What Arizona Homeowners Should Know About Bloodsucking Tick And Chigger Pests
Some indoor insect pests are more difficult to control than others, but pest infestations are never easy to eliminate, no matter the type of pest being targeted for control. A small minority of common urban insect pests cannot survive long indoors, and therefore, professional pest control intervention is rarely necessary for eliminating such pests from homes and buildings. Urban pests that frequently enter homes, but are nevertheless ill adapted for indoor life include insects that require high-moisture conditions in order to survive and insects that are attracted to lights. The former group includes millipedes and springtails, and the latter group includes moths and ground beetles that cannot survive long outside of their natural outdoor habitat. Some medically harmful arthropod pests that are highly problematic outdoors often wind up in homes where they quickly perish, such as chiggers and ticks.
While many people are under the impression that chiggers cannot be found in Arizona, Kim McReynolds of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension states that chiggers are actually very common in the state where they are often found in large numbers on residential grass lawns. While many assume that chiggers are a group of pests that develop from an egg into an adult like all insects, the term “chigger” is actually the common name for harvest mite larvae. Chiggers cannot be avoided in vegetation-rich areas in Arizona, and the itchiness caused by their bites is certainly annoying, but luckily, chiggers do not transmit disease and they quickly die indoors. Before spending time in outdoor areas where chiggers are likely present, it may be wise to wear long sleeves, or at the very least, applying DEET will help to prevent bites to some degree.
The brown dog tick can be found throughout the US, and it’s the only tick species in the country that has adapted to living and reproducing indoors. Brown dog ticks are prevalent on residential and commercial properties in Arizona where they often attach themselves to dogs and humans before winding up indoors. Brown dog ticks prefer to feed on the blood of dogs, but they do not mind feeding on human blood if their preferred blood meal cannot be acquired. Unfortunately for residents of southern Arizona, the brown dog tick does not transmit disease to humans anywhere in the country except for a small area in the southern southwest and northern Mexico. Brown dog ticks transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever to humans and dogs both indoors and outdoors, and since the first human case of RMSF occurred in Arizona in the early 2000s, more than 380 RMSF cases, 23 of which resulted in death, have been documented in native American communities in the state. The brown dog tick is the second most commonly controlled tick pest within and around homes and buildings in the US.
Have you ever spotted a brown dog tick in your home?