Bug Blog

The Elements & The Insects: Taking it to Extremes

Weather and environmental changes play a big role not only in our lives, but the life and cycles of insects. Take, for example, this year’s Tucson monsoon season – the National Weather Service said this “nonsoon” has been the driest to date. Instead of the flooding storms we normally have, we’ve gotten just .66 of an inch of rain in 2020 (as of this writing).

“The current drought is one of the worst on record,” said Sharon Megdal, director of the University of Arizona Water Research Center.

Most of Arizona is in a moderate or severe drought. As well as much of the Southwest. So which bugs are loving the hot dryness?

A pest nearly synonymous with the state of Arizona is the scorpion, with 30 different

species in our state alone! (Luckily, only one of 30 has life-threatening venom, and that is the bark scorpion.) As animals of the desert, summer heat doesn’t bother them much. Their tough exoskeleton helps them in this environment, allowing them to retain water for an extended period of time. Scorpions do prefer to come out at night, when the heat is a bit less intense, which can make them more difficult to spot unless you shine a black light.

There are only a few Arizona ant species that present an actual health risk to humans, but that doesn’t mean we want them trekking through our homes. During the hot summer months, ants are often driven inside in search of food and water. There are some ants that you especially do not want making their way into your home. Odorous house ants are known to eat just about anything, including food found in garbage cans. Therefore, they can contaminate food sources when they come into kitchens and other environments containing food.

Cockroaches are especially partial to warmth. Because of the moderate temps  year-round in Tucson, roaches can be a problem outside of summer too. These scavenging creatures will come into your home looking for food and water. While a single cock roach might not be a problem, the real threat comes from the fact that cockroaches are seldom loners. Here are the most common types of cockroaches spotted in Arizona:

  • German cockroaches – Despite what their name suggests, German cockroaches are quite prevalent in the US, partially due to their rapid reproduction rate.
  • American cockroaches – Watch out for these sewer-dwellers. They like to make their way into homes and businesses through pipes.
  • Turkestan cockroaches – Turkestan cockroaches are hard to miss. The males can be an inch long!
  • Brown-banded cockroaches  These pests are not picky eaters, consuming garbage, human food, and have been known to make a meal out of a perfectly good book!

If you spot any of these hot, dry weather-loving insects in your home or yard, it’s time to get pest control services.