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Archive for the ‘The Bug Blog’ Category

A Surprise About the Packrat

Friday, April 11th, 2014

imagesPackrats are actually named Woodrats. They are commonly called Packrats because they collect all kinds of objects and types of material to put in or build their nests. They are especially fond of small, bright, shiny objects.

Primarily nocturnal and vegetarian, desert they survive on a diet of spiny cactus, yucca pods, bark, berries, pinyon nuts, seeds and any available green vegetation. They are one of the few animals that can navigate with impunity between cactus spines to feed on the juicy pads. They rely on succulent plants for their water, since they do not have the refined metabolic and water conservation capabilities of Pocket Mice and Kangaroo Rats. (more…)

Summer Rains and Desert Swarmers

Friday, April 11th, 2014

SwarmersPicDriving down desert roads early on the morning following an evening of monsoons, you may see something that looks similar to columns of smoke rising from the medians or the soil along the road. You have just encountered “desert swarmers.” The rains compel the ants and termites to begin their swarming season. The columns of smoke are really thousands of winged ants and termites.

 

These winged future kings and queens of new ant and termite colonies are seeking a date. Both the male and female reproductives take the monsoon as their alarm clock to mix with those of other colonies. (more…)

The Earwig Myth

Friday, April 11th, 2014

earwig_on_plastic__180x120The Earwig Myth

 Earwigs were given their name from a folk story that they crawl into a person’s ears and eat their brains. Contrary to the stories, they are not aggressive, are not drawn to human ears, and do not spread disease. Their frightening presence normally alarms most homeowners when they are found. The long cerci, or clippers, on their backsides which they use to defend themselves and capture pray, help you to easily identify them. (more…)

Weather, Bugs and You

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Weather Bugs and You

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Most people think of Arizona as hot and dry. There is actually a great deal of variation in the weather from season to season and year to year. A three to four inch variation in annual rainfall may have a dramatic effect on plants, animals and insects in the desert. (more…)

Wasps in Arizona

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

wasp

There are many types of wasps in Arizona. Most people only think of the paper wasps. They form the “nests” that look like open umbrellas or overturned wine glasses filled with “honeycomb.” Actually, these cells contain no honey and are made of paper manufactured by the wasps from chewed up tree bark. Paper wasps are meat eaters and do not feed on pollen, though like most animals and insects, they will take advantage of high energy sugar when they find it in rotting fruit or your soda. Each colony has multiple queens, acting together to defend the nest, which can grow quite large, but the nest is only used for one season. It contains eggs and larvae, which the queens feed bits of meat and dead insects. There are several species of paper wasps. Some can be extremely aggressive while others will ignore humans if not provoked.

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Spiders in Arizona

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

black_widowSPIDERS IN ARIZONA

Arizona has a reputation for having lots of dangerous animals: cougars, bobcats, wolves, coyotes, snakes, scorpions, centipedes, killer bees and among other things, spiders.

Though there are many kinds of spiders in Arizona, relatively few are a real concern to people, and even fewer are really dangerous. It is true that all spiders can bite and that all have venom. Most do not have a large or strong enough dose of venom to do any significant harm. In fact, some of the most common spiders aren’t even seen or recognized by the average homeowner! (more…)

Scorpions in Arizona

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

scorpionsSCORPIONS IN ARIZONA 

Arizona and the Sonoran Desert are known the world over for Saguaro cactus, high temperatures and scorpions.

Scorpions are common and plentiful in Southern Arizona, but they are very secretive and nocturnal. Some people have lived their whole life in Arizona, but have never seen one. They are typically neutral in coloring, ranging from a translucent straw color to a striped brown, allowing them to camouflage easily on most natural surfaces. Depending on the species, adults may be just over one inch in length or may be up to three inches long. Scorpions possess a toxic sting at the tip of the tail; as a result, the tailless species are harmless! Even the ones that do sting can be relatively harmless, much like a bee sting (if you are not allergic to bees). In some species, the sting can be extremely toxic, causing severe symptoms in some people or even death in the elderly or in infants. With scorpions, bigger is better, with the larger varieties possessing the mildest sting, and the smallest with the most toxic. (more…)

Dooryard Pests in Arizona

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

DOORYARD PESTS IN ARIZONA

Most people think of the desert as a vast wasteland, where nothing can survive. The reality is that the Sonoran Desert is a thriving wildlife community that, for the most part, has been undisturbed by man. Since a large number of insect, rodent and reptile species live in the desert and have evolved to survive in this environment with limited resources, human dwellings present a tremendous opportunity to them. The presence of these pests will vary based on a number of factors.

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Crickets in Southern Arizona

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

roachCRICKETS IN SOUTHERN ARIZONA
Douglas Seemann, Board Certified Entomologist

There are several different types of crickets in Southern Arizona that a homeowner may encounter. The two most common are the field cricket and the Indian house cricket. The field cricket is a native cricket. They are black, round in cross-section, larger and, except for the wings, shiny. As the name implies, they are found primarily out doors in areas with lots of vegetation or weeds. They are sometimes found under rocks or leaf litter. The Indian House Cricket is a brown cricket that people buy from pet shops to feed to their pet lizards. They are dull looking and kind of square in cross-section. They can be found in homes and stores. (more…)

Ants in Arizona

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

antsANTS IN ARIZONA

Arizona is the number one state for ant diversity. There are well over 100 different ant species!  It would be impossible to describe all the different types briefly. Let’s cover some ant basics and group ants by how we might find them.

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