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Why Many Residents Spot Termite Swarms Near Their Home Within A Year Following A Perimeter Treatment On Their Property

Colonies of subterranean and drywood termites contain numerous individuals that are divided into different groups, or “castes.” The worker caste accounts for the vast majority of individuals within a subterranean termite colony, and they are responsible for foraging, nest construction, and feeding and grooming nestmates. Drywood termite colonies are contained entirely within single wood items, making their habitat and food source one and the same. This makes foraging unnecessary and impossible, as drywood termites never leave the wood items that they colonize. However, nest expansion, nestmate feeding and other laborious tasks are carried out by nymphs, which are similar to workers in subterranean termite colonies.

Both subterranean and drywood termite colonies contain a soldier caste responsible for defending the colony, and of course, all termite colonies contain a queen and king. After a few years of colony maturation, queens produce alates, which are winged reproductives that take flight for a few months each year in order to establish new colonies as queen and king. Homeowners often become alarmed upon witnessing termites swarming within and near their home, especially when swarms are witnessed near homes that have recently undergone a perimeter barrier treatment for the purpose of preventing subterranean termite infestations.

In Arizona, both subterranean termites and drywood termites frequently infest homes, but subterranean termites inflict the greatest amount of damage to homes annually. When it comes to drywood termites, only alates leave the colony, and therefore, only alates initiate infestations in structural wood. Subterranean termite alates, establish new colonies in soil, and almost never in wood; instead, workers infest wood after encountering homes while foraging. The application of termiticide liquid beneath the ground around the perimeter of homes prevents workers from tunneling onto properties.

Oddly enough, it is not uncommon for homeowners to witness termite swarms occur near their home shortly after having a perimeter treatment applied to their property. This can lead homeowners to believe that their home remains vulnerable to termites, and this natural response is referred to as a “panic swarm” in the pest control industry. However, it should be known that the application of termiticide below the ground can put stress on nearby subterranean termite colonies that become exposed to the toxins. In order to ensure survival in these circumstances, swarming rates may increase as a biological response to environmental stress. Swarms should only be of concern when they occur indoors.

 

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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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Where In Homes Do German Cockroaches Mate And Lay Eggs?

The only four cockroach pests that can be found in abundance within all states in the contiguous US are the American, German, Oriental and brown-banded cockroach species. While these four species are the most common cockroach pests found in Arizona homes, the Turkestan cockroach, which can only be found in the southwest, has become one of the ten most commonly managed cockroach species in the US. This is surprising, considering the Turkestan cockroach was first discovered in the US as recently as 1978, while the four most common roach species have all inhabited the US for centuries, with the exception of the brown-banded species. Despite its recent introduction into the US, the Turkestan cockroach is rapidly displacing the Oriental cockroach in urban and suburban areas of the southwest.

While the Turkestan cockroach is like most roach pest species in that it dwells primarily outdoors, the German and brown-banded species dwell primarily indoors. The brown-banded cockroach has only inhabited the US for a little more than a century, while the German cockroach has been a pest in North America since the colonial era. Due to centuries of habitat expansion, the German cockroach is encountered within American homes far more often than the brown-banded cockroach. The German cockroach is easily the most commonly encountered and difficult cockroach pest to eradicate from infested structures, and this is largely due to the species’ resistance to virtually all insecticide formulations.

Although cockroaches do not live in colonies like ants and termites, they are somewhat socially oriented, as they live in groups to maximize resources. Male and female adults also become rather choosy when selecting mates, and they are known to communicate by mutual antennae contact as a courtship ritual. Fertile males and females locate secluded areas, such as narrow cracks and crevices within wall voids, for a proper site in which to mate for a period of 80 minutes or so. German cockroaches proliferate within wall voids and other inaccessible indoor areas rapidly, and females carry their egg cases (ootheca) for days before eventually dropping them shortly before they hatch. This is why homeowners are unlikely to locate German cockroach eggs within infested homes.

Have you ever positively identified a German cockroach specimen within your home?

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How Are Silverfish Able To Survive In Arid Regions Given Their Need For High-Moisture Environments

Lepisma saccharina, more commonly known as “silverfish,” are particularly fast-moving, common, and creepy-looking insect pests of homes. In addition to being an indoor nuisance, silverfish often infest and damage books by chewing holes through pages, and they will readily eat just about any material containing starch, cellulose and glue. Silverfish look more akin to marine animals than insects, as their body is covered in tiny moist scales. These pests are silver to grey in color and around ⅓ of an inch in length. They possess antenna and their body gradually narrows toward the rear. They commonly infest furniture, and books, and sometimes, silverfish are found in kitchen cabinets and pantries where they feed on sugars, meats, and grains. A few silverfish species in the US are considered indoor pests, but L. saccharina is the most widespread and common. Despite their need for humid conditions, silverfish thrive throughout much of the year in arid Arizona where they are often found congregating in moist indoor areas.

