Arizona’s Five Most (Un)Wanted Pests

One of the most common questions we receive from new customers is: “I’m new to Arizona, what are the pests that I need to be concerned about.” Here’s our list of Arizona’s 5 most (un)wanted pests.

Scorpions

Scorpions are a commonly feared desert pest, but many Arizonans have never seen a live one. Scorpions are nocturnal and prefer to hide under rocks, in wood piles, behind boxes and under furniture during the day. However, when night falls, these little bugs make their move, especially in the warmer summer months. The most common species is the striped-tail or devil scorpion, but the bark scorpion is the most dangerous species in Arizona with a potentially lethal sting. Homeowners should make sure their home is secured with weather stripping, door sweeps, and sealing any gaps in the foundation or siding of the home to keep scorpions out. A regular pest management program is also an effective tool to control scorpions directly as well as reducing other insect populations that serve as their prey.

Subterranean Termites

Considered the single most economically significant pest in Arizona, subterranean termites are prevalent throughout the state. Termites are wonderful for naturally recycling dead and dying wood, but unfortunately do not take the time to distinguish between fallen trees and manmade structures. Termites cause an estimated $3 billion or more in damage and treatment costs in the U.S. each year. Arizona property owners should schedule an annual termite inspection by a licensed pest professional. Due to the destructive nature of these pests, treatments should also be left to the pros to ensure it’s done effectively from the start.

Pack Rats

Wood rats or more commonly known as pack rats are another significant pest in Arizona. Pack rats are typically eight inches long with big ears, long whiskers, and a brownish-tan coloring with lighter undersides. They normally build their nests in well protected areas like amongst cactus and other vegetation, but they also like vehicle engine compartments, unused BBQ grills, and inside building walls or attics. Like most rodents, their teeth are constantly growing so they frequently gnaw on electrical and car wires, wood siding, and drywall which can cause significant damage. They also pose a sanitary hazard through their hair, feces, and insects that are attracted to their nests like the kissing bug which is a known carrier of chagas disease. Homeowners should exclude entry points to their home – pack rats only need a hole about the size of a quarter to gain entry – as well as reduce overgrown vegetation and other common hiding spots around their home. Professional trapping and baiting service programs should also be used to safely eliminate infestations.,/

Africanized Bees

From birds and bats to native bees and insects, Southern Arizona boasts one of the most diverse and numerous native pollinator regions in the entire world. However, the invasive Africanized honeybee population poses a significant risk to these native pollinators as well as humans and animals. First, reported in the early 1990s, Africanized honeybees now make up nearly 100% of all wild honeybees in Southern Arizona. These honeybees look identical to European honeybees but are much more aggressive and can be extremely deadly due to the number of bees that attack a threat. Africanized honeybee attacks are responsible for multiple deaths of people and pets in Arizona every year. They are also much more aggressive in their pollinating behavior which has impacted our native plant and pollinator sustainability. Due to the high likelihood of a honeybee colony being Africanized and the significant threat they present, a licensed professional should always be called to treat an Africanized honeybee infestation.

Ants

The Arizona desert is home to many different species of ant ranging in size from 1 mm to almost an inch in length. Many ants like the harvester, leafcutter and pavement ants prefer to be outside and are rarely found indoors but can be a nuisance on patios and can cause damage to landscaping and vegetation. Other species like odorous house ants, pharaoh ants, and crazy ants will infest structures in search of food and shelter. When treating ants, identification is an important first step because the species of ant will determine the type of treatment performed. For example, pharaoh ants will split their colony into multiple colonies if they detect a threat which spreads the infestation if not treated properly from the start.

Arizona is home to many different critters including these top 5 most (un)wanted pests, but with the right information and the use of licensed professionals, life in the desert can be an enjoyable experience for all. For more information on Arizona pests and pest control services, visit our website.