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A Citywide Outbreak Of Odorous Stink Beetles Perplex And Disgust Residents

A Citywide Outbreak Of Odorous Stink Beetles Perplex And Disgust Residents

Beetles may be the most species-rich group of insects on the planet, and many beetle species have been categorized as pests. However, most beetle pests infest and damage trees and plants, as many gardeners have come to learn. Very few beetle pests invade homes, and beetle epidemics that see thousands of specimens invading homes and business in large cities are unheard of, well almost unheard of, anyway. Last April, massive amounts of beetles laid siege to residential and urban areas of Bullhead City. The worst aspect of this invasion was the foul-smelling defensive fluids that the beetles secrete when they become threatened or when they are squished.

Last spring, residents of Bullhead City could not help but notice the abundance of beetle corpses and live beetles littering parking lots, residential lawns, parks and busy streets. Many of the beetles found their way indoors, and the ones that didn’t rapidly succumbed to dehydration. According to one pest control expert, all the beetles that had been found in the city resulted from unusually high moisture levels that persisted since the beginning of the year in the northwest region of Arizona. The frequent bouts of rain during the winter and the consequent overgrowth of vegetation during the spring caused the beetles to invade the city en masse.

Employees at a local Ace Hardware store removed both dead and live beetles from the area surrounding the store for weeks. Thousands of beetles could be seen outside Kohl’s and Target where corpses became so abundant that the parking lot became slippery in some places. Many dogs and cats in the city quickly learned that the beetles make for a lousy meal, as several pet owners claimed that their dog or cat quickly spat a beetle out quickly after collecting it from the ground. The reason the pets did this is due to this particular beetle species’ defensive secretions. The beetles in question are known as “desert stink beetles” in Arizona, as the beetles are well known to gather around outside lights during the spring, summer and fall. The defensive fluid secreted by these beetles causes intolerable irritation, providing these beetles with an ideal way to avoid being eaten alive.

Have you ever caught a whiff of smelly odors secreted by insects?

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The Native Southern Fire Ant Is An Aggressive Species That Inflicts Painful Stings And Infests Homes, And At Least One Envenomation Incident Resulted In Death

The Native Southern Fire Ant Is An Aggressive Species That Inflicts Painful Stings And Infests Homes, And At Least One Envenomation Incident Resulted In Death

The S. xyloni ant species is one of three fire ant species found in Arizona, the others being S. aureus and S. amblychila. The red-imported fire ant is the most well known fire ant species in the United States, and while this species is invasive in the US, many people are surprised to learn that some fire ants are native to the US, one of which is the S. xyloni species. The S. xyloni fire ant species is commonly referred to as the “southern fire ant,” and this species can be recognized by their dark reddish-brown exterior that is covered in golden hairs.

Like other fire ant species, the southern fire ant often inflicts damage to lawns which can sometimes be costly for homeowners. When fire ants infest a lawn their unsightly dirt mounds become a conspicuous part of the landscape, and southern fire ant nests can also become established indoors. Much like red imported fire ants, southern fire ants will emerge out of their nests in large numbers if they become distrubed. These ants will not hesitate to climb onto a person’s body before inflicting numerous stings, which can be fatal to those with an allergy to arthropod venoms. These ants can also establish indoor infestations that can pose both a medical risk to a home’s inhabitants as well as a nuisance. The southern fire ant prefers to establish colonies within lawns where grass is stressed and dry, making them a prominent species in southern Arizona. This species can also establish nests within wall-voids, below carpeting, and in crawl spaces, and colonies can grow to contain 10,000 individual ants. While anaphylaxis does not often occur in response to southern fire ant stings, this species was believed to have caused the death of a three month old baby after the ant pests invaded a day care center.

Have you ever experienced a fire ant infestation either indoors or outdoors?