Silverfish prefer conditions between 71 and 80 degrees, and while they must maintain a habitat in humid environments, they can survive exposure to a variety of temperatures. Silverfish may invade wall voids where plumbing leaks, and/or condensation from pipes maintain moist conditions. Provided silverfish secure a moist environment, they can reproduce within homes, sometimes leading to massive infestations. After a mating ritual in which sperm is delivered via a silk thread, eggs are deposited within cracks and crevices on walls and other surfaces. Around 30 eggs are produced at a time, and they appear as small clusters of about 12 eggs. Eggs hatch in 90 degree temperatures and mature within a span of 30 to 40 days. Silverfish were one of the earliest species to appear on the planet, as they emerged on earth long before other common insect pests. Because they are primitive organisms, immature offspring that hatch from eggs closely resemble adults, only smaller in size.

Have you ever found silverfish in your home?

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How Do Annual Sting Incidents In Arizona Compare Between Different Venomous Arthropod Species?

How Do Annual Sting Incidents In Arizona Compare Between Different Venomous Arthropod Species?

Yellow jackets and honey bees are responsible for a majority of the medically harmful sting incidents that occur annually in the US. While multiple yellow jacket species in Arizona are known for having been responsible for human deaths, fatalities resulting from honey bee envenomations are particularly common in the state. This is because Arizona sees the greatest abundance of Africanized honey bees or “killer bees,” as they are frequently called. Africanized honey bees are far more aggressive than their common European counterparts, and research shows that virtually all wild honey bees in Arizona are now “Africanized” due to interbreeding. Although bees and wasps are responsible for the highest number of annual sting incidents that trigger dangerous allergic reactions, medically harmful ant stings are by no means uncommon in the US. The red-imported fire ant is the most medically significant ant species found in the US, and luckily, these ants were eradicated from Arizona several years ago. Despite the red-imported fire ant’s absence in Arizona, the state sees a relatively high annual number of ant sting incidents that trigger severe and sometimes deadly allergic reactions.

Multiple species of both native fire ants and harvester ants are responsible for nearly all medically significant ant sting incidents that occur in Arizona, and pest management professionals often collect these dangerous ants from residential properties in the state. From March 2002 to March 2004, 237 ant stings were reported to poison control centers and medical professionals in Arizona, and this number does not count sting incidents that occured in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous region. Therefore, the above-stated number of sting incidents is probably less than half the total number of sting incidens statewide during the same period. For comparison, the total number of scorpion sting incidents reported in Arizona (discluding Maricopa County) during the above stated time period was 4,655, while 623 bee and wasp sting incidents were reported.

Have you ever had to visit the ER after sustaining one or more stings from a venomous arthropod?

 

 

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Why Some Homes See Repeated Spider Infestations While Others Don’t

Spiders do not generally establish extensive infestations within houses and buildings, but a few species are known for congregating in certain areas within homes. Since Arizona is home to the medically significant western black widow species, as well as five recluse spider species, not including the brown recluse, it is important for residents to identify the species of any spider/s that makes repeated appearances indoors. The relative abundance of vegetation, especially overgrown vegetation, surrounding homes is, perhaps, the most significant factor that can influence spider pest infestations within homes.

Spiders are attracted to residential yards due to the prevalence of their insect prey in gardens and lawn-grass. Some spiders capture insect prey with webs, while others have adapted to hunting down spiders on foot. Web-spinning spiders that are frequently found around and within homes include orb weavers, funnel weavers, cobweb spiders, house spiders, and black widows. Hunting spiders that are commonly found around homes include wolf spiders, crab spiders, wandering spiders, ground spiders and tarantulas. Web spinning spiders attach their silken webs to garden plants, tall overgrown weeds, shrubs and other forms of vegetation, while hunting spiders maintain a presence in yards and around gardens due to the abundance of insect food sources in vegetation-rich areas.

Spiders of all kinds are constantly present within all yards, and even in homes, but they become particularly numerous in yards where an abundance of vegetation indicates a high population of insect food sources. When vegetation becomes abundant around a home’s foundation, spiders often find a way indoors through cracks, crevices, crawl spaces, vents and a variety of other external entry points. This is why keeping shrubs and other forms of vegetation around a home’s foundation neatly trimmed will help to prevent spiders from wandering indoors.

