Living or working in Arizona can have its problems, so if you are thinking of moving to Arizona, or even if you already live there, then it might be prudent to read up on the many problem pests that you may come across and hopefully never have to deal with.
There are critters out there that can cause serious damage to your physical being, either by stinging or biting you. If you know what to look out for then they shouldn’t pose a problem; after all there is truth in the saying, ‘being forewarned is forearmed.’
Scorpions – The Arizona Bark Scorpion is probably the first one to spring to mind. They are a light brown color and range from 2 to 3 inches long, with a slender tail and legs. Having small pincers tells you immediately that this scorpion is highly venomous, and has often been said to be more potent than a rattlesnake. It mainly inhabits the Sonoran desert area, which includes Arizona, and prefers to take shelter from the sun, which could be anywhere from log piles to inside your home. If you can hear crickets chirping on a night, then there is a definite possibility that Bark Scorpions will be around to feed off them. These scorpions generally come out at night to hunt, so it’s worth having a UV lamp (black light) at hand as their exoskeletons glow under ultraviolet.
Spiders – Mention the Black Widow and many people will start sweating if they think one is nearby. Famed for its deadly venom, it is only the female that has the potency, whereas the male is pretty harmless. Care should be taken if you find any webs in your home or workplace until you know what has made it. Usually passive, they will become aggressive only when caring for young or when threatened. A similar spider to the Black Widow is the Brown Recluse, which is also pretty nasty in that its venom causes necrosis, leading to amputation if any bites aren’t treated immediately. Arizona is also home to several species of tarantula, but horror films portray these as worse than they are, for they are docile and rarely bite.
Bees – To be more precise, the Africanized honey bee. This species of bee is highly aggressive and attacks with little or no provocation. If you are being attacked by Africanized honey bees, then the main defense is to run! Run as fast as you can away from them until you can get to shelter.
Having a termite infestation is one of life’s biggest nightmares when it comes to home ownership in Arizona, as when left undetected they can destroy a home from the inside out. There are two types of termite: the ‘subterranean termite’, which lives in colonies in the ground, and ‘drywood and dampwood termites’, which live entirely in wood. How do you spot when you have these unwanted visitors? Here are some telltale signs.
- Mud tubes rising from the ground – Subterranean termites build mud tubes in which to move around above ground, so they can remain damp while searching for food.
- Hollow sounding wood – Drywood and dampwood termites prefer to feast undetected and one of the ways to tell if you have these pests is to knock on wood. If it sounds hollow then there is a probability that termites are eating it from the inside out.
- Discarded wings – A good telltale sign that there has been a recent swarm is discarded wings. This is usually in the spring time for subterranean termites, and shows they are in the process of starting a new colony. So if you are lucky you can catch them early before they do any real damage. Drywood and dampwood termites on the other hand, can swarm at other times so are a little less predictable in their habits.
All Is Not Lost
Should you discover any of the pests mentioned here and elsewhere, then there are steps you can take to lessen the chances of them being a direct problem for you in your home or workplace.
- Don’t leave garbage cans open. Leaving trash open to the elements invites vermin. This isn’t a problem in itself; it’s what feeds off the vermin that you don’t want to attract.
- Don’t leave clutter lying around. Scorpions like to hide during the day, so wet towels on the bathroom floor, shoes left on the floor or piles of leaves are the ideal hiding place and should be carefully checked.
If in doubt, for more advice on ways to protect your home and business, it is advisable to call a specialist company. With some things (especially scorpions), removal is best left to the professionals.