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Millipedes Can Invade Arizona Homes Where They Sometimes Spray A Painful And Irritating Compounds Onto Human Skin

Millipedes Can Invade Arizona Homes Where They Sometimes Spray A Painful And Irritating Compounds Onto Human Skin

Many Arizona residents have likely encountered large and intimidating centipedes within rural and suburban habitats, and few residents have managed to avoid encounters with common house centipedes. Millipedes look similar to centipedes and they are commonly spotted within urban, rural and residential yards. It is not uncommon for millipedes to infest homes in Arizona in large numbers. Once millipedes enter homes in the state they often gravitate to dark corners where residents often sustain chemical burns from millipede secretions. The millipede species, Orthoporus ornatus, has probably been encountered around homes, in parks or just about any natural environment where soil can be found. The common Orthoporus ornatus millipede species, which is more commonly referred to as the “desert millipede,” is also considered a household pest in Arizona, and it is not uncommon for residents to sustain chemical burns after accidentally or deliberately making contact with these arthropods within and near homes.

The desert millipede is often found within residential yards in large numbers following storms during monsoon season, and these millipede pests often move into homes where internal moisture levels can sustain the species. An abundance of vegetation growth alongside foundations provide moist conditions that are ideal for desert millipedes and once large number become established around a home’s foundation, preventing the millipedes from moving indoors can be difficult. Millipedes may also feed on ornamental and garden flowers, but the damage they inflict to these aesthetically appreciated plants is usually minimal, even within yards that become highly infested. This species favors cholla, creosote bush, ocotillo, and mesquite forms of decaying plant material for feeding purposes. The desert millipede often curls its 6 inch long body into a coil in response to threats. Unfortunately, this US millipede species is unique for its ability to spray a painful toxic secretion as far as ten feet within a home. If this secretion makes contact with the eyes, partial or complete blindness can result. This species toxic defensive secretion contains benzoquinones, aldehydes, hydrocyanic acid, phenols, terpenoids, nitromethylbenzene, and other substances. However, serious burns and skin discoloration resulting from skin contact with this millipede’s sections are rarely reported, and in many cases, Arizona residents keep them as pests.

Have you ever found a desert millipede specimen within your home?

 

 

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Up To 4,000 Scorpion Stings Are Reported In And Around Phoenix Every Year, And Some Arizona Residents Are More Likely To Sustain A Sting Than Others

Up To 4,000 Scorpion Stings Are Reported In And Around Phoenix Every Year, And Some Arizona Residents Are More Likely To Sustain A Sting Than Others

Thirty scorpion species can be found in Arizona, and more species may have yet to be discovered within the state. This may be a bold statement, as one would think that all scorpions within Arizona have certainly been discovered by now. However, a new species, Vaejovis crumpi, was discovered in Prescott in 2011, and much of Arizona is uninhabited desert, making the existance of additional undocumented species a distinct possibility in the state. It is comforting to know that all potentially dangerous scorpion species in Arizona have likely been found, as a few scorpion species already inflict medically significant stings to thousands of Arizona residents annually. Surprisingly, between 3,000 and 4,000 scorpion stings occur annually within the Phoenix metropolitan area alone. Researchers have noted that scorpion stings are not evenly distributed across metropolitan areas in Arizona, making residents of Phoenix more likely to sustain scorpion stings than others.

The desert hairy scorpion, the devil scorpion and the bark scorpion are the three most commonly encountered scorpion species within Arizona. While the desert hairy scorpion may be the most intimidating species to look at given their 5 to 6 inch body length, this species is not considered medically significant, but the much smaller 3 inch bark scorpion can inflict potentially deadly stings. The risk of falling victim to a scorpion sting is remote within urbanized locations found where concrete sidewalks, buildings and business are abundant, but unsurprisingly, the risk of sustaining a scorpion stings is much greater in suburban regions. This makes most apartment dwellers relatively safe from scorpion stings, but the residents living within single family homes located near open and undeveloped landscapes are at the greatest risk of sustaining a scorpion sting in Arizona. Unlike apartments and townhouses, single family homes are isolated structures. Homes in these regions are also far more likely than others to become infested with scorpions. Residents living in these areas should be mindful of scorpions on their lawn during the night hours, as all scorpions are nocturnal.

Have you ever found scorpions near your home?

