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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?

 

 

 

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Which Mosquito Species In Arizona Pose A Health Threat To Residents

Which Mosquito Species In Arizona Pose A Health Threat To Residents? And Which Species Can Become A Nuisance Within Homes In The State?

The United States is home to 150 mosquito species, more than 40 of which can be found in the state of Arizona. It may be hard for some residents to believe that so many mosquito species inhabit the state, but most of these species are completely absent from urban areas. Culex mosquitoes and floodwater mosquitoes are the two main categories of mosquito in Arizona, but the non-native aedes aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for the greatest number of mosquito-borne disease cases in the Americas, has also established a presence in urban and suburban areas in the state. There exists six mosquito pest species that pose a health threat to residents of Arizona, and some can even become a nuisance within homes and yards.

The six medically significant mosquito species that are present within populated areas of Arizona are western encephalitis mosquitoes, southern house mosquitoes, yellow fever mosquitoes, malaria mosquitoes, inland floodwater mosquitoes, and dark rice field mosquitoes. The southern house mosquito can be identified by a design on its abdomen that consists of five distinct lines. Not only are these mosquitoes a nuisance due to their large swarms and the loud buzzing noises that they produce, but they also pose a health threat to both humans and pets. This species is a vector for the west Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis, and they can transmit nematodes that cause dog heartworm in pets and several encephalitis viruses in humans.

The inland floodwater mosquito is one of the most abundant mosquito species in the world and they cause more nuisance infestations than any other mosquito species. These mosquitoes are also notable for inflicting repeated bites and they can spread west Nile virus, western equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, and dog heartworm. The inland floodwater mosquito attacks humans in large swarms at dusk, and they can be recognized for the pale brown V-shaped design on their abdomen. These mosquitoes are particularly numerous in residential and urban areas of southern Arizona.

Have you ever been swarmed by mosquitoes while on your property?

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How To Know If A Particular Home In Arizona Has Ever Been Infested With Termites, And Do New Homes In The State Require Preventative Termite Treatment?

How To Know If A Particular Home In Arizona Has Ever Been Infested With Termites, And Do New Homes In The State Require Preventative Termite Treatment?

Both drywood and subterranean termite species exist within Arizona, but subterranean termites are far more destructive to homes and buildings than drywood termite species in the state. The most destructive termite species in Arizona is the desert subterranean termite, and they are particularly abundant in the southern half of the state. Due to Arizona’s mild winters and picturesque landscapes, the state’s population continues to grow. Most people who move to Arizona likely plan to buy a home, and certain areas of the state contain many vacation homes that are frequently purchased by “snow-birds” who spend most of the year in other states. Understandably, it is important to investigate a house’s history of termite infestations and damage before purchasing a home in Arizona. Luckily, it is not hard to access a house’s history of termite-related issues, as all termite inspections carried out within Arizona homes are documented and made available to the public.

When a house is inspected for termites in Arizona, the pest controller specifically records their findings in Termite Action Report Form (TARF). This form is then submitted to the state’s Pest Management Division (PMD) so that it can be viewed by anyone with an interest in purchasing a home in Arizona. However, a particular home’s TARF is only available for public viewing for a period of three years, and after this time span, records are no longer available to members of the public. In order to search for a particular Arizona home’s TARF, the home’s address can be typed into a search bar on the Arizona Department of Agriculture website. Although homes in Arizona are not required by law to be inspected for termites before being sold on the market, lending agencies in the state will not issue loans to home-buyers unless a termite inspection report is submitted to them. Also, most new homes in Arizona are built with a surrounding termiticide barrier that prevents subterranean termites from accessing properties.

Do you think that termite infestation rates will increase in Arizona has more homes are built on termite-rich desert land?

 

 

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Well Over 1,000 Scorpion Sting Cases Have Been Reported In Arizona During 2019

Well Over 1,000 Scorpion Sting Cases Have Been Reported In Arizona During 2019

The types of pests that invade homes in the United States vary tremendously depending on the region. For example, according to Census Bureau data, around 15 percent of households in New York City are infested with rats, while cockroaches, another abundant pest in the Big Apple, are present within only 16 percent of households in the city. However, in Phoenix, only 3 percent of homes are believed to be infested with rats, but a whopping 20 percent of homes in the city are infested with cockroaches. Although cockroaches are abundant across the US, most people would likely be surprised to learn that a sprawling Arizona city sees a greater number of roach-infested households than New York, especially since Phoenix is nearly one eighth of New York City’s size in terms of population. As much as cockroaches are hated, at least they don’t inflict venomous stings that could send humans to the hospital. Unfortunately, for Arizona residents, scorpions also invade homes during the spring and summer months in the state, and they are not gracious guests. Two years ago, Arizona’s only two poison control centers reported that around 12,000 people per year sustain scorpion stings in the state. Since the start of the 2019 year, more than 1,000 scorpion stings have been reported in all Arizona counties except for Maricopa, which alone contains more than half of Arizona’s entire population.

In addition to being very painful and even life-threatening, scorpion stings can also lead to hefty hospital bills. For example, back in 2012, Marcie Evans was billed 83,000 dollars for a much-needed dose of antivenom after she sustained a sting from a bark scorpion. Bark scorpions are the most venomous scorpions in Arizona, and they also account for the greatest amount of sting cases reported in the state. The Valley had long been a natural scorpion habitat until the region was settled by humans over a century ago. This partly explains why scorpion sting cases are particularly high in Maricopa County, but as it turns out, bark scorpions are one of the few scorpion species that are not only capable, but also seem to enjoy crawling up a home’s interior and exterior vertical walls. Strong insecticides can take care of indoor scorpion infestations, but Arizona residents should always be mindful of their surroundings, as scorpions sometimes appear in urban centers of the state.

Have you ever found a scorpion crawling on you, but did not sustain a sting?