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Pest Library

Your Guide To Common Pests In Tucson, AZ

People flock to the Tucson, Arizona area because it provides warm weather, sunny skies, little to no snow, and plenty of outdoor activities! Unfortunately, what attracts people to our area is also what attracts a wide variety of pests. There are many different types of rodents, insects, and arachnids that call Arizona home. The best way to protect your property and family from them is to learn about the pests likely to make your residential or commercial property into their home. Our pest library is full of helpful information about area pests, including where they like to gather, what problems they cause, and how to discourage them from wanting to live in your yard or home.

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Ants

Ants are social insects that live and nest together in large colonies and work together to ensure that their colony is successful. These pests are one of the most common to invade structures and something every Arizona homeowner has most likely had to deal with at one time or another. Their small size sometimes makes them easy to overlook, but making sure that these insects don't take over our properties is important. Ants contaminate food, spread bacteria, and once they discover a source of food, moisture, or shelter on your property are challenging to get rid of.

There are more than 10,000 species of ants that live worldwide. Each ant species is unique, but all share a few of the same characteristics, including chewing mouthparts, three body segments, bent antennae, a hard, waterproof exoskeleton, and six legs. Two of the more common species of ants that become problematic for Arizona residents are the Argentine ant and fire ant. Argentine ants have large colonies and form wide trails when they travel together while searching for food and moisture. They can be challenging to control because their colonies get so large, but they aren't considered dangerous or destructive. The fire ant is a species that we consider dangerous. These tiny reddish-brown ants are super aggressive and bite and sting any person or animal they see as a threat to themselves or their nest.

Knowing which type of ant has found its way onto your property can be tricky since, with a glance, most look very similar. Partnering with us at Preventative Pest Control to identify and then perform treatments specific to your ant problem is the best way to deal with an infestation! Below are some steps you can take to deter ants from nesting on your property.

  • Fix things that cause excess moisture to build up on your property, like leaky pipes, poor ventilation, or dripping air conditioners. 
  • Seal spaces in your foundation, around windows and doors, and along the roofline.
  • Create a stone or crushed rock barrier between mulch or soil and your foundation.
  • Keep lids on trash cans and recycling bins.
  • Regularly vacuum floors to remove crumbs; don't forget the spaces under and behind large appliances.

Bees

Bees are a common type of stinging insect. Predatory species help to control populations of nuisance insects, and others are important pollinators. The Africanized bee is a species that Arizona residents need to be highly aware of and must keep off their properties. They are most problematic when our weather is at its warmest from March through October. These bees are a hybrid between European and African honey bees, resulting in aggressive and dangerous bees. They will guard their properties against any perceived threat by swarming together and delivering extremely painful stings. When nesting in your yard, their aggressive tendencies put you, your kids, and your pets in danger. Like other stinging insects, their venom is strong enough to trigger serious reactions in those allergic.

Bees are part of the order Hymenoptera and related to wasps ants. A bee's exact appearance depends on the species, but in general, they have a golden yellowish-brown colored body with darker brown banding. Their bodies have a light layer of hair, and they have a barbed stinger extending from the hind end. Bees are often attracted to our properties because they provide them with water sources, plenty of food, and ample nesting sites. Bees are social but tend to live together in smaller colonies than other types of stinging insects. Their smaller colony size allows them to build smaller nests in a wide variety of places, including tires, boxes, grills, tree limbs, utility poles, holes in the ground, mailboxes, and roof eaves.

Bees, and especially aggressive Africanized bees, are dangerous to have on our properties. The easiest and safest way to remove a nest and the threat these stinging insects pose to your family is to partner with Preventative Pest Control. In addition to our professional services, implementing the following tips will help you make your property less attractive to bees.

  • Eliminate standing water on your property that bees can use as a water source.
  • Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, tires, construction debris, and things like grills or cars from your property where bees could place a nest.
  • Cut shrubs and tree branches back away from your home.
  • Limit the amount of flowering vegetation you have planted on your property, especially near walkways, doorways, and the steps of decks and porches.
  • Fill in ground holes that develop in your yard.
  • If you spot a nest in your yard, stay away from it and have a professional remove it.

Cockroaches

There are thousands of cockroach species living worldwide, but only a few have learned how to make themselves at home inside homes and businesses. The cockroach is scavenging insects with a flattened, oval-shaped body and six legs covered in spines. Their long antennae are usually the same length or longer than their body. In our region, three of the most common cockroaches invading our homes and properties include American cockroaches, German cockroaches, and Oriental cockroaches.

American Cockroaches are large reddish-brown roaches with a yellowish pattern on their backs resembling a figure-8. These roaches live outside but often move into our homes, searching for food or shelter or hitchhike their way inside in things like boxes. 
German Cockroaches are small, fast-moving roaches with tan bodies and two horizontal black stripes behind their heads. These roaches have adapted to primarily living indoors. 
Oriental Cockroaches congregate around drains and other areas where water is present; they are also called "water bugs." Oriental cockroaches have smooth, dark bodies.

