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How To Tell The Difference Between The Most Dangerous Scorpion Species That Are Frequently Found Within And Around Arizona Homes

Dozens of scorpion species inhabit the United States, the majority of which can be found west of the Mississippi River. Most scorpion species dwell far away from urban areas, and are only active at night, making them unlikely to be encountered by humans. In fact, new scorpion species are discovered in the southwest US frequently, and of the 70 to 75 species already documented in the country, experts believe many more species have yet to be discovered. Only four scorpion species are regularly encountered in urban and suburban areas of Arizona, and they are the only scorpion species that are considered pests in the state. These species are named: Hadrurus arizonensis, Centruroides exilicauda (formerly C. sculpturatus), Hoffmannius or Vaejovis coahuila and Vaejovis spinigerus, and they are more commonly known as the “desert hairy scorpion,” the “Arizona bark scorpion,” the “yellow-ground scorpion,” and the “stripe-tailed” or “devil scorpion,” respectively. Of These four species, only the Arizona bark scorpion is considered medically significant.

Due to not being well described in academic literature, many sources make no mention of yellow-ground scorpions as being common pests in Arizona, but these medically harmless scorpions are commonly found within and around homes in the southern half of the state. The desert hairy scorpion stands out among scorpion pests for its relatively massive size, which can exceed 6 inches in length. Although these scorpions are intimidating to look at, their stings are not terribly painful and they are not medically significant, but those with venom allergies may experience distressed breathing, swelling and other symptoms in response to stings.

Yellow-ground scorpions are commonly mistaken for Arizona bark and devil scorpions, as all three species are usually slightly less than three inches in length and are of similar color. However, yellow-ground and devil scorpions are a bit more robust than Arizona bark scorpions, and the back and underside of the tail of the devil scorpion features dark horizontal stripes that both Arizona bark and yellow-ground scorpions lack. Arizona bark and yellow-ground scorpions both have a similar light brown to yellowish body color, and their pincers are longer than those of devil scorpions, but yellow-ground scorpions have a lighter colored back and a bulkier tail than Arizona bark scorpions. It is also important to mention that the Arizona bark scorpion is the only scorpion species that does not burrow and is a capable climber of vertical surfaces. This is why Arizona bark scorpions often congregate on the exterior walls of homes, fall from ceilings, and are commonly found in attics, while the other species are generally found only on the ground, especially within shoes and underneath furniture.

Have you ever put on a shoe that had been occupied by a scorpion?

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Top 10 Termite Prevention Tips

Top 10 Termite Prevention Tips | Phoenix Termite Control

  1. Eliminate or reduce moisture in and around the home, which termites need to thrive.
  2. Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and exterior AC units.
  3. Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles.
  4. Replace weather stripping and loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  5. Divert water away from the house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  6. Routinely inspect the foundation of a home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), uneven or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  7. Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
  8. Maintain an 18-inch gap between soil and any wood portions of your home.
  9. Consider scheduling a professional inspection annually. Wood-boring insect damage is not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies.
  10. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.

Termites cannot be controlled with do-it-yourself measures. If you s

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The Important Difference Between Tramp Ants And Invasive Ants

The Important Difference Between Tramp Ants And Invasive Ants, And Why Each Are Becoming More Common As Pests Of Homes In Arizona

All ant species are native to one particular ecoregion, but many ant species have established habitats outside of their native range. For example, the well known red-imported fire ant is native to central South America, but they have become well established in North America, Australia, China and New Zealand. A significant proportion of ant species that are known pests of homes in the United States originate from foreign regions, such as pavement ants and ghost ants. Foreign ant species that have a negative impact on the environments where they have become established are known as “invasive ants,” and most non-native ant species in the US are invasive including big headed ants, Argentine ants, Tawny crazy ants, Asian needle ants, red-imported fire ants, and black imported fire ants.

Some ant species have managed to establish thriving populations in virtually every inhabited region of the world. These worldwide species are appropriately known as “tramp ants,” and they include Pharaoh ants, longhorn crazy ants, little fire ants, ghost ants, odorous house ants, big headed ants, white-footed ants and Argentine ants. With the exception of little fire ants, all of these tramp ant species are among the top ten most commonly managed ant pests within US homes. Of the nearly 15,000 ant species that have been documented worldwide, only 40 to 50 are pests, and many of these ant pests are tramp species.

