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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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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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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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The Small Flies That Arizona Residents Often Mistake For Fleas Or Chiggers

Flies are disgusting and annoying insect pests that are, unfortunately, all to common within homes. In Arizona, one of the most common fly pests belonging to the Diptera order are commonly known as no-see-ums, also known as sandflies or biting midges. No-see-ums belong to the Ceratopogonidae family, which consists of more than 5,000 species that span all regions of the world, even polar regions. The no-see-ums that exist in Arizona and the rest of the southwest belong to the Culicoides genus. This genus includes species that are known for facilitating the spread of disease. While no-see-ums in Arizona are not considered disease vectors, they can still spread disease causing bacteria to humans and human food sources. When these insects bite, their saliva is injected into the human bloodstream, causing initial pain and lasting irritation. Persistent scratching of bite wounds has been known to lead to infection.

No-see-ums are nearly invisible to the naked eye, and they are sometimes referred to as gnats. Despite their small size, these insects are known for inflicting painful and irritating bites. Each year, entomologists who specialize in pest control at the University of Arizona’s extension office receive numerous calls from residents who believe that they have been bitten by fleas or chiggers. However, after discussing the bite wounds and symptoms with residents, the entomologists learn that these residents were actually bitten by no-see-ums.

Since no-see-ums are no larger than 1/16 of an inch in body length, they can easily fly through window screens before biting residents within their homes. The presence of these insects are virtually impossible to prevent within homes, but keeping garbage and open food sources minimal can go a long way to prevent these insects from becoming an issue within homes. No-see-ums are most active in Arizona during the summer months in the morning and early afternoon.

Have you ever found what you believe were no-see-ums within your home?

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Arizona Residents And Experts Are Perplexed By Massive Swarms Of Flies Invading Neighborhood Homes

Arizona Residents And Experts Are Perplexed By Massive Swarms Of Flies Invading Neighborhood Homes

Arizona is home to several fly species, some of which can cause nuisance infestations within homes, while others can even be dangerous. Most fly species are well adapted to a number of different climatic conditions and many species can be found in every nook and cranny of the United States. In Arizona, some of the most problematic fly pests include fruit flies, vinegar flies, and stable flies. Fruit flies and vinegar flies prefer to feed on the various fruits that grow from trees within the Sonoran desert, while stable flies can inflict painful bites that can take a chuck out of human skin. Other flies, like several bee fly species, are harmless to humans and are recognized as important pollinators. However, late last year, residents of a west Valley neighborhood in Buckeye fell victim to a massive invasion of nuisance flies that swarmed into homes where they terrorized residents for weeks. Although this fly invasion was regarded as “mysterious” by locals, it is not uncommon for massive fly swarms to invade Arizona neighborhoods during the late summer and even into the fall season.

During the spring of 2016, residents of Goodyear were helpless to prevent swarms of flies from entering their homes. The next year also saw a boom in pest control calls from residents who had been complaining about fly infestations within their homes. And late last year Maricopa County officials received dozens of calls from concerned residents just moments after thousands of flies descended upon a west Valley neighborhood. A few years ago, experts ascertained that these fly invasions were occuring due to the a large nearby farm where livestock and manure are plentiful. Naturally, flies are attracted to these conditions, but the latest fly invasion seemed unusually massive even when considering this factor. Maricopa County officials received nearly forty calls from residents asking about the fly swarms within a two week timeframe. Unfortunately, seasonal fly swarms usually occur at least once each year in many areas of Arizona, but infestations can be controlled by maintaining clean living conditions and having a good pest control professional.

Have you ever witnessed a flies swarming within your home?

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You May Be Surprised To Learn Which Insects Are Most Problematic For Arizona Residents

Many people living in the northern United States prefer to avoid the freezing cold climate in their region by traveling south for the season. Arizona is a popular destination for these “snowbirds” during the winter, but during the summer, most Arizona cities become too hot for most people’s comfort. Due to Arizona’s extreme desert heat, residents of the state seek refuge within their air conditioned homes, but unfortunately, so do arachnids and insects. According to Dr. Kirk Smith with the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department, there are five different bugs that Arizona natives often find within their homes during the summer, and one or two of these common household bugs may come as a surprise to even Arizonans.

It is no secret that scorpions are well adapted to the desert landscape in Arizona, but even these arachnids have a hard time tolerating the hottest summer days in the state. Cotton plantations and citrus trees were a common feature of the pre-urban Arizona landscape, and it is believed that scorpions established habitats in these areas. Despite the proliferation of urban developments, scorpion habitats remain largely unchanged in the state, which is why certain urban and suburban areas of Arizona are more vulnerable to scorpion infestations and envenomations than other areas. For example, several neighborhoods in Mesa still contain clusters of citrus trees, and not surprisingly, scorpions are often found in the homes located near these trees.

