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Will Recluse Spider Species Invade Homes Or Inflict Medically Hazardous Bites In Arizona?

Will Recluse Spider Species Invade Homes Or Inflict Medically Hazardous Bites In Arizona?

The first recluse spider bite to be properly documented took place in Tennessee back in 1879, and not long afterward, many South American countries began documenting their own cases of recluse spider bites. Although these early documented cases describe the bite victims as developing tissue necrosis at the site of their wound, the severity of recluse spider bites did not become well known to the American public until the latter half of the 20th century. For the past two decades, the rate of medically significant recluse spider bite incidents have been increasing steadily in the US, and most reported bites are sustained within homes. In fact, some recluse spider species, mainly the brown recluse, dwell mainly indoors where thousands have been collected from single homes. Unfortunately, medical researchers have not yet developed an antivenom for brown recluse bites, and unsurprisingly, medical officials in the US and elsewhere consider recluse spiders a major public health threat.

The majority of reported recluse spider bites are inflicted by the brown recluse spider species (Loxosceles reclusa), but a total of 13 recluse spider species have been documented as inhabiting the US, five of which can be found in Arizona. The recluse spider species found in Arizona include the desert recluse (L. deserta), the Arizona recluse (L. arizonica), the Apache recluse (L. apache) and L. sabina. Luckily, the indoor-dwelling brown recluse spider cannot be found in Arizona, but numerous scientific studies involving venom analysis and individual envenomation reports demonstrate that all recluse spider species inhabiting the US are equally as likely to inflict bite wounds that lead to tissue necrosis. In addition to the brown recluse, experts state that the Arizona recluse, the desert recluse, and the non-native Mediterranean recluse spider species are medically significant pests of homes in every area where they can be found. The Arizona recluse is abundant in much of the southern half of Arizona where specimens have been documented as inflicting bites that cause tissue necrosis and even shock. The desert recluse is rarely found indoors, as they prefer to dwell in the open desert, but rapidly expanding urban and suburban areas in southern Arizona may force humans and these spiders to share the same habitat in the near future.

Have you ever encountered a recluse spider species in Arizona?

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How Residents Can Make Bed Bugs Easier For Pest Control Professionals To Manage

How Residents Can Make Bed Bugs Easier For Pest Control Professionals To Manage

Along with termites, German cockroaches, and many ant species, bed bugs are the most difficult insect pests to control. Termites are difficult to control because they cannot be readily observed, most ant pests are difficult to control because they live in colonies containing thousands of workers that often establish multiple indoor nests. Cockroaches and bed bugs are both difficult to control due to the resistance they have developed to most insecticide formulations. Insecticide resistance in certain insect pests is one of several reasons as to why insecticides are no longer the primary method of pest control. In recent years, many effective non-toxic pest control methods have been developed. For example, high-heat treatments have become the standard for bed bug control, and insect growth regulators have proven effective for controlling German cockroaches. When it comes to both cockroaches and bed bugs, infestations can sometimes be eliminated without the use of any insecticides, but when it comes to heavy infestations, a minimal amount of insecticide is sometimes used to supplement other control methods.

When bed bugs are found within homes, professional pest control intervention is almost always required, but this does not mean that homeowners don’t play a role. For example, before pest control professionals arrive at a home to perform treatments, it is important for homeowners to make sure that the interior living space is well sanitized and free of clutter. While bed bugs are not necessarily more partial to cluttered homes, bed bugs do tend to establish more extensive infestations within cluttered homes. This is because bed bugs use dirty clothes, boxes, papers, and other objects that litter indoor floors as hiding spots, or “harborages.” The number of bed bugs within infested homes usually correlates with the number of potential harborages within homes. It’s also important to use caulk or another sealant product to cover cracks, crevices and other potential bed bug entry points on walls where the pests are well known to establish harborages. Infestations become tremendously difficult to eliminate once bed bugs become abundant within wall voids. If bed bugs are already present within wall voids, sealing them inside will result in their eventual death. So no matter where in a home bed bugs have become established, sealing access to potential harborages will help to reduce population numbers, which will also make the job of pest control professionals much less complicated.