 

 

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The Desert Dampwood Termite Species Only Infests Damp Structural Wood Sources And Citrus Trees That Are Common In Landscaped Yards

The Desert Dampwood Termite Species Only Infests Damp Structural Wood Sources And Citrus Trees That Are Common In Landscaped Yards

Termites are considered the most significant insect pests within the state of Arizona, but less than half of the state’s 17 documented termite species are known for causing significant damage to timber-framed homes and buildings in the state. The most common subterranean termites in the state are desert subterranean termites and arid land subterranean termites, while dark western drywood termites and light western drywood termites are the most common drywood termite pests in the state. These species have been studied extensively due to their economic significance, but very little attention is paid to the termite species in Arizona that infest both structures and live trees.

As it happens, several little-known termite species in Arizona infest live trees, particularly citrus trees, which are abundant in the state. Many homeowners in the state cultivate citrus trees in their yard for landscaping purposes, or to secure a source of fresh citrus fruits, or both. These homeowners should consider the Paraneotermes simplicicornis species of termite an enemy, as this termite is capable of killing citrus trees in a rapid fashion. This species is also the only dampwood termite species that is considered a structural pest within Arizona and this species is more commonly referred to as the “desert dampwood termite.” The desert dampwood termite has long been known as a pest of grapefruit and orange trees, but this species is known for killing all citrus trees that grow in the southwest desert region. This species consumes citrus tree bark above and below the soil’s surface, but they cause far more harm by feeding on a tree’s taproot and/or lateral roots. In response to this feeding activity, these roots quickly become severed, which results in tree-death.

The desert dampwood termite technically belongs to the Kalotermitidae family, which are drywood termites. This species can be found in semi-arid, arid and desert regions of Arizona, and they feed on the sap of both shrubs and citrus trees in order to retain moisture. This species rarely infests homes due to their need for high-moisture wood sources, but they are often found infesting untreated fences and utility poles. When desert dampwood termites are found infesting homes, their infestations are always limited to wet baseboards and wet door-frames within old houses.

Were you aware that termites in Arizona can infest living trees?

 

 

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If My Home’s Timber-Frame Remains Free Of Moisture Am I Safe From Termite Attacks?

It is often claimed that termites require high-moisture conditions in order to survive, but this claim may seem dubious considering that several subterranean termite species have no problem surviving within Arizona’s exceptionally dry desert soil. While not all of the termite species in Arizona are considered pests to structures, the entire state is located within a geographic region where termite pest activity is considered moderate to heavy, and termites are considered the most significant indoor insect pests within the state.

Since termites are clearly abundant in the Sonoran Desert region of Arizona, they must find water somewhere. Since the sandy desert surface is cleary bereft of moisture, subterranean termites are able to establish colonies located far below the ground surface where adequate moisture can be found. The arid land subterranean termite species maintains a habitat in particular areas where soil contains a bit more moisture than can be found within the barren sandy landscapes that most people picture when thinking of the Sonoran Desert. This species can be found in nearly all areas of the state. The desert subterranean termite is the only subterranean termite species in Arizona that can withstand periods of drought within the hottest areas of the state. This species is the most common termite pest found within structures in Arizona, but unlike the arid land subterranean termite species, the desert subterranean termite species can only be found in the southern half of the state.

Subterranean termite species in Arizona can attack new homes where lumber is dry, as these species construct mud tubes that connect the ground soil to indoor structural wood. These mud tubes provide subterranean termites with direct access to soil where they can readily quench their thirst. Subterranean termites can establish a permanent infestation within indoor wood sources that have become heavily saturated with water due to plumbing leaks or seepage from rain water, making repeated trips to soil unnecessary.

Drywood and dampwood termite species do not make contact with soil; instead, colonies maintain a constant presence within single wood items, such as dead trees and logs. However, the swarming termites (alates) that emerge annually from drywood and dampwood termite colonies often squeeze into small cracks and pores within any area of a home’s wood exterior where they proceed to establish infestations that usually spread into a home’s interior timber-frame. Since these termites do not extract water from the soil, they can only survive within wood that contains adequate moisture levels. Most homes in Arizona contain wood that is moist enough to support drywood termite colonies, but dampwood termites require more water in order to establish an infestation, making dampwood termite infestations relatively rare in Arizona.

