Nelson Ruiz No Comments

The Most To Least Common Arthropod Home Invaders

Once the spring begins in Arizona, the arthropod pests come marching into homes. These arthropod pests include potentially dangerous striped bark scorpions, termites, millipedes, ants, earwigs, cockroaches, ground beetles, flies, mosquitoes and even ticks. According to Dr. Kirk Smith with the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department, the Arizona summer weather can become hot enough that even the deserts hardiest arthropods will enter homes in large numbers in search of respite. This is especially true in southern Arizona cities and towns like Yuma, Bisbee, Tucson and Phoenix, as the weather, the lower altitudes and higher arthropod pest populations can reach temperatures exceeding 115 degrees on the worst days. Once the heat exceeds three digit figures, a wealth of arthropods can begin to struggle for survival.

Although scorpions are generally considered to be among the most adaptive arachnids that exist solely because many species dwell within harsh desert environments, all scorpion species have a limit when it comes to the amount of heat that they can take. The scorpion species most commonly found within homes in Arizona also happens to be the most dangerous to humans. This species is known as the bark scorpion, and they have a long rich history of invading homes within residential areas of southern Arizona. While scorpions are commonly thought to be the deadliest arthropods in Arizona, that title actually belongs to Africanized honey bees (AKA killer bees). Unfortunately, just about all honey bees in Arizona are hybrids of killer bees and common European honey bees. While the majority of beehives exist outdoors, it is not uncommon for Africanized killer bees to establish nests within wall-voids or outside on trees located in neighborhoods. If you should find a hive, move indoors immediately, and call a pest control professional to have the hive safely removed. Typically, ticks do not infest indoor areas, but unfortunately, the brown dog tick in an exception, and this species can be found within Arizona homes. It should also be mentioned that southern Arizona is one of the few geographic areas where brown dog ticks can transmit disease to humans, but such cases are rare in the state.

Have you ever stumbled upon a beehive in Arizona?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

The Giant Water Bug Swarm Around Porch Lights Where They Can Inflict Painful And Possibly Toxic Bites On Humans

The Giant Water Bug Swarms Around Porch Lights Where They Can Inflict Painful And Possibly Toxic Bites On Humans

Giant water bugs are airborne aquatic insects that regularly fly to new water sources that are often located near residential and urban habitats. These insects dwell within small and shallow bodies of water such as creeks and ponds, and they are also known for swarming around porch lights, which is often a terrifying nuisance to homeowners given the massive size of these aptly named insects. Many giant water bug species grow to be more than three inches as adults, and multiple species exist within Arizona, but the precise number and identity of species dwelling in the state is a matter of debate among experts. In addition to being large, annoying and frightening to look at, water bugs also inflict extremely painful bites. In fact, several species have been found to possess saliva that causes severe medical symptoms in human bite victims, and at least one of these potentially dangerous water bug species inhabits Arizona.

The L. americanus species of water bug is the most documented and likely the most abundant of all water bug species within the United States. This species is commonly known by multiple nicknames including the “electric light bug”, and as already mentioned, the “giant water bug”. The giant water bug can reach lengths of nearly 2.5 inches, which makes them hard to ignore when they gravitate toward outside light sources in urban and residential areas. Another water bug species that is found within the southern US is the L. uhleri species. Two other water bug species, L. medians and L. griseus, can also be found in Arizona. All North American water bug species swarm toward porch and street lights, but the L. uhleri and L. griseus species are the most commonly spotted species around artificial light sources in residential and urban areas. Recently, seven cases of human water bug bites have been documented in hospitals. The bite victims developed body numbness and intolerable pain following a water bug bite, and research shows that the saliva that these insects produce is toxic enough to cause paralysis in humans. However, very little has been published about water bugs in medical literature, and no case reports detailing human paralysis in response to water bug bites have been published. Studies concerning the toxic effect of water bug saliva on humans are currently being carried out at Arizona State University.

Have you ever encountered an enormous insect hovering around your porch light?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

Where In Arizona Are Recluse Spider Species Distributed? Has The Notorious Brown Recluse Species Been Documented In The State?

Where In Arizona Are Recluse Spider Species Distributed? Has The Notorious Brown Recluse Species Been Documented In The State?