Many people assume that mosquitoes are not an issue in Arizona due to the dry climate in the state, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Maricopa County officials have anti-mosquito foggings conducted regularly just to keep the bloodsucking insect populations in check. And since Arizona does not usually undergo a seasonal freeze, mosquito populations are not killed off during the winter season, resulting in high mosquito populations come spring. Dr. Smith also placed ticks on his list of top five bugs to look out for during Arizona summers, as ticks have been found within high elevation cities, such as Sedona, Payson and Flagstaff. So ticks are not just a problem for New Englanders, as many assume.

Have you ever spotted a tick embedded within your skin in Arizona?





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One Of The Most Difficult Insect Pests To Eradicate From A Home Are Abundant Within Arizona

It is not uncommon for pest control professionals in Arizona to receive calls from concerned residents about small black bugs with orange spots infesting various areas of a home. These creatures are commonly known as carpet beetles, and they are notorious for being one of the most difficult insect pests to control within homes and buildings. Unfortunately, there exists three carpet beetle species in Arizona. These species are commonly known as the varied carpet beetle, the black carpet beetle and the furniture carpet beetle.

Most of the carpet beetle specimens that are brought into the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension offices by residents hoping to have the insects identified originated either from inhabited homes or from storage areas where keratin-rich materials, like feathers and certain textiles, are abundant. When carpet beetles invade homes they plant their eggs on any sort of material containing keratin. Keratin is a fibrous structural protein found in hair, skin, animal furs, clothing textiles, dried plant matter, rugs, carpeting and a variety of other materials. These materials are targeted by adult carpet beetles looking to plant their eggs within a keratin-rich environment that will supply their developing larvae with an abundance of food after they emerge from their eggs.

Carpet beetles inflict damage to clothing that is similar in appearance to the damage that some moth species inflict on clothing. But carpet beetle damage is usually clustered in one area of clothing or carpet, while moth damage is more sporadic. Unlike moth pests, carpet beetles shed their exoskeletons when they molt. These brown-colored and shell-like exoskeleton castings are usually visible within an area where the larvae had caused damage. The presence of these castings allow residents and pest control experts to discern carpet beetle damage from other forms of insect damage.

Carpet beetles are difficult to control, as these insects can find food in a variety of different locations, and they disperse rapidly throughout a structure. The most effective way to prevent carpet beetle infestations is to reduce the amount of lint, hair, dead plant matter, dead insect matter and any other forms of matter within a home that carpet beetles feed upon. It is particularly important to eliminate all spider and cobwebs from within a home, as these webs provide carpet beetles with a substantial amount of sustenance. Regular dusting and vacuuming can greatly reduce a homeowner’s chances of falling victim to a carpet beetle infestation.

Have you ever found a large amount of insects within your home that you could not identify?

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Why The Arachnid Population Explosion During Arizona’s Monsoon Season Attracts Thousands Of People To The State Every Year

Why The Arachnid Population Explosion During Arizona’s Monsoon Season Attracts Thousands Of People To The State Every Year

Arachnids, like spiders and scorpions, are hard to come by in the concrete jungles of Arizona’s most urbanized locations. In fact, the downtown centers in cities like Phoenix and Tucson make even local residents forget that they are living within a desert that contains some of the world’s best known creepy-crawlies. It can be shocking to consider the millions of arachnids that are active just outside of these urban centers, but suburbanites in the state encounter these critters regularly. It is not uncommon for Arizona residents to hunt scorpions at night with the assistance of a black light that makes the creatures glow. However, during monsoon season, and for a few weeks afterward, tarantulas are sometimes spotted crawling into urban landscapes. They are spotted more frequently in suburban homes during this time of year as well. This is due to the arachnid population explosion that occurs during monsoon season, as the heavy rains and lingering moisture allow for vegetation and arthropod life in the Sonoran Desert region to thrive. Due to the seemingly sudden abundance of arachnid life that emerges in the Arizona desert during monsoon season, people from all over the world travel to the state in order to capture a few of their own specimens. The arachnids are captured for a variety of reasons, mostly for profit and research.

According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, monsoon season brings tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world to the state each year. Certain tarantula and scorpion species are the most common arthropods to be snatched up. These creatures are taken for research purposes, or to be placed within zoos. But the largest group of visitors may be the profiteers looking to sell tarantulas and other arthropods to pet stores located all over the world. During the annual “Invertebrates in Education and Conservation Conference” in Arizona, vendors can be seen selling a variety of arthropods to eager tourists. The most popular arthropods sold during the conference are tarantulas, black widows, scorpions, ant queens and vinegaroons. Every year, researchers discover at least one new arthropod species in the region, such as the recently described northern giant flag moth. Of course, not even these species are immune to the demand of the arthropod marketplace. For example, this recently discovered moth is now sold for around 700 dollars, and they can be even more expensive if a female specimen is included along with her eggs.

Would you enjoy searching the desert landscape for interesting or particular arthropods?