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Where In Arizona Are Recluse Spider Species Distributed? Has The Notorious Brown Recluse Species Been Documented In The State?

Where In Arizona Are Recluse Spider Species Distributed? Has The Notorious Brown Recluse Species Been Documented In The State?

While the vast majority of documented spider species within the United States do not inflict medically significant bites to humans, the brown recluse is not one of them. The notorious brown recluse spider has not always been categorized as a spider of medical significance, but after years of ignoring well documented cases detailing extremely dangerous, and in some rare cases, fatal physical reactions that had resulted from this spider’s bite, the medical community came together and announced that the brown recluse is, in fact, a threat to human health. However, misinformation concerning the brown recluse and other recluse spider species is still widespread in the US today. For example, entomologists working at state extension offices often receive calls from people who believe that they had sustained a brown recluse bite despite the fact that many of these worried citizens live well outside of the spider’s range. It is not uncommon for some media sources to claim that brown recluse spiders exist with Arizona, but this is not the case. While Arizona is home to multiple recluse species that, in rare cases, have been known to inflict medically significant bites to humans, the brown recluse species does not inhabit the state.

The United States is home to at least 11 recluse spider species, and the brown recluse, L. reclusa, is the most widespread as well as the most dangerous. The brown recluse species is distributed in the midwest and the mid-south with the US. States where the brown recluse can be found include Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and several other neighboring states. Arizona is home to five recluse spider species, two of which, the Arizona brown spider and desert recluse, may inflict medically significant bites to humans, but such incidents are exceptionally rare, and not fully substantiated. Recluse spiders in Arizona dwell in the far southern and far western portions of the state.

Have you ever encountered a recluse spiders species within your home or garage?

 

 

 

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The Home-Infesting Brown Dog Tick Is Only Able To Transmit Disease To Humans Within A Region Of Arizona

The Home-Infesting Brown Dog Tick Is Only Able To Transmit Disease To Humans Within A Region Of Arizona

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ticks are the only disease-spreading arthropods in the US that public health officials are unable to control. As most Americans know, ticks are most abundant in the northeast, making tick-borne disease cases particularly frequent in the region. Because of this, most Americans consider residents of the northeast to be at the greatest risk of falling victim to tick-borne diseases. However, very few people are aware of the tick-borne disease threat facing Arizona residents, including Arizona residents themselves.

It may shock Arizonans to learn that they are living within the only state where the brown dog tick species is capable of transmitting disease to humans. In addition to this little-known factoid, the brown dog tick is also the only tick species in the world that is able to reproduce and survive all life-cycles indoors. In other words, Arizona is the only state where brown dog ticks can both spread disease and infest homes. Arizonans should also note that the disease spread by brown dog ticks in Arizona, Rocky Mountain-spotted fever (RMSF), is being transmitted to more and more residents of the state with each passing year. In fact, experts say that RMSF has reached epidemic proportions within the state.

North America is home to two tick species that are commonly referred to as “dog ticks”. The most abundant and medically threatening of these two species, the American dog tick, is well established in the eastern US, but this species exists in many western states as well. This species transmits the potentially fatal disease known as Rocky Mountain spotted-fever to humans in every region where they can be found. The other species, the brown dog tick, is abundant all over the US, but these ticks only spread diseases to dogs and other animals. However, brown dog ticks dwelling in parts of southern Arizona and northern Mexico can, in fact, transmit RMSF to humans in this region, and only in this region. As it happens, the brown dog tick is also the only tick species that can infest homes in large number. So far, brown dog ticks have transmitted RMSF to well over 300 people in Arizona, 21 of which died as a result.

Have you ever spotted a tick embedded within your skin? If so, were you able to identify the species?

 

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The Small Flies That Arizona Residents Often Mistake For Fleas Or Chiggers

Flies are disgusting and annoying insect pests that are, unfortunately, all to common within homes. In Arizona, one of the most common fly pests belonging to the Diptera order are commonly known as no-see-ums, also known as sandflies or biting midges. No-see-ums belong to the Ceratopogonidae family, which consists of more than 5,000 species that span all regions of the world, even polar regions. The no-see-ums that exist in Arizona and the rest of the southwest belong to the Culicoides genus. This genus includes species that are known for facilitating the spread of disease. While no-see-ums in Arizona are not considered disease vectors, they can still spread disease causing bacteria to humans and human food sources. When these insects bite, their saliva is injected into the human bloodstream, causing initial pain and lasting irritation. Persistent scratching of bite wounds has been known to lead to infection.