While the vast majority of documented spider species within the United States do not inflict medically significant bites to humans, the brown recluse is not one of them. The notorious brown recluse spider has not always been categorized as a spider of medical significance, but after years of ignoring well documented cases detailing extremely dangerous, and in some rare cases, fatal physical reactions that had resulted from this spider’s bite, the medical community came together and announced that the brown recluse is, in fact, a threat to human health. However, misinformation concerning the brown recluse and other recluse spider species is still widespread in the US today. For example, entomologists working at state extension offices often receive calls from people who believe that they had sustained a brown recluse bite despite the fact that many of these worried citizens live well outside of the spider’s range. It is not uncommon for some media sources to claim that brown recluse spiders exist with Arizona, but this is not the case. While Arizona is home to multiple recluse species that, in rare cases, have been known to inflict medically significant bites to humans, the brown recluse species does not inhabit the state.

The United States is home to at least 11 recluse spider species, and the brown recluse, L. reclusa, is the most widespread as well as the most dangerous. The brown recluse species is distributed in the midwest and the mid-south with the US. States where the brown recluse can be found include Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and several other neighboring states. Arizona is home to five recluse spider species, two of which, the Arizona brown spider and desert recluse, may inflict medically significant bites to humans, but such incidents are exceptionally rare, and not fully substantiated. Recluse spiders in Arizona dwell in the far southern and far western portions of the state.

Have you ever encountered a recluse spiders species within your home or garage?

 

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?

 

 

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

A Beetle That Produces A Toxin Strong Enough To Kill A Horse Attacked An Arizona Woman, Landing Her In The ER

A Beetle That Produces A Toxin Strong Enough To Kill A Horse Attacked An Arizona Woman, Landing Her In The ER

Arizona is home to numerous menacing arthropod species, such as bark scorpions, harvester ants, and on occasion, Africanized honey bees, or killer bees, as they are commonly known. Blister beetles are yet another group of insects in Arizona that you want to avoid. Although blister beetles don’t bite, like kissing bugs, or sting, like scorpions, these insects do emit a toxic compound that, when exposed to skin, causes an intense burning sensation that, like their name suggests, causes painful blisters. According to one Arizona doctor, the blisters that form on human skin as a result of coming into contact with blister beetle toxins, resemble a typical chemical burn. Blister beetle toxins are particularly harmful to horses, as blister beetle toxins are sometimes contained within the hay that horses consume. It is not uncommon for horses to become extremely ill, or even die as a result of eating hay containing  blister beetle toxins. There also exists plenty of incidents involving medically significant cases of humans falling victim to blister beetle toxins. For example, during the early summer of 2018, a Phoenix woman developed a nasty burn after being exposed to blister beetle toxins.

Dr. Joanna Woods was watching a movie at a theater in the Valley when she made contact with a blister beetle. The pain Dr. Woods experienced as a result of this exposure was described as feeling like her arm could not be removed from a hot skillet. Initially, Dr. Woods thought that she had sustained bed bug bites, as her wound consisted of red welts, but later on, the pain set in, and the welts began to look more like one big chemical burn that had developed blisters. At first, medical professionals were not sure what sort of injury Dr. Woods had sustained, but it eventually became clear that she had come into contact with a blister beetle. Due to her injury, Dr. Woods developed an infection and had to be hospitalized for two nights.

Do you know of any other insects that emit a corrosive substance that can be harmful to humans and animals?

 

 

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

Lawmakers Oppose Funding Into Edible Insect Research

It is probably fair to say that most of the American public is disgusted by edible insect meals. Now, lawmakers in the United States are disgusted by the government funds going into edible insect research. Most Americans want nothing to do with edible insects, so it is likely that they do not want to see their tax dollars being spent on research into eating bugs. This is why lawmakers from multiple states have gone on the record in their opposition to edible insect research being funded with taxpayer money. In fact, some politicians are attempting to pass a bill that would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars in edible insect research projects.About Pest Control in Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek

Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona is leading the charge against federally funded edible insect research. Flake is not opposed to edible insects, but he does not want taxpayer dollars going to startup businesses that specialize in edible insect production. According to Flake, this type of spending is just another example of careless government spending. Flake is not alone, as he and many other senators and congressman are looking to make amendments to a particular House spending package that allows government entities to spend as much as 100,000 dollars on edible insect projects. Flake’s amendment would block taxpayer dollars from going into the hands of edible insect companies.

One business owner who specializes in cricket feed says he has not yet felt the heat from Senator Flake. The California-based business is called Tiny Farms Inc., and it is run by Andrew Brentano, who is currently serving as the company’s CEO. According to Brentano, his business, as well as many others he knows of, has received funding from the USDA with no problems. Brentano firmly believes that federal funding into edible insects is not a waste of money, as edible insects could end up saving billions if it were to displace livestock meat as the primary source of protein for Americans.