Were you aware that dampwood termites could infest homes in Arizona?

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When Cockroaches Bite And Invade The Human Body

Indoor spider, centipede, ant, flea, beetle or bed bug infestations can be nightmarish for homeowners, but few arthropod pest species are considered to be more revolting than cockroaches. Unfortunately, cockroaches are among the most commonly encountered indoor insect pest species in the world. In fact, one study that aimed to identify the most common indoor arthropod species found cockroaches within 74 percent of 50 homes surveyed. Although a mere 50 homes may not provide an accurate representation of all homes located in every state in the US, the study’s authors stated that several follow-up studies conducted in a variety of regions around the globe yielded similar results. One particular anecdotal report describes a married couple’s surprise upon learning that cockroaches are just as common within their new Phoenix home as they were within their many former homes located in their hometown of Chicago.

While cockroaches are undoubtedly well established within just about every home in the world, at least people can take solace in the fact that cockroaches don’t bite or establish horrifying bodily infestations like chiggers, and certain species of mites and fly larvae. Well, to be perfectly accurate, there is an extremely slim chance that cockroaches will, one day, make a home inside of your body. Unfortunately, it is indeed true that many medical case reports describe instances involving cockroaches crawling into human body cavities.

Cockroaches are generally nuisance pests within homes, but the insects have been documented as causing human disease by spreading pathogens within homes and buildings, but such cases are rare. It is even more rare for cockroaches to climb within a human ear, nose, mouth or other bodily cavity where they maintain a lasting presence, but numerous medical cases describing such instances are not hard to come by. The vast majority of bodily roach infestations occurred after the insects crawled into body cavities at night while the victims had been sleeping, which also happens to be the same time that indoor cockroaches become active, as most species are nocturnal. Some cases saw several roaches invade the intestines of young children that had been living within severely infested conditions. Unfortunately, medical experts claim that such cases occur due to the above mentioned circumstances, and as it happens, roaches find earwax appetizing. So consider earplugs before falling asleep at night.

Have you ever heard of any incident involving arthropod infestations within human bodies?

 

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How Do Drywood And Dampwood Termites Come To Infest Valued Wooden Objects And Structural Timbers If They Don’t Forage Away From Their Nests?

How Do Drywood And Dampwood Termites Come To Infest Valued Wooden Objects And Structural Timbers If They Don’t Forage Away From Their Nests?

It is well known that termites are divided into three different groups that are known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. It is also widely known that subterranean termites are responsible for the majority of termite infestations within structures. In the United States, subterranean termites are responsible for more than 80 percent of all termite infestations in homes and buildings. The most destructive subterranean termite species in the country include the native eastern subterranean termite, the invasive Formosan subterranean termite and western subterranean termite.

Like all social insects, termites live within colonies that are divided into different social castes. Unlike subterranean termite colonies, drywood and dampwood termite colonies do not contain workers that forage below the ground. While all three termite groups contain reproductive swarmers (alates) that establish new colonies as queens and kings, most termite infestations occur when foraging workers locate a structural wood source below the ground. Reproductive alates can also establish infestations by swarming directly to wood sources, but infestations rarely begin this way, as 99 percent of alates die before mating. Since both drywood and dampwood termite colonies do not have a worker caste, only alates can establish infestations. Therefore, drywood and dampwood termite species do not access wood sources nearly as often as subterranean termites.

Generally, termites only swarm once a year during a one to three month period, which gives drywood and dampwood species little chance of establishing infestations within structural wood sources. This explains why subterranean termite infestations occur far more frequently than drywood and dampwood infestations. Drywood termite infestations are common in the southwest, as western drywood termite populations are high within urban and residential areas in the region, particularly in metropolitan areas of Arizona. It should also be noted that drywood termite colonies can move into homes if they infest tree branches that make contact with a home’s structural wood. Many drywood termite infestations start this way, and it explains why so many drywood termite infestations are found on the roofs of houses in the southwest.

Have you ever located a termite-infested tree within or on your property?