No-see-ums are nearly invisible to the naked eye, and they are sometimes referred to as gnats. Despite their small size, these insects are known for inflicting painful and irritating bites. Each year, entomologists who specialize in pest control at the University of Arizona’s extension office receive numerous calls from residents who believe that they have been bitten by fleas or chiggers. However, after discussing the bite wounds and symptoms with residents, the entomologists learn that these residents were actually bitten by no-see-ums.

Since no-see-ums are no larger than 1/16 of an inch in body length, they can easily fly through window screens before biting residents within their homes. The presence of these insects are virtually impossible to prevent within homes, but keeping garbage and open food sources minimal can go a long way to prevent these insects from becoming an issue within homes. No-see-ums are most active in Arizona during the summer months in the morning and early afternoon.

Have you ever found what you believe were no-see-ums within your home?

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Why Tiny Groups Of Springtails Often Infest Homes And Yards In Arizona

Why Tiny Groups Of Springtails Often Infest Homes And Yards In Arizona

While Arizona is, obviously, exceptionally dry and largely composed of arid desert soil, the state still contains numerous insect pest species that require moist conditions in order to survive. Some of these water-craving insects are native to the Sonoran desert, while others are not native. For example, Arizona is home to at least 40 documented mosquito species, most of which are native and cannot reproduce without finding pools of water for mating and egg-laying.

One non-native insect pest, that has established an invasive presence in southern Arizona is the Argentine ant. These ant pests are unique in that they can only survive in the state provided that they locate land that is heavily irrigated. After this insect pest invaded the state from South America, many experts were under the impression that it would rapidly die-off. Of course, this was not the case, and now, the Argentine ant is abundant in well-irrigated lawns and golf courses in Tucson, Phoenix and many other populated regions within the state.

Springtails are a group of arthropods that are no longer considered insects by some experts, but this topic is still under debate. Springtails are hexapod pests that also crave moist conditions, and these creatures are abundant in most areas of the world, including Arizona. Due to this tiny hexapod’s need for near constant water contact, it is considered a minor pest near moist areas within and near homes.

In Arizona, springtails are sometimes found floating in clusters on the surface of backyard swimming pools, and they also appear within bathroom sinks, bathtubs and on indoor plants. These Hexapods are now believed to be a part of the Collembola order, but when residents spot these pests, they are often assumed to be fleas due to the recognizable jumping behavior that they exhibit. However, springtails, unlike fleas, do not bite or spread disease, but like fleas, springtails are often found in grassy lawns. In some cases, springtails can become a nuisance on Arizona properties and in homes.

Do you believe that you have spotted springtails in the past?

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Researchers Claim That Arizona Will Always Be Home To Mosquitoes Infected With The West Nile Virus

Researchers Claim That Arizona Will Always Be Home To Mosquitoes Infected With The West Nile Virus

Several mosquito species are well established in Arizona where they often establish a significant presence in urban and residential areas of the state. Luckily, the Aedes Aegypti species, which is the most significant disease-carrying mosquito species in the United States, does not inhabit Arizona. As with most regions of the US, however, mosquito populations and west Nile disease rates are increasing in the state. In fact, the west Nile virus is now a permanent part of the state’s ecosystem.

The west Nile virus was first documented as being contracted by an individual in Arizona back in 2003, and since then, hundreds of residents have fallen victim to the disease. One of these residents, Bruce Gran, was diagnosed with the disease 7 years ago, and since then, he has experienced unpleasant symptoms of the disease on a daily basis. Gran, a resident of Tucson, is only 52 years old, but due to his unfortunate diagnosis, he experiences frequent bouts of memory loss in addition to migraine headaches. While Arizona has not seen west Nile disease rates increase to the extent which many other states have, many more residents will be at a greater risk than ever of contracting the disease in the state.

Residents of southern Arizona are at much greater risk of contracting west Nile than residents in the north, as mosquito populations are significantly higher in the south. The two most significant disease-spreading mosquito species in the state, Culex tarsalis and Culex quinquefasciatus, maintain a year round presence in the south due to the regions warm winters. The original west Nile strain appeared in New York, but over the years, the disease has moved across the entire country. Another strain was discovered in Texas not long ago, and now this strain has become a permanent fixture in Maricopa County.

Do you apply mosquito repellent before stepping outdoors?