In the United States, pavement ants, odorous house ants, and multiple carpenter ant species are the most common ant pests of homes. While all of these ant pests are abundant in Arizona, they are not the most commonly managed ant pest species within homes; instead, Solenopsis xyloni and Forelius pruinosus are the two most common ant pest species of homes in the state. The former species is commonly known as the southern fire ant, while the latter species has not yet been given a common name. Increased urbanization has led to an increase in ant pest species, especially invasive ants. For example, the invasive dark rover ant species has become one of the most frequently encountered ant pests within Arizona homes. Harvester ants, such as Maricopa and red fire ants used to dwell within uninhabited areas of the Sonoran Desert, but as a result of urban expansion into desert areas, these two species have become very common pests within residential yards in Arizona.

Have you ever sustained stings from harvester ants?

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The Brown Rover Ant Is An Invasive Pest Species That Is Becoming More Abundant In Residential Areas

The Brown Rover Ant Is An Invasive Pest Species That Is Becoming More Abundant In Residential Areas

Ants that belong to the Brachymyrmex genus are commonly referred to as rover ants, and many species can be found in Arizona including B. patagonicus (formerly known as B. musculus), which is one of the most commonly encountered ant pest of homes in the state. These ant pests are extremely difficult to control due to their habit of invading homes in enormous numbers where they often establish multiple nests within areas that cannot be easily inspected, such as wall voids, ceiling voids, crowded storage rooms and tight attic spaces. The dark rover ant is also difficult to control because it’s an invasive species that was only recently introduced into the United States less than two decades ago. Pest control professionals must understand the biology, foraging habits, and nesting behaviors of the ant pests that they aim to control, which makes controlling the unfamiliar dark rover ant species a particularly challenging task. Unfortunately, another largely unknown non-native rover ant species has become a very common pest in Arizona homes, and its nearly identical in appearance to its dark rover ant relative. This species, B. obsurior, forages in homes where they are also able to establish nests within inaccessible areas.

obsurior, is commonly referred to as the brown rover ant, and like most other rover ant species, workers of the dark rover ant species are exceedingly small at only 1 to 2 mm in length. Workers vary in color from pale yellow to brown, and they nest within soil and moist wood. Workers often invade homes from multiple colony nests located in the surrounding property, and they prefer to feed on sweet-tasting foods. Brown rover ants also seem to thrive in moist conditions, and indoor nests have been found in boxes situated near water heaters and sinks. It has recently been learned that these ants can be transported onto properties within store-bought bags of mulch, and into homes within potted plants.

Have you ever experienced an indoor pest problem that originated from indoor potted plants?

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How Common Are Carpenter Ant Pests Relative To Other Ant House Pests In Arizona

How Common Are Carpenter Ant Pests Relative To Other Ant House Pests In Arizona, And How Can The Most Common Carpenter Ant Pests In The State Be Recognized?

Numerous carpenter ant species can be found throughout the United States including well over a dozen species that are known pests of households. Carpenter ants belong to the Camponotus genus, and nearly all species are notable for establishing nests within decayed natural wood sources, and occasionally, sound wood sources, such as trees, stumps, logs, tree hollows and fallen branches. Unfortunately, many of the carpenter ant species that are known pests frequently establish nests within structural wood and other finished wood sources.

Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not consume wood; instead, they excavate long tunnels within wood solely for nesting. Much like termites, carpenter ants weaken structural wood components, and they generally nest within moist and decayed wood, but workers often nest within sound structural wood as well. The two most common carpenter ant pests in Arizona are Camponotus modoc, and  C. hyatti, the first of which is commonly known as the “black western carpenter ant,” and the latter has not been given a common name.

A recent nationwide survey of pest control professionals found carpenter ants to be the most commonly managed ant pests within homes. The most destructive carpenter ant species in the US, the black carpenter ant, cannot be found in Arizona, but the western black carpenter ant is abundant in Arizona, and it’s considered the second most common and damaging carpenter ant species in the country. Luckily for Arizona residents, there exists a relatively small number of carpenter ant pest species in the state, and harvester ants, southern fire ants, pyramid ants, leaf cutting ants, longhorn crazy ants and odorous house ants are found in Arizona homes more often than carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants are one of the largest bodied ant species in the US, as workers from both the western black carpenter ant and C. hyatti species are around ¼ to ½ of an inch in length. The western black carpenter species ant is by far the most common carpenter ant pest in Arizona, and workers of this species can be recognized by their black bodies and reddish legs. C. hyatti is not considered a major structural pest, and workers of this species can be recognized for their shiny black, and occasionally, reddish-brown body color.