Have you ever contacted a pest control professional about a bed bug pest issue in your home?

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Understanding How Filth Flies Detect Breeding Sites Allows Researchers To Develop More Effective Control Products And Repellents

Understanding How Filth Flies Detect Breeding Sites Allows Researchers To Develop More Effective Control Products And Repellents

A very large number of true fly species of the Diptera order of insects are known pests of homes and buildings, and the most common species that infest Arizona homes include house flies, fruit flies, drain flies, phorid flies, face flies, cluster flies, blow flies, black flies, horse flies, stable flies, soldier flies, and many more. Horse flies, stable flies and black flies are biting flies that are not known to infest homes, but they collect blood meals from humans, which may result in disease transmission, but such cases are very rare in the US. Unlike most indoor fly pests, cluster flies are not categorized as “filth flies,” and they usually invade homes only during the fall and winter seasons in order to secure a warm environment where they can overwinter.

Filth flies are species that breed on microbe-rich sources of decaying organic matter, such as excrement, animal carcasses, rotting food, scum buildup in drains and pipes, and garbage. Given their exceptionally disgusting breeding habits, filth flies are naturally covered in numerous disease-causing microorganisms that they smear on indoor surfaces, human foods, and in some cases, mucous membranes around the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. If filth fly pests were not accustomed to deriving advantage from entering homes where they occasionally breed and contaminate foods, they would be considered beneficial for breaking down natural organic waste, and they would not be known as “filth flies.”

Female filth fly adults lay eggs on decaying organic matter in order to provide larvae with an abundance of food upon hatching. While filth fly breeding materials are common sources of disease for humans, filth flies derive their nourishment exclusively from sources of rotting organic matter. Female filth flies possess organs that are specifically designed to detect rotting organic materials, and they also rely on their sense of taste for selecting the most ideal breeding sites. For example, the antennae of female flies serve as odor-sensing organs that can detect suitable breeding sites from long distances, and their wings, body and ovipositor (egg laying organ) contain taste-receptor neurons that allow females to taste-test rotting organic materials in order to choose optimal breeding sites. Insect pest repellents like DEET taste awful to female flies, which is why DEET seems to work as a fly repellent as well as a mosquito repellent. Gaining a better understanding of the sensory abilities possessed by insect pests allows researchers to develop more effective pest control products.

Do you find that DEET repellents work to repel fly pests?

 

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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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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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Why Harmless Cellar Spiders Are One Of The Most Commonly Controlled Pests Of Homes

Why Harmless Cellar Spiders Are One Of The Most Commonly Controlled Pests Of Homes

Cellar spiders are among the most commonly encountered spiders within homes throughout the United States, and their excessively long legs has earned them the well known name “daddy long legs.” Cellar spiders and cobweb weavers are responsible for the tattered cobwebs that accumulate in homes, and especially in uninhabited structures like garages, barns and sheds. Several cellar spider species are commonly found in US homes including long-bodied cellar spiders, truncated cellar spiders, elongated cellar spiders, and marbled cellar spiders, the last of which is mainly found in the southwest US. While cellar spiders can become a nuisance when they are found in large numbers within homes, many cellar spider complaints concern the abundance of webs they build within homes.

Unlike many spider species that either remove or recycle their silken webs after use, cellar spiders frequently abandon their webs in order to establish new ones. This habit can result in a large number of indoor webs that remain intact long after the spiders leave a home. Overtime, these sticky indoor webs can become matted down to walls, shelves, furniture and awnings outside of homes, making their removal difficult. It has been claimed that regularly removing cellar spider webs from homes will cause the pests to return outdoors, but in reality, cellar spiders constantly construct new webs whether they are regularly removed or not. The only way to avoid cellar spider webs from accumulating indoors is to remove or exterminate the pests.