 

 

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Swimming Pools And Wet Weather Are Causing Mosquito Populations To Skyrocket In One Neighborhood, And Bee Swarms Send Several People To The ER Within One Week

So far, 2019 has been an eventful year when it comes to dangerous encounters with flying insect species in Arizona. Earlier in May, a honey bee swarm sent three Phoenix residents to the hospital after they sustained numerous stings. A few days before this unfortunate incident occurred, a Gilbert construction worker sustained at least 100 stings from aggressive honey bees after locating an enormous hive within a home. This month’s bee attacks follow several other bee attacks that occurred earlier in the year in Arizona, one of which resulted in a fatality. Phoenix pest control experts and government-employed entomologists have announced an alarming increase in the amount of people who have become infected with the west Nile virus. These seemingly sudden mosquito-borne disease cases resulted from a massive surge in mosquito populations in a residential area of Phoenix.

On May 2nd, three individuals were sent to the ER after they sustained numerous honey bee stings. The victims included a 35 year old male, a 35 year old female, and a 13 year old. Beyond these details, little is known about the circumstances of the attack, but it seems as though at least four individuals encountered a bee hive in a residential area of Phoenix. The fourth individual declined medical treatment, and the bees were later contained.

Pest controllers and bee removal professionals in Arizona have stated that bee-related service requests are particularly frequent among residents already this year. One bee removal expert removed a massive hive from a property after coming to the aid of a victim who sustained 100 honey bee stings that originated from the hive. The worker was clearing a vacant house when the attack occurred. According to the bee removal specialist, the hive was 3 by 4 feet in size.

In response to several people from a residential region of Phoenix testing positive for the west Nile virus, Maricopa County Vector Control workers are struggling to contain the area’s massive mosquito population. The county believes that the recent wet weather and an abundance of swimming pools in the area allowed mosquitoes to breed out of control. In an effort to reduce the mosquito population, the county is issuing free mosquito-eating fish for residents to place into their swimming pools.

Do you ever avoid going outdoors in fear of mosquito-borne diseases?

 

 

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An Arizona Senator Sustains A Scorpion Sting Within Her Bed

Scorpions can be found in several states along the Gulf Coast and even as far north as Kentucky, but the most abundant and diverse scorpion populations exist in the southwest states of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah and Texas. The most venomous species, which still kills scores of people every year in Mexico, is the bark scorpion, which is most abundant in Arizona, but the species can also be found in southwest New Mexico, southeast California and the southern regions of Nevada and Utah. Not even experts like entomologists and pest control professionals are exactly sure as to how many scorpion species have been documented in Arizona over the years, but the number is somewhere in between 40 and 60 species. Unfortunately, the dangerous bark scorpion is the most commonly encountered scorpion in Arizona, and it is also the species most often found within homes in the state. Hopefully, this is not the scorpion species that recently stung Arizona state Senator Sine Kerr last month while she was sleeping in her bed.

At 3:00 AM on a Tuesday morning, Senator Kerr suddenly awoke to an intense throbbing pain in her hand. As it turned out, the Senator’s left thumb had been stung by a scorpion that was crawling around within her bedding. Needless to say, the Senator did not notice the scorpion in her bed before retiring late the night before, but it many have climbed into her bed while she and her husband were sleeping. The scorpion was found below her sheets, and although it was Senator Kerr who sustained the sting, it was her husband that seemed most frightened of the arachnid, as Senator Kerr ended up squishing the fierce creature. But before she did, the Senator captured video footage of the scorpion on her phone, which she later posted to Facebook where it can still be viewed. The Senator claimed that the sting had been very painful, and it took a whole 15 hours to subside.

Do you ever check your bedding for creepy-crawlies before going to bed at night?

 

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The Most Frightening Spiders That Are Likely To Show Up Within Arizona Yards, Gardens And Homes

When summer arrives and the weather warms up, all the creepy crawlies that people would rather not have anywhere near them come out of their hiding spots to bask in the glorious desert sun. As you might have guessed, the critters people most fear, those terrifying desert spiders, are the ones that come out in droves to enjoy the nice weather. Arizona is known for it’s rather frightening arachnids, some that are definitely deserving of your caution and respect, and others that look quite dangerous, but are really quite harmless. So, what spiders should you be wary of that you are likely to spot in your yard or home this summer?

The first of the two spiders that people need to be wary of at this time year is the infamous black widow, known for its black body with the red hourglass shape on its abdomen. At least they are easily recognized, if not exactly a creature you want to spot around your home. Both male and female black widow spiders during all the stages of their life cycle, even the eggs, so any that you find need to be very carefully removed. Their venom is a nerve toxin, so it acts on the nervous system. The initial bite might not even be felt, but can cause you to feel muscle pain, difficulty breathing, among other symptoms as the venom spreads. Black widow webs do not look like the neat, circular webs of other spider species, but rather messy-looking, with strands branching out in all different directions. Thankfully, black widow spiders are not usually found inside homes, and tend to appear in outbuildings such as sheds or garages. You should always shake out any shoes or clothing before putting them just to be safe.