Have you ever found unusually large ants in your home?

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Which Ant Pests Are Able To Establish Colonies Within Arizona Homes?

Several insect species in Arizona are considered pests within human dwellings, but not all insect pest species in the state are able to survive and reproduce within homes for indefinite periods of time. This is the case when it comes to seasonal insect house pests, such as boxelder bugs, elm leaf beetles, and cluster flies. These insect pests invade homes in large numbers during the fall in order to overwinter, but they are unable to reproduce indoors, and unless they eventually re-establish an outdoor presence, they will perish within homes. However, the most common and pestiferous insect pests commonly found in Arizona homes, like cockroaches, termites, house flies, bed bugs, carpet beetles, and many ant species, establish reproductive populations indoors. These insect pests are able to establish lasting indoor infestations that can be difficult to eradicate.

Some of the most common ant pests in Arizona that are able to establish indoor nests that contain reproductive queens include southern fire ants, thief ants and carpenter ants. Most indoor nesting ant pests species, such as southern fire ants and carpenter ants, can only establish thriving indoor colonies if they establish nests within moist areas. Unlike southern fire ants, carpenter ants establish nests within moist structural wood within homes, but just like southern fire ants, carpenter ants usually establish nests outside of wood within moist wall voids in bathrooms, around plumbing and near water heaters. These two pests also feed on indoor food sources. Of course, indoor thief ants must also be well hydrated in order to thrive within homes, but these pests tend to nest indoors in order to regularly feed on a variety of human food sources. These food sources include meats, cheeses and grease. While all these ant pests, and the majority of others, are able to nest indoors, they may also nest within soil and damp tree hollows located near the foundation of homes. In these cases, ant pests enter homes from outside nests solely to seek water and human food sources.

Have you ever experienced pest issues with southern fire ants?

 

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Bed Bug Infestation Rates Are Increasing Dramatically In Arizona, And The Pests Seem More Resilient Than Ever

For the past two decades, bed bug infestation rates have been steadily increasing throughout the United States and most of the world. In fact, bed bugs are even expanding their range into Alaska where they are becoming significant pests in isolated rural villages. In Arizona, bed bug infestations have been common in apartments and single family homes for over a decade, but in recent years the pests have been appearing in government buildings, businesses, public buses, dormitories and many other high traffic public locations.

In response to growing bed bug infestations in Arizona apartment buildings and smaller multi-unit housing complexes several years ago, state lawmakers passed a law in 2014 that requires landlords to pay for bed bug treatments in circumstances where the pests invade more than one rental unit. This law also requires renters to promptly report bed bug issues when they occur in a rental unit, and if a renter neglects to do this, or attempts to eliminate the pests his/herself, he/she could be made liable for the total cost of eliminating the infestation.

Toward the end of 2017, pest control professionals removed three benches from the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix after multiple treatment efforts failed to eradicate the pests. Several years earlier, bed bugs were found on the same type of padded benches in a different area of the airport, and this case also saw the eventual removal of the infested seats. Earlier that same year, experts declared Phoenix to be the 7th most bed bug-infested city in the US, and this year, the New York Library Association published an article describing the alarming increase in bed bug infestations in Arizona’s public libraries. The most recent bed bug fiasco in Arizona that has made national news involves the long running infestation at the Phoenix Department of Economic Security.

A few months ago, employees at the DES building discovered that bed bugs were active in their workplace, which prompted management to hire pest control professionals in order to have the pests eliminated. However, bed bug issues, such as bites and employees bringing the pests home with them, continued for weeks, which eventually motivated a group of employees to describe the situation to a local news station. Once the story became public, management decided to vacate the building in order to have more aggressive treatments carried out.

While the building remained empty for extensive treatments, employees worked remotely from home, but upon returning to the building ten days later, they found that the bed bug infestation had spread to new areas. Now government officials are paying to have bed bugs eradicated from employee homes, as many individuals in the building left work with bed bugs on their clothing. The agency is also working with experts at the University of Arizona and the Department of Health and Human Services in order to fully eradicate the bed bug pests from the building.