Garden beds should be located about a foot away from a home’s foundation, and firewood should never be stacked against a home’s exterior walls. Outdoor lighting attracts insect pests, which in turn, attracts spider pests to homes, but using yellow incandescent and sodium vapor lamps in place of white incandescent and mercury vapor lamps will help to reduce both insect and spider population numbers on a property.

Have you had success at reducing arthropod pests around your home with yellow light bulbs?

 

 

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Silverfish Often Establish Nuisance Infestations Within Homes, But They Can Damage Valuable Indoor Items As Well

Silverfish Often Establish Nuisance Infestations Within Homes, But They Can Damage Valuable Indoor Items As Well

Silverfish are bizarre looking and common insect pests in homes and buildings all over the world. Like their common name suggests, silverfish closely resemble fish, or shrimp-like crustaceans, and they grow to be a relatively sizable ¾ of an inch in body length. Silverfish are capable of living in homes and buildings throughout their life cycle, and females deposit their eggs within indoor cracks and crevices in walls and ledges. Larvae emerge from their eggs within a period of three weeks, and it takes 4 to 6 weeks before larvae develop into adults. Females lay around 100 eggs during their lifetime, and considering that eggs can develop into adults in less than two months, silverfish can become abundant within homes in a relatively short amount of time. Silverfish are particularly common in homes located in dry areas, making silverfish frequent home-invaders in Arizona. While silverfish are largely considered nuisance pests within homes, they can have an economic impact as well, due to their habit of chewing away at certain items, such as paper and stored food.

Silverfish have long lifespans for insects, as they live for a period of 6 to 8 years, and they are able to survive without food for over a year before succumbing to starvation. These pests can survive long periods within homes without being noticed by residents, as silverfish forage at night, and they are able to skitter along floors at fast speeds. However, silverfish require specific conditions in order to survive indoors, and they generally remain on the first floor of homes or in crawl spaces, cellars, and basements. Occasionally silverfish are found in large numbers in attics, but only under certain environmental conditions. These insects prefer to dwell in environments where the temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees, and they are particularly sensitive to moisture, as they require 70 to 90 percent humidity levels in order to survive.

Silverfish are unpleasant to look at and they can become a nuisance in a home when large numbers congregate indoors, but silverfish are also in the habit of seeking out and consuming human food, even unopened packages of stored food items. Silverfish prefer to consume human foods that are rich in carbohydrates and protein, such as flower, dried meat, oatmeal and cereals. These pests also feed on just about any item containing paper, such as books, important documents, photo albums and cardboard boxes. Silverfish also seem to have a taste for glue, which makes the binding of books a preferred snack for the pests.

Have you ever found items in your home that you believe had been damaged by silverfish?

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Pacific Deathwatch Beetles Infest Structural Wood Which Can Lead To Devastating Structural Damages In Some Cases

Pacific Deathwatch Beetles Infest Structural Wood Which Can Lead To Devastating Structural Damages In Some Cases

Termites are not the only wood-infesting insect pests in the United States, as carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and several beetle species in the country are well known for nesting within the structural wood in homes and buildings. Hemicoelus gibbicollis, is one wood-boring beetle species that is common in the southwest. This species is commonly referred to as the Pacific deathwatch beetle, and they are sometimes referred to as powderpost beetles despite this common name being attached to another wood-boring beetle species. Deathwatch beetles prefer to nest within softwoods, such as fir, or within weak, damp and decaying wood sources, which is why infestations are often found in high-moisture areas around homes, particularly in basements, cellars and crawl spaces. However, infestations can occur in a variety of indoor locations including floors, door frames, window sills, rafters, beams, stair railings and furniture. The damage these beetles inflict to wood can be devastating if infestations are not noticed for a long period of time, as infested structural wood has been known to collapse as a result of being hollowed out by deathwatch beetle larvae.

Once adult deathwatch beetles emerge from pupation during the spring, females place their eggs within narrow cracks and pores on natural and structural wood sources. Once larvae emerge from the eggs, they bore into wood where they excavate long tunnels, eventually causing infested wood to become hollow and in urgent need of replacement. Deathwatch beetles can remain in their larval stage for months or even years depending on environmental conditions, and larvae can also overwinter within structural wood before emerging. Larval feeding within wood produces a sawdust-like material that the larvae tightly pack within their tunnels, sometimes resulting in a blistered appearance on the surface of infested wood. Eventually, pupation takes place within the tunnels, causing newly formed adults to break through the surface of wood in order to fly away. Larvae inhabiting structural wood communicate with each other through tapping sounds which can be heard under some circumstances within infested homes. Centuries ago, many people interpreted this tapping as the ticking sounds made by a clock. This “ticking” indicated that an elderly or sickly person’s death was fast approaching, and this is how the insect pests got their common name.

Have you ever heard sounds produced by any type of insect pest within a home, with the exception of chirping crickets?