The other spider you should be on the watch for is the Arizona brown spider, often mistaken for brown recluse spiders. They both look and have similarly dangerous venom, however, and so are often mistaken for each other and given the same treatment for bites. Arizona brown spiders appear two-toned, with their front being a tan color and the rear grey. They also have a dark brown mark on the front of their body that looks rather like a violin. They tend to stay away from the indoors of people’s homes, nesting in protected outside areas such as under pieces of wood or dead cactus. When they are found in more urban areas, it is usually because they are attached to these pieces of wood or dead cacti brought inside as firewood or for landscaping purposes. The Arizona brown spider is generally very timid and will only bite when they feel they are trapped or being attacked. The initial bite is often painless, with a blister forming over the area as time progresses. This blister can become an open ulcer, and lead to symptoms such as fever and nausea.

Have you ever been bitten by a black widow or Arizona brown spider? What were your symptoms?

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How Arizona Residents Can Tell The Difference Between A Subterranean Termite Infestation And A Drywood Termite Infestation

How Arizona Residents Can Tell The Difference Between A Subterranean Termite Infestation And A Drywood Termite Infestation

Termite species are divided into three categories: Subterranean termites, drywood termites, and dampwood termites. Unfortunately, Arizona is home to termite species from all three of these categories. There exists a few termite pest species in Arizona that are classified as drywood and subterranean termites, but only one dampwood species is active in the state. The most damaging subterranean termite species in the state include the arid land subterranean termite and the desert subterranean termite. The two most significant drywood species in the state include the dark western drywood termite and the light western drywood termite. All four of the above named species attack structures in great frequency in most areas of Arizona, particularly within the southern half of the state. There exists many ways for a homeowner to distinguish between drywood and dampwood termite species and the types of damage these species inflict on a home’s structural wood.

Subterranean termites are larger than drywood termites in terms of body size, and this goes for both swarmers (alates) and workers. However, most residents who discover termite damage in their home are unlikely to see individual worker termites, as they are active beneath the surface of wood where they remain out of sight for nearly all hours of the day. Unlike drywood termites, subterranean termites must make regular contact with ground soil for nourishment. In order to travel back and forth between structural wood and the soil, these termites build mud tubes that are usually visible along one or more sides of a home’s foundation. Drywood termite infestations may be relatively more difficult to notice, as they remain within wood at all times, making mud tubes unnecessary for these termites. But unlike subterranean termite infestations, drywood termite infestation can normally be pinpointed by finding piles of dry fecal pellets near areas of structural wood. Subterranean termites do not leave behind these fecal pellets, as they expel liquid waste within soil. Although subterranean termites are typically more widespread and destructive than subterranean termites, this is not the case in most western US states where experts consider the dark western drywood termite to be the most significant termite pest in the region, especially in Arizona.

Have you ever witnessed a termite swarm near your home?

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A Termite-Ravaged Fire Station Will Soon Be Replaced By A New Building, And A Community Nearly Loses Electrical Power Due To Termites

Back in 1970, a fire station was built to serve residents of the small towns of Pine and Strawberry located in Gila County. This fire station, which residents call “the shack”, is made entirely of wood and it was not constructed to withstand termite infestations. Residents and officials in the Pine-Strawberry District have long known that a termite infestation has compromised the building’s structural integrity. The structure’s wood flooring and timber support beams have been damaged extensively by termites, which has rendered the building uninhabitable. In response to the damage, residents voted in favor of building an entirely new fire station, which will likely be finished within a month or two, well ahead of schedule. The new structure has been expertly built to minimize the chances of another termite infestation from taking form within the structure. For example, the new building will be outfitted with a steel roof, and a termiticide barrier was likely applied within the soil surrounding the structure. Not far away from the Pine-Strawberry District, termite activity nearly resulted in a widespread power outage four years ago in Payson.

In East Verde Park, a homeowner’s cherry tree grew to the point where the trunk wrapped around the support wires holding up a power-pole. This became an urgent issue after officials learned that the tree had become seriously weakened by a termite infestation. The tree looked as though it was ready to topple over, and if the tree had fallen over, it would have taken the power-pole down with it, resulting in expensive damage and a loss of power. Officials were not about to let termites rob the surrounding residential area of electrical power, so with the property owner’s permission, the infested and dead tree was carefully removed without harming the power-pole. It is not uncommon for termites to attack dead fruit trees, and the dark western drywood termite was the species most likely responsible for the tree infestation.

Have you ever found termites infesting a tree or a termite damaged tree?