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(800) 887-4146
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Packrats in Arizona

April 10th, 2014

pack_ratPackrats in Arizona

At one time, packrats, also known as the American Rat, were the dominant rats in North America. The rat of movies, big cities and pet shops is the Norway Rat, an animal introduced by way of the Mayflower. Resembling a large gerbil, packrats are very different animals than Norway rats. Although they can be found in most states coast to coast, in Arizona packrats are still the dominant urban rat.

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Termites in Tucson

April 10th, 2014

termiteTERMITES IN TUCSON

 

Every home in Tucson has had, has or will have termites. Read the rest of this entry »

Seasonal Changes Bring Dooryard Pests

April 1st, 2014

Dooryard pests are “pests of opportunity,” also known as “occasional invaders.” (What are dooryard pests, you ask? There are many varieties but to give you a few examples, they are: crickets, cockroaches, moths, beetles, termites, ladybugs, earwigs and web spinners, etc.). Landscaping and water have the greatest effect on pest populations. The seasons provide ranges in temperature and moisture. Each species has an optimal temperature range and a preferred moisture level. When the best conditions for any type of pest are present, activity, feeding and reproduction increase. As populations build in the desert, pests start looking for additional living space, food and other resources. A large structure provides some hiding places, increased moisture due to irrigation, warmth at night, shade in the daytime, and in many cases, increased food supply. This food can include a barbeque grill that has not been cleaned, dog food left by the family pet, spilled trash, bird feeders or even snacks left behind by the kids.

Seasonality also brings about changes in the length of the day. In many dooryard pest species, reductions in the length of daylight, together with a drop in temperature triggers a “hibernation” behavior causing large numbers of insects to migrate into structures.

Why are moths and other insects attracted to light?

April 1st, 2014

Lights don’t occur at ground level at night in nature. The closest thing is the moon. Night flying insects use the moon to orient themselves and navigate, never thinking they will actually get there. If a moth were to fly, attempting to keep a light bulb “moon” over its left shoulder, for instance, it would fly in circles around the bulb. The slightest change in angle would send it spiraling away or toward the light bulb until: CRASH! The moth slams into its moon! Of course, insects are not adapted to land on their moon and without a mechanism to deal with the situation. They are over stimulated, sitting with their wings vibrating. Come morning, they are exhausted, fall to the floor and look for the nearest hiding place, under your door. In the morning, you open the door and they are in!

Ballooning—One Way Spiders Get into Your Home

April 1st, 2014

Have you ever walked out to your car and get a spider web strand across the face? A baby spider caused this! Shortly after emerging from an egg sack, baby spiders climb to a high point and toss strands of spider silk into the air. Even a slight breeze will pick up this strand, carrying the spiderlet to its new home—your hair, your car’s windshield, or if your door is open, your living room.

Before Honey Bees were Africanized

April 1st, 2014

Honey Bees are not native to the U.S. Originally from Africa, they were brought to Europe where they were domesticated and bred to be gentle. In Europe, honey bees (also called the Italian bee) were kept as pets, hobbies and livestock.

We owe much of the food that we consume to bees through bee pollinated crops, and the animals that feed on these crops. Before breeding with Africanized bees, these domesticated honey bees were so docile that many bee keepers did not wear any protective equipment when handling them. If you were a child back then, you might remember catching bees in pop bottles off the honey suckle shrubs and playing with them. Many people handled bees, not knowing they were allergic because they had never been stung by these non-aggressive bees.

Excessive Rain and Crickets

April 1st, 2014

Wet weather favors crickets that congregate in garages, crawlspaces and yards, making noise into the night. The sound that crickets make is actually created when male crickets rub their wings against each other. Females and immature (wingless) crickets do not make any noise at all.

For the year following excessive rains, huge cricket populations can build in the desert and around homes. The species most commonly infesting homes is the familiar, tan Indian house cricket. They collect in small cricket communities not unlike the “nests” of cockroaches, to whom they are related. Their droppings are dry and granular and may be mistaken for termite droppings to the untrained eye. During the monsoon season and into the winter, odd individual field crickets can be found running through living rooms or bedrooms at night.

Bug Blog Entries

January 22nd, 2014

Hypothetical: A Portuguese designer creates a food source from primary ingredients that are in abundant global supply. It’s a high protein powder. It’s good for you and good for the environment. Do you eat it?

Here’s the catch: this superfood is made from the paste of ground-up dung beetles and crickets.

Here’s the other catch: this isn’t a hypothetical.

A Portuguese designer, Susan Soares, is using 3D printing technology to make insects more palatable.

There is a wholly rational argument for eating creepy-crawlies. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization believes bug eating is the right strategy to adopt; as the world’s population grows, a new food source is required, and bugs are already squirming around on every continent and in every climate. It makes sense to embrace entomophagy, the practice of raising insects as food, on a global scale.

Read more: Edible Bug Treats: 3D Printer Susan Soares Cricket Candy | TIME.com http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/02/05/3d-printing-company-makes-edible-cricket-and-dung-beetle-treats/#ixzz2tvzZa0hJ

Monarch butterflies

January 21st, 2014

Arizona doesn’t get swarms of monarch butterflies migrating between their summer habitats up north and the mountains of Mexico where they spend the winters, but they are a dependable presence.

The Southwest Monarch Study, which enlists citizen-scientists to tag migrating monarchs in an attempt to better understand their migration, tags thousands a year.

“Where they come from is anyone’s guess, but they do fly in from the north,” said Gail Morris, coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study. “We tag 2,000 to 3,000 every year. Imagine all those we haven’t seen,” she said.

This year, her group has teamed with Borderlands Restoration to grow native, pesticide-free milkweed varieties in a greenhouse near Patagonia, Morris said.

The Canelo Hills south of Patagonia and the entire Sonoita area are hot spots for monarchs, she said, though they are found throughout the state, including Grand Canyon National Park. to read more go here: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/monarch-butterflies-a-steady-presence-in-arizona/article_efe1d0f4-78de-51a7-a173-00b3545be057.html

Awesome Architects

January 21st, 2014

Humans aren’t the only animals that build intricate homes and other structures: The animal kingdom abounds with talented architects.

From dams to nests to body armor, these feats of animal ingenuity will blow your mind—and perhaps inspire you to get up off that couch.

Beavers

Beavers might be the most well-known animal architects, and with good reason. These prolific builders fell trees and gather sticks and mud to construct dams, which create ponds that offer predator protection and easy access to food during the winter.

Beaver families live in lodges within the dams, and are constantly “busy as beavers” adding to and repairing the structures, says the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Although the average beaver dam is about 6 feet (1.8 meters) high and 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide, they can be much bigger. In 2007, experts spotted the world’s largest beaver dam in Alberta, Canada, using Google Earth…read more here: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/27/5-animals-that-are-awesome-architects/