a company to insure your house... because a Hurricane WILL find you and destroy your home!

6. Crime in Florida is a Huge problem and will WILL fall victim of it. Murder, Rape, Massive Pedophile Kidnappings etc...
1. You will get them, but not an infestation unless you live without cleaning anything or throwing anything out.

2. Yes it does get hot, and yes I do stay inside, but my electric bill isn't that much, maybe $250 for a high. I've heard worse though. The summer will be a good time to go to the beach or a water park.

3. I never go to the beach anymore. The last time (Juno Beach) I went it was clean, no red tide, no jellyfish, no man-o-war. There are certain times of the year for those though.

4. If you venture into swamps, thick vegetation, or near water like ponds, you might come into contact with them. I've had snakes in my yard, but I live in a western community that isn't totally cleared of all trees and wildlife. Mosquitos will happen anywhere. I've lived in Florida for 41 years and only seen 1 live alligator, a small one, by a pond, and 1 huge dead one on the road. I've seen live ones in the Everglades, of course.

5. My insurance is about $2500 a year. Not too bad, but I've definitely heard worse.

6. I've never been a victim of any crime, beside a license plate thingy getting stolen when I was a teenager...knock on wood. My husband had his car stolen, but it was parked in a crappy area of town at the school where he was going. Crime will happen anywhere, no matter where you live. Don't have a false sense of security even with guards and gates.

Last edited by flkingfan; 02-16-2010 at 05:55 AM.. Reason: spelling
Old 02-16-2010, 06:13 AM
Location: NE Florida
9,362 posts, read 22,796,255 times
Reputation: 9286
If you all love the beach, fishing, boating and swimming, then Florida is the place for your family. Just come with the right head. We are laid back even at our most corporate and the best way to deal with the weather and critters is to learn about them and adapt. If you can do that, you will never want to leave.
My answers to your questions follow:
Originally Posted by ECX View Post
1. Your house and yard will be INFESTED with Huge Palmetto Bugs, Giant Spiders and Massive Swarms of Bloodthirsty Mosquitoes!

I have never had a real problem inside any home that I have owned. An occasional cockroach will find its way in but even two a year would be a lot. Apartments and some rentals can be a different story. Those giant spiders give me the creeps. Just don’t grow anything that will attract them. Mosquitos- oh yeah. Skin So Soft helps, but there are times when the best action is staying inside with an adult beverage or boating.

2. The heat is unbearable for 8 months out of the year and you will do nothing but sit inside with the AC on full blast mounting massive electric bills.

Siesta! Go with the flow of the day and get out early and late.
There’s a reason that we like linen.
Hang out on the water. Nothing can take the place of sailing off the coast.
We more than make up for the AC bills come winter.

3. The beaches get Red Tides all the time and smell horrible and burn your eyes. When there is no Red Tide, the waters will be filled with stinging jellyfish and man-o-war. They are also littered with trash and medical waste.

Then you’re going to the wrong beach.

4. If you venture outside of your fenced yard you will be attacked by Killer Alligators, Venomous Snakes and Spiders. And be eaten alive by mosquitoes and other biting insects.

See number 1, above.

5. Insurance is unaffordable IF you can find a company to insure your house... because a Hurricane WILL find you and destroy your home!

Yes and no.

6. Crime in Florida is a Huge problem and will WILL fall victim of it. Murder, Rape, Massive Pedophile Kidnappings etc...

This can be true in some areas.

Am I crazy to feel a bit apprehensive about moving to Florida after reading all the above "FACTS" ???

Not crazy. But you probably should hold off on moving down until you have these issues resolved.

Last edited by Magnolia Bloom; 02-16-2010 at 07:17 AM..
Old 02-16-2010, 06:54 AM
Location: Trinity Florida
7,930 posts, read 17,786,830 times
Reputation: 1997
We have been here 9 months we Face the lake and the golf course havent seen any gators...ive seen little snakes here in Boca mind you im petrified of them....the Heat well im from NYC so it doesnt bother me since everywhere I go is air conditioned anyhow...Crime well no different in some other places...We love the Weather, we love the location, people are very nice here we have some family here as well....We love that our children are active they Club Swim all yr round....We do alot of driving and exploring...so there are alot of things that we really like

We are renting since we didnt know where we wanted to live, and are fine with it...My electric bill ranges from 140-175 a month...I cant tell you about insurances since we arent paying them for a home...our car insurance for 05 accord and 09 oddessey are 2200 a year for both...

