As Halloween approaches, our thoughts turn to all things dark and creepy. And the one thing people agree is most scary is bugs! Though the majority is harmless unless provoked, here’s a short list of a few in Arizona that will send ghoulish shivers up your spine if you spot them:
There are many species of cicadas in Arizona and the Sonoran Desert, found most commonly at lower elevations and in the cities during midsummer. This insect is actually less scary than its appearance would have you believe. You’ll typically hear the cicada’s mid-toned buzzing sound right around the start of monsoon season. The males make this sound to attract potential mates – and drive humans crazy!
Arizona Bark Scorpion
This pest is creepy-looking and dangerous! It’s skinnier than its less poisonous relatives and adept at climbing. If you get stung by an Arizona bark scorpion, expect pain and discomfort for several hours. The people most at risk from their stings are children, elderly and anyone in poor health. On a positive note, no one has died from a scorpion sting in more than 20 years. Fun Halloween Tip: Scorpions glow under black lights, so keep one handy if you want to look for them … from a distance!
Another scorpion species found in Arizona that’s a little less dangerous in the sting department, but equally as repulsive to look at, is the Giant Hairy Scorpion. At five inches long, he’s larger than the Arizona bark scorpion, and typically comes out at night to eat crickets, spiders and termites (that’s a good thing!).
Generally, scorpions are not malicious creatures that intentionally stalk humans to sting. Scorpions are also not usually aggressive creatures, but rather wary, timid and retiring. Most people are stung by scorpions when they accidently step on them, stick their hands or feet into places that act as shelter for scorpions (such as under rocks, under debris, etc.) or when someone intentionally handles them.
Palo Verde Root Borer
Palo verde beetles can grow up to nearly four inches long (excluding the antennae) and you will see them when they emerge from the ground to mate. They are among the heaviest of flying insects in Arizona and generally do not take flight until after dark. They can live several years, but most of that time is spent as a larva (grub) hidden below ground while tunneling through the roots of trees, especially mesquite and palo verde (hence its name).
Pinacate beetles are often commonly referred to as stink bugs or clown beetles. The name “stinkbug” refers to the malodorous secretion emitted from the insect’s rear end; “clown beetle” alludes to the habit of these beetles to do a “headstand” when threatened. When walking, pinacate beetles, with lowered front ends and raised rears, resemble little low-riders. They typically walk around obstacles and are harmless to people. However, if you poke one and it takes this stance, make a run for it – that’s when they might spray a nasty secretion from up to two feet away that is difficult to wash off.
Are any of these Arizona critters creeping you out? Call a pest control professional and make them disappear.