Have you noticed that more people are claiming to have experienced issues with bed bugs?

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Everything Residents Need To Know About Fabric Pest Control Involving Home Cleaning And Professional Dry Cleaning

Everything Residents Need To Know About Fabric Pest Control Involving Home Cleaning And Professional Dry Cleaning

It is not uncommon to find moths hovering around porch lights, and they can be an occasional nuisance in homes, but they are not typically found in dark closets, attics or storage rooms. However, some moth species often invade homes where they infest and damage clothing and other fabrics. When moths are found fluttering near clothing, carpeting, fur, rugs and other textiles, a clothes moth infestation has likely been established. In addition to clothes moths, many beetle species are known fabric pests. Fabric pest infestations are tremendously difficult to manage, but there are several ways in which homeowners can prevent and control fabric pest infestations.

Both beetle and moth species that feed on keratin in textiles and other manmade products are categorized as “fabric pests.” While fabric pests readily feed on fabrics that contain keratin like wool, silk, cashmere and even leather, they will also obtain nutrients by consuming perspiration that has been absorbed in dirty clothing and furniture upholstery. Fabric pests also readily eat rugs, kennel upholstery, and carpeting due to the large amount of pet fur, human hair, nail clippings, dead skin and other forms of biological waste accumulate on these fabric sources.

The first step in fabric pest management is cleaning out infested rooms and inspecting all fabrics for damage or for the presence of beetle or moth larvae. Beetle larvae are commonly referred to as “grubs,” and they somewhat resemble white maggots, only grubs are often shaped more like a bean, and some species are covered in thick hairs. Moth larvae are commonly referred to as “caterpillars,” and most people can recognize caterpillar pests by their small worm-like bodies that feature varying patterns of prickly hairs. All infested items should be discarded, and infested rooms should be vacuumed, dusted and thoroughly sanitized to prevent the pests from returning.

Having infested clothing dry-cleaned will eliminate fabric pests, and while home-washing appliances will eliminate fabric pests, it is recommended that infested clothing be dried outdoors in the sun where the natural light is hazardous to the pests. Before storing clothing, furs and textiles, all items that contain keratin should be dry-cleaned, as doing so will protect the clothing from fabric pest damage.

Have you ever found moths fluttering about in your home?

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How Drywood Termite Control Methods Have Evolved Over The Course Of History

It is difficult to determine when in human history termites started to become economically damaging insect pests, but evidence suggests that termite pest issues pre-date the advent of modern timber-framed homes. Archeological evidence and cave drawings indicate that indigenous Australian aborigines were not strangers to termite damage, as they exploited the insect’s wood-eating habits to create a musical instrument known as a didgeridoo. During the 17th century, biologists began choosing names for termite species that reflected their habit of damaging wood. For example, one of the earliest names for a termite species was Termes destructor, which translates to “destroyer of wood.” However, research publications that describe termites as pests of woodwork did not appear until the 19th century.

The earliest examples of research literature on termite pests focus mainly on subterranean termites, and not drywood or dampwood termites. The first research publications that documented drywood termite species in North America appeared in the 1920s, and this decade saw the establishment of the first termite-control organization in California. By the 1930s, a global research organization was formed for the purpose of describing termite species and the damage they cause. The research conducted by members of this organization was published in a book about the management of termite pests, and several chapters were devoted solely to drywood termites.

The earliest pest control company that managed drywood termite pest issues emerged in southern California back in 1905. The first recorded use of fumigants for insect pest control date back to the 1870s, and fumigants were used by early pest control companies to eradicate drywood termite infestations. Surprisingly, fumigations are still the most common method of drywood termite control, but today, spot treatments are frequently used as an alternative to full-structure fumigations.

While control methods for most insect pests have evolved considerably since the establishment of the pest control industry, there has been relatively little innovation when it comes to drywood termite control. This is mostly due to the difficulty in detecting and eliminating drywood termite infestations. Since drywood termite colonies permanently inhabit the inner cavities of wood where they cannot be seen or accessed, there are only so many ways of controlling the pests. Over the last century, numerous drywood termite control methods have been proposed and tested including high heat treatments using propane heaters, freeze treatments using liquid nitrogen, electrocution using the patented “electro gun,” and even microwaves.

Have you ever suspected your home of being infested with drywood termites?