Good Luck

Again we are very happy we made the move and have no regrets..
Old 02-16-2010, 07:26 AM
ECX ECX started this thread
71 posts, read 247,966 times
Reputation: 26
Thanks everyone! Keep the info coming!
Old 02-16-2010, 07:55 AM
Location: Full time in the RV
2,867 posts, read 6,403,332 times
Reputation: 2420
You have received very good advice here.

I just have a couple of comments....

Crime-Like anywhere there are bad and good areas. FL seems to attract people running away from life, the law, whatever. They drift south until they can't go any further. That means Florida. No where is this more evident than Key West.

Schools-I haven't seen anything on this thread about schools. FL schools do not have the same standards you are used to. This needs to be researched very carefully. There are a lot of threads on here about schools.
Old 02-16-2010, 07:56 AM
Location: Sunny Florida
7,136 posts, read 11,008,830 times
Reputation: 9460
My parents moved to Florida in 1997. They had heard all of the negative things too, but were just so sick of the cold, gray, Midwestern winters that they were willing to risk it. Some risk! They live on the beach, enjoy sunshine and warm weather the vast majority of the time, swim most of the year in the Gulf or the heated pool, go boating, golfing, and biking whenever they wish, and have a lifestyle most people would envy. I go to Florida four to six times per year, have expereienced every season, and love it there. For me, the worst day in Florida beats most of the days in Ohio.

If you do not have to worry about employment/money, Florida is an outdoor person's paradise, and I don't even find the summers any more oppressive than here. In fact, my DH and I have purchased a house and will be calling Florida our new home in the not too distant future. We could live almost anyplace we wanted, but after years of research and exploratory trips have chosen Florida as our place in the sun. Best wishes!
Old 02-16-2010, 08:37 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,678 posts, read 16,092,150 times
Reputation: 7694
1. A good pest control company does wonders for knocking down the local roach population. The down side is that after they spray every quarter, we get a couple of days of disoriented roaches wandering into my lanudry room to die. Have never really had spiders be an issue where I live, and between the county spraying and the local bat population, there really isn't much of a mosquito problem.

2. I do a fair amount of distance running and triathlon training. July, August, and early September are decidedly unpleasant unless you're in or near the water in the afternoon or evening, but before 10:00am generally has tolerable outdoor temps and humidity.

3. The Gulf side seems to get more red tide than the Atlantic side. I'd say one outbreak every 1.5-2.0 years. The jellyfish are always there in small numbers but stings aren't really frequent, and it's more of an annoyance for a couple minutes than anything else. Man'o'Wars are rarer. Public beaches will fly a purple flag ('marine pest') when larger than usual numbers of jellies seem to be present.

Trash is usually not an issue- given the amount of money that beach vacations bring into the state economy, most beaches tend to be relatively clean, and communities commonly spend 'bed tax' money for that purpose.

4. Gators aren't an issue as long as you and your pets don't stray into their territory. Most snakes don't want to see you any more than you see them. The one species I worry about is the pygmy rattler because they're frequently too small to see until you're on top of them, and they do a lot of defensive strikes. If you're doing gardening or landscape work, wear thick gloves, and even be careful looking at plants at the garden center. (There have been a couple of pygmy rattler bites at Walmart garden centers in recent years)

5. It's not as bad as it was in 2005, and you do get used to thinking of a $2000 insurance bill as cheap and affordable. As you start to look at homes, talk to an insurance agent. The insurers left here tend to have seeming arbitrary rate zones, and there can be thousands of dollars of diffderence in premiums between homes at the same elevation that are simply across the street from each other. A good insurance agent can tell you where the common boundary lines are in terms of policy availability and pricing.