The elongated cellar spider is the most commonly encountered cellar spider within US homes, and they can be recognized for their half inch long bodies, long pale legs, and pale body with brown or black markings on their back and abdomen. Elongated cellar spiders tend to build webs beneath eaves and in basements, while the truncated cellar spider tends to build webs in occupied living spaces. Truncated cellar spiders have remarkably long legs, far longer than most other cellar spider species, and their body is covered in black and pale dots.

Have spider webs ever accumulated within your home?

 

 

 

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How Baits And Surface Sprays Can Control Flies Around Homes

How Baits And Surface Sprays Can Control Flies Around Homes

Flies are a constant bane in human lives. They ruin our picnics and barbecues, fly right into our face and onto our food, and are an actual threat to our health due to the disgusting germs and bacteria they pick up along their travels and then throw up onto our food or body every time they land somewhere. As you can imagine, an abundance of fly pests can cause some problems in human’s lives. When nothing else works, there are commercial baits and sprays you can turn to as a last resort before calling in a pest control professional.

In certain situations you can find a gathering of flies that begin to congregate outside homes, hanging around on the walls and other nearby surfaces. This can obviously cause problems for people that want to use their patio, porches, backyards, and other outdoor areas. Many of these flies can make their way inside homes when humans open doors to go outside or in, creating even more problems with these pests. There are commercially available insecticides that are marked as outdoor residual surface sprays that can be used in this situation. You can find these treatments in a concentrated form that you have to mix with water to dilute them before using them, in pre-diluted formulas, and in ready-to-use sprays. The proper way to use them, which should always be included on the product label, is to spray the surfaces on which the flies congregate.

If house flies are the main pest, using fly bait strips may also help. They are designed to attract house flies to them, so you don’t want to put them near doorways. They are intended for outdoor use only, and have a pretty potent odor. There are also indoor space sprays that you can use to deal with flies that come indoors. These commercially available aerosol sprays will give short term, immediate help controlling flies. You place the space sprays with the aerosol spray directed upwards inside a room for a specified period of time, vacating the room and keeping it closed off for the amount of time required. Unfortunately, if this doesn’t work, it might be time to call in the professionals.

Have you ever had a serious fly problem around your home? What did you do to try and control it?

 

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Repeatedly Finding One Type Of Insect Within A Home Is Indicative Of A Pantry Pest Infestation

Stored product pests, or “pantry pests,” are insect pests that infest foods stored within homes, grocery stores and food warehouses. Some pantry pest species invade warehouses and infest stored foods before they are packaged and delivered to grocery stores, while other pantry pest species are more notable for infesting foods stored within homes. Some of the most common pantry pest species that infest stored foods within homes include indianmeal moths, flour beetles, drugstore beetles and sawtoothed grain beetles. In addition to invading food packages and feeding on the contents, pantry pests lay eggs within food packages in order to provide their larval offspring with adequate sustenance upon hatching. Most pantry pests are moth and beetle species, and their larval offspring, which are commonly referred to as caterpillars and grubs, respectively, are responsible for infesting and contaminating stored foods. Most caterpillar and grub pantry pests mature slowly and over relatively long periods of time, so repeatedly spotting the same insect pests within a home is often a sign that a pantry pest infestation has been established.

The indian meal moth is one of the most common indoor insect pests, as homeowners frequently send specimens to extension offices for identification. The adult moths have tan and copper colored wings, and although they are nocturnal, they can often be seen flying around homes during the daytime. When indian meal moths are spotted flying around homes, it is likely that females have already deposited eggs within food packages. Full grown caterpillar larvae are cream colored and around 13 mm in length, and they are known for infesting a variety of grain products, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, powdered milk, bird seed, and dog food. Once the larvae reach maturity, they leave the food source where they developed in order to search for a proper place to pupate. During this stage larvae are frequently found on ceilings, walls, tables and countertops. In order to eliminate infestations, all infested food products must be located and discarded. In some infestation cases, removing all infested food items is sufficient for elimination, but heavier infestations require a minimal application of insecticide.

Have you ever found several moths in your home?