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Arizona Is The State That Sees The Greatest Number Of Venomous Arthropod Species

Arizona Is The State That Sees The Greatest Number Of Venomous Arthropod Species

Generally, warmer regions of the world see a greater number of venomous arthropods than colder regions of the world. Knowing this, it should not come as a surprise to learn that Arizona sees the greatest number of venomous arthropod species when compared to the other 49 US states, at least according to the Hazardous Animal Database. This database was created by the Armed Forces Pest Management Board, and it includes 500 venomous species worldwide that have been known to cause serious injury or death to humans.

Venomous arthropods in Arizona include scorpions, tarantulas, honey bees, wasps and spiders. There are several scorpion and tarantula species in Arizona, but none of these species will cause serious medical complications or fatalities except for the Arizona bark scorpion. Honey bee stings have led to hospitalizations and fatalities all over the US, but Arizona is one of only a few states where the aggressive and often deadly Africanized honey bee resides. In fact, studies show that all Arizona honey bees are now “Africnaized” due to nearly 30 years of interbreeding between common honey bees and Africanized honey bees.

The potentially deadly southern black widow species is abundant in Arizona, and the non-native brown widow has been spotted throughout the southern half of the state. Brown widows are not quite as dangerous as black widows, but their bites should not be taken lightly, and fatalities have occurred in response to brown widow bites. While the notoriously harmful and potentially deadly brown recluse cannot be found in Arizona, five other recluse species inhabit the state, out of the 13 total found in the US. This makes Arizona home to more recluse species than can be found in any other state.

The five brown recluse species in Arizona include L. apachea and L. sabina in the far southeastern corner of the state and L. kaipa, L. deserta, and L. arizonica in the western half of the state. With the exception of L. arizonica and L. deserta, these recluse species dwell in uninhabited regions where they are not likely to be encountered by people. However, a few documented reports described bites by other recluse species in the US as being just as harmful as brown recluse bites. Of all venomous arthropods in Arizona, Africanized honey bees cause the most annual fatalities.

Have you ever encountered a venomous arthropod?

 

 

 

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Medical Professionals Are Perplexed Over The Massive Bug Bite Injury That A Chandler Man Sustained At His Home

Medical Professionals Are Perplexed Over The Massive Bug Bite Injury That A Chandler Man Sustained At His Home

Residents of Arizona are surrounded by arthropods that can inflict dangerous bites or stings. The amount of arthropod species in Arizona that are capable of sending humans to the hospital are too numerous to be named here, but some species include harvester ants, striped-bark scorpions, western black widows, Africanized honey bees, yellow jackets and three recluse spider species have been documented in the state. These recluse spider species include the desert recluse, the Arizona recluse and the Apache recluse, but these spiders, while venomous, maintain a habitat only in wild areas that are not populated by humans. The highly venomous harvester ant species is also not often found within residential yards, but evenommations have occurred in response to humans stepping on their nesting mounds while hiking.

The most medically significant arthropods in Arizona include airborne insects, namely mosquitoes, but stinging airborne insects are particularly dangerous, as they attack in swarms that see victims sustain numerous stings. Nearly all wild honey bees in Arizona have become “Africananized” through interbreeding, and multiple yellow jacket species often swarm residential areas during the fall. This makes bees and yellow jackets the deadliest of all arthropods in Arizona. However, not long ago an Arizona man sustained either a bite or sting from an arthropod that caused a massive injury unlike anything doctors had ever seen, and to this day, the identity of the species that bit the man remains a mystery.

Back in July of 2017, a resident of Chandler, Thomas Jay, had been taking out his garbage when he felt a sudden “pinch” on his arm. Jay immediately brushed the bug off his arm in response to the sudden pain, but unfortunately, he did not get a good look at the arthropod specimen. The injury inflicted by the bug started as a small red circle, but within hours several large purple bruises appeared on his arm. Jay visited two urgent care facilities, but doctors were baffled over the symptoms, and were not able to diagnose his condition, as his left arm looked as though it had been repeatedly run over by a truck. All medical professionals were unable to provide even an educated guess as to which arthropod species may have inflicted the bite, but Jay’s wife believes that a specimen from the Solifugae order of arachnids inflicted the bite. In Arizona, these arachnids are commonly encountered in and around homes, and they can be intimidating due to their large size and appearance, which resembles a cross between a spider and a scorpion. These arachnids are frequently referred to as “camel spiders,” and while they do possess pinching mouthparts, they do not carry venom, and they rarely inflict bites to humans.

Since the specimen was found on trash, do you believe that Jay was bitten by a camel spider that may have transmitted bacteria into his arm that caused the bruising?