6. Violent crime is rare in many areas unless you're actively looking for it. Property crime is common, though a lot of it is young idiots taking advantage of easy opportunities. My area has actually had to run PSA campaigns the last couple summers to remind people to lock their cars while they're at public beaches because so many people didn't and then lost stuff out of said unlocked vehicles.

As for schools, they're hit and miss in the state, with the tech/white collar hubs tending to be better. In terms of the Cocoa area, aim for areas where you get a lot of NASA employees (such that will remain after the shuttle drawdown) and you'll be fine.
Old 02-16-2010, 08:58 AM
Location: Tampa, FL
2,637 posts, read 10,930,556 times
Reputation: 3547
It's all about your mindset. Some people are determined to be miserable and they focus on the negative. Some people are determined to be happy and they focus on the positive. Most of the stuff you mentioned is not fundamentally untrue, but it is very exaggerated towards the negative point of view as various posters have explained. Like anywhere else, Florida is not perfect, but most people I know enjoy living here despite those imperfections.

For the transplants I have known there is usually one common complaint - the loss of fall leaf change which is apparently very important emotionally for most people who grew up in a temperate climate. I advise transplants to schedule their vacations during the fall and go somewhere with a nice leaf show, for the first few years at least. The ones who actually listened to me said it really helped to ease their homesickness and it made them appreciate the mild weather when they returned. For most transplants the most challenging part of adjusting to Florida is dealing with the change from temperate to sub-tropical climate - the seasonal changes are much more subtle here and they take some time to get in tune with. Some people never do, and they are usually the ones that are truly unhappy about their relocation.
Old 02-16-2010, 09:17 AM
Location: New England
8,155 posts, read 18,619,502 times
Reputation: 3292
To add to all the great replies, I would like to point out what many forget.
Florida is a LARGE state and climate, culture etc can vary greatly depending on where you are.

I lived 5 years in Orlando and had to leave because of circumstances beyond my control. I've spent the last decade coming back to various parts weeks at a time when I could. Now roughly 12 years later with a wife, 2 year old and one on the way, I'm considering heading back. Doing so has had me take some serious personal inventory and honest reflection.

I'm looking to head to Northeast Florida for a variety of reasons.
1. If you look at average high/low temperature charts you will see a much greater relief from the "heat" in the "off months" In other words, the curve from Jan to August is greater in Jax where Orlando would be more "flat line" to the tune of about 7-8 degrees!

2. Housing is much less expensive as is insurance costs.

3. More history and "established" infrastructure etc. (Jax itself, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, St Augustine etc)

4. "Large" city on the ocean. Aside from Southeast Florida and Tampa, it's the only other in FL and doesn't suffer some of the "fates" the others have. I'll never live "inland" Florida again.
I can recall going down to Palm Beach in Feb from Orlando and thinking "OMG - way to hot for Feb for me". Then going North toward Jax and having a light sheet of ice on standing water one morning! That's a pretty big spread and not surprising considering Florida's size.

Keep in mind, a lot of people move to Florida expecting to find their burb in Indiana just without snow and get "shocked" to find it's a different world with heat, stinging ants etc. That then turns into a "rant" against FL and they spend a good portion of their life complaining how it sucks. You also have people moving down who simply can't handle change and/or accept the fact that where they came from - their hometown was such a crap hole. They also get "insecure" and crab and complain. Having a public forum such as this, brings it out in spades.

However, there is also some p*ss poor development in Florida that has taken place. I went back to Western Orlando about 5 years ago and was SHOCKED to see what was one orange groves and sleepy Southern towns turn into .08 acre sprawl hell with homes backed up to each other like sardines and non natural landscape everywhere. I prefer my backyard to consist of more than a lanai covered pool with a fence 2 feet off that and the neighbors lanai 20 feet from my back door. I mean, you might as well just shout over the fence "toss me a cold one".

Don't rule out N.E. Florida in your search. Places like Ponte Vedra and beaches North/South can give you a great lifestyle and 30 minute access to DT Jax and some heat relief.

Best of luck.
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