 

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Canyon Flies And Face Flies Are Now Transmitting Parasitic Worms

Musca autumnalis, better known as the “face fly,” is a very common fly species that is known to be a frequent home-invading pest throughout the United States. Face flies frequently invade homes in large numbers during the fall and winter seasons in order to establish a warm shelter for overwintering. These flies gravitate into wall voids, tight attic spaces and other inaccessible indoor areas, and they get their common name from their habit of landing on people’s faces where they feed on tears and other fluids secreted from the mucous membranes in the nose, eyes and mouth. Unlike cosmopolitan face flies, the group of fly pests commonly known as “canyon flies” can only  be found in the southwestern region of the country. Much like face flies, however, canyon flies feed on mucus, tears, sweat and other bodily fluids.

Since face flies breed on manure, they spread bacteria into the eyes of humans, cattle and horses, which often results in conjunctivitis, or “pink eye.” In addition to causing pink eye, face flies are known to transmit a parasitic disease known as thelaziasis to horses and cattle. Less is known about the breeding habits of the nine documented canyon fly species found in the southwest, but at least one canyon fly species, Fannia thelaziae, has been documented as transmitting thelaziasis to humans on at least ten occasions in the southwest. All ten of these cases involved the nematode eye-worm species known as Thelazia californiensis. These flies transmit several eye worm-parasite species to animals in the country, including Thelazia gulosa.

During 2016, an Oregon woman visited the doctor after experiencing odd sensations in her eye. Doctors discovered several parasitic worms in her eye that were later revealed to be Thelazia gulosa parasites. While common in cattle, this particular eye-worm species had never been found infecting a human, and last year, T. gulosa parasites were found in the eye of a southern California woman. This woman contracted the parasites after jogging through a fly swarm. So far these are the only two documented human cases of T. gulosa infection, and it is not known whether face flies or canyon flies transmitted the parasites in these cases. Because of these two alarming cases, medical researchers are worried that flies may start transmitting eye-worms to humans throughout the country.

Have you ever been pestered by flies landing on your face?

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The Western Bloodsucking Conenose Bug Frequently Infests Homes In Arizona Where They Transmit A Parasitic Disease To Humans While Sucking Blood

The Western Bloodsucking Conenose Bug Frequently Infests Homes In Arizona Where They Transmit A Parasitic Disease To Humans While Sucking Blood

For the past several months, news stories describing a potentially deadly parasitic disease spread by a group of airborne insects known as kissing bugs have frightened residents throughout the southern United States. Kissing bugs have been spreading a parasite to thousands of people in South America and Mexico for decades, and this parasite slowly eats away at internal organs, eventually resulting in death. The parasite is spread by several species of kissing bugs that are also native to Arizona.

One of these species, the western bloodsucking conenose bug, is a frequent home-invading pest in Tucson and a few other metropolitan areas in the state. This species invades homes at night where they suck blood from humans before defecating near the bite wound. In response to the irritation caused by bites, humans inadvertently spread the parasite-contaminated feces into the bloodstream while itching their bite wound, resulting in the transmission of chagas disease.

The adult western bloodsucking conenose bug is dark brown to black in color and roughly 0.5 to 0.9 inches in length. They also have a  lateral abdominal margin that can sometimes be tan in color. Short hairs protrude from their mouthparts, which are longer at the tip. They walk around on short, stout legs, with their wings placed flat against their back when not being used.  Nymphs of this species look similar to the adults except smaller in size and lacking wings.

These pests are adept flyers, swooping towards the artificial lights they are attracted to in human homes, such as porch lights, after dark. They will then slip inside through cracks and holes in window screens as well as gaps in doorways. Once they are inside your home, they will gravitate toward areas with low light, and hide in darker areas such as between mattresses, in/under furniture, and inside closets during the day. They will only come out at night to feed on the sleeping human residence before making their escape to a darker, more protected area to rest off their giant blood meal. You can often find them hiding amidst bedding or drapes near the bed of their host in the morning after engorging themselves during the night.

Have you ever found what looked like a kissing bug hiding not far from your bed in the morning?