 

 

 

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The Elevation Of Urban And Residential Areas Of Arizona Determines When Termite Swarms Emerge

The Elevation Of Urban And Residential Areas Of Arizona Determines When Termite Swarms Emerge

At least 45 termite species have been documented as inhabiting the United States, and 30 of these species are known to inflict damage to structural wood or wood products. While Arizona is home to 17 termite species, only five are considered species of serious economic importance. In addition to causing a greater amount of property damage than any other pest species in the world, termites can also be a nuisance to homeowners. While subterranean and drywood termite workers are responsible for locating and initiating destructive indoor infestations, termite swarmers (alates) can annoy homeowners during the spring and early summer seasons, as swarms are of significant size and they often emerge in residential and urban areas where some species gravitate toward porch lights and street lights.

Termite swarms emerge when queen termites secrete pheromones that prompt reproductive alates to take flight from existing colonies. These swarms are comprised of male and female alates that attempt to find a mate in order to establish new colonies in areas where termites may not normally pose a threat to the structural integrity of homes and buildings. Fortunately, about 99 percent of swarming alates die before establishing a new colony as queen and king. Unfortunately, the alates that do survive often establish new colonies near the artificial light sources that lure them into human-populated areas.

There exists three subterranean termite species in Arizona that are considered highly destructive pests. One of these species, the arid-land subterranean termite, naturally inhabits unpopulated desert regions where they feed on vegetation. One reason as to why this species is becoming progressively more destructive is because new homes and buildings are being built over land where these termites are abundant. When structural developments remove their natural food source, the termites naturally turn to structural wood as their primary source of sustenance. This explains why swarms are so common within and near new homes in Arizona. While experts state that arid-land subterranean termite swarms occur in between the months of January and March, this is not always the case, as swarms emerge at different times of year depending on the elevation where colonies are established. In urban and residential areas below 4,000 feet in Arizona, residents can expect swarms to emerge during the winter and early spring seasons, but at elevations higher than 4,000 feet, arid land subterranean termites swarm during June and July.

Have you ever witnessed a termite swarm in your neighborhood?

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Mayflies And Caddisflies Can Trigger Severe Allergic Reactions In Humans

The insects known as caddisflies and mayflies are abundant in Arizona. These two insects dwell and breed near natural water bodies, and it is not uncommon for mayflies and caddisflies to swarm large populated areas located near lakes and rivers. For example, back in 2015, massive swarms of caddisflies terrorized residents of Bullhead City. This Arizona city is located near the Colorado River, so residents were used to occasional caddisfly swarms. However, the summer of 2015 saw repeat swarms that were so unpleasant that real estate prices in the city dropped drastically, as nobody wanted to retire to the city knowing about the swarms. Mayfly swarms can also be a nuisance for Arizona residents, as one resident of Oak Creek reported a mayfly swarm as large as 30 by 30 meters. At the moment, residents located near Lake Erie in Ohio are being bombarded with repeat mayfly swarms that are literally covering houses. These swarms are large enough to be picked up on weather radar. While it is well known that both caddisflies and mayflies can be a nuisance, their negative effect on human health is not so well known. Much like cockroaches and dust mites, mayflies and caddisflies are two arthropods that can induce allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. In some cases, these insects can induce asthma attacks, hives, skin irritation and eczema.

Given the caddisflies appearance, it should not be surprising to learn that they are closely related to moths and butterflies. Much like moths and butterflies, caddisfly wings are covered in easily detachable scales that serve as airborne allergens. These scales are a source of both indoor and outdoor allergens, and inhaling these scales can induce asthma attacks. Mayflies, on the other hand, do not spread airborne allergens; instead, the discarded skins shed by mayflies serve as environmental allergens. Although their discarded skins are not as readily airborne as the dust-like scales on caddisfly wings, these discarded skins can be blown about in the wind, making it easy for people to inhale this allergen. Mayfly allergens have been shown to induce seasonal asthma symptoms and eczema. Once case report describes in individual who developed “huge” hives as a result of making contact with mayfly allergens. Keeping these insects out of homes is particularly important to prevent the development of allergies or the worsening of existing allergies.

Have you ever witnessed a caddisfly or mayfly swarm?