No matter the cockroach species, they are never a welcome sight in our yards or homes. If these roaches find a way into your yard, they will soon also find their way into your house, where they will cause you and your family big problems! Cockroaches aren't just nuisance pests to contend with; they are dangerous to have in a home or business because of the health threats they create. Unsanitary is the best word to describe these pests. Before cockroaches were in your home, they lived or fed in things like sewers, drains, and garbage piles and traveled over the ground and across decaying organic matter. On their bodies, they carry many parasites, human pathogens, and bacteria. As these cockroaches forage for food and travel throughout homes, they contaminate food and surfaces and cause things like salmonella poisoning, diarrhea, dysentery, and more. Another issue with these pests is they live together in large numbers and leave behind shed skins and excrement, which trigger cold-like symptoms, skin rashes, and asthma attacks.

You must immediately eliminate cockroaches from your property when they invade. Whether you spot cockroaches inside or outside your home, you should take fast action to stop them. The most effective and thorough way to get rid of an infestation is by partnering with the local professionals at Preventative Pest Control. To help you prevent problems with cockroaches on your property, we want to provide you with the following prevention tips.

  • Seal openings in the foundation, exterior walls, and roofline of your house that cockroaches can fit through. 
  • Place a stone or crushed rock barrier between any mulch or soil and the foundation.
  • Place tight-fitting lids on outdoor trash cans, compost bins, and pick up uneaten pet food to reduce foraging sites. 
  • Inspect used furniture and appliances, deliveries, or potted plants for cockroaches before bringing them inside your home. 
  • Wash dishes, vacuum, wipe down counters and tables, and put away leftover food daily.

Rodents

Mice and rats are two of the most common species to invade human structures. They have adapted to living near people and have almost come to expect that people will meet their basic needs. However, it is crucial to take that expectation away and make them understand they are never welcome. Mice and rats are destructive, disease-spreading, food contaminating pests. Mice and rats can reproduce very quickly, with each female giving birth to potentially hundreds of new rodents in their lifetime. Keeping these pests off our properties is important because one or two can quickly turn into twenty and many more.

You'll find nesting sites, food, and water on most of our Arizona properties, and rodents will utilize them all. Some of the most common things that make rodents think they are welcome on our properties include leaky pipes, yard debris, fallen trees, gardens, and trash cans. Once in our yards, they will continue exploring and looking for new food sources and safe shelter. These pests often end up in our homes, moving inside through spaces they discover in the exterior. Extreme temperatures and lack of water will also drive rodents indoors. Once inside, these shy creatures will make themselves at home, creating nesting sites in quiet areas located near sources of food and water such as wall voids, behind large appliances, and in the backs of cabinets. They also like to make our basements, attics, and roof eaves into their home.

A rodent's prolific breeding habits and adaptability make these pests very difficult to prevent. However, there are steps you can take to make your property less attractive to these unwanted intruders.

  • Keep rodents out by blocking and repairing as many access points into your house as possible. Use a strong material that can hold up against their sharp teeth. 
  • Place covers on chimneys and vents.
  • Keep lids on trash cans and compost bins to keep rodents out of them. 
  • Maintain your lawn and garden areas to reduce hiding spots in your yard that rodents can take advantage of. 
  • Indoor and outdoor eating areas should always be free of food debris and cleaned regularly. Quickly pick up and put away leftover food after eating. 
  • Rodents also love to feast on pet food. Pick up uneaten pet food every night.

Scorpions

Scorpions are arachnids and related to spiders, ticks, and mites. Like spiders, scorpions are predators, and when living outside and away from people, they are helpful-controlling nuisance insects and other small critters. However, when living in our yards, or even more problematic in our homes, they are dangerous pests that you must avoid. Bark scorpions are of particular concern to people because their venom is strong enough to trigger life-threatening symptoms in people. These pests are the only scorpion in the U.S. with a sting that seriously affects people's health. Having these pests lurking around our properties is dangerous, and if you ever spot one, you should take immediate action and contact a professional to safely eliminate them.

Bark scorpions are a small species with brownish-yellow or tan colored bodies. The tail and claws are more slender than other scorpion species. Their tail is segmented and curls up over their back and at the end is their stinger. Despite scorpions thriving in desert conditions, they actually have high moisture needs. These pests are often attracted to our properties because of the moisture they provide. Things like gardens, dripping pipes or air conditioners, and damp crawl spaces draw scorpions to our yards and homes. These pests live outside in dark, cool areas but often find their way inside, either searching for water or following their prey. Once inside, they will stay as long as there is food to hunt. 

Implementing the following tips will help make your property less attractive to dangerous scorpions and many of the insects and pests they like to hunt. 

  • Replace white outdoor lights with LED lights that are less attractive to insects. The more insect activity you have around your home, the more likely scorpions will find their way to your house too.
  • Eliminate excess moisture using a dehumidifier and repair leaking faucets, hoses, and pipes.
  • Create a barrier of crushed rock between mulch or soil and your foundation.
  • Remove debris like leaf piles, fallen trees, and construction debris from your property where scorpions can hide.
  • Seal up cracks and crevices in your foundation, exterior walls, and around windows and doors.

Spiders

There are many different species of spiders living through in Tucson area. Some are harmless, while others pose more of a risk to people. All spiders have venom that they use to paralyze their prey. Most spiders have venom only strong enough to affect their prey, but a few living in our area have venom potent enough to cause health concerns. Keeping spiders from taking over our properties is important not only because they are annoying but because their presence often indicates a widespread pest problem that you need to address. Spiders are predators and feed on various insects; the more insect activity you have on your property, the more issues with spiders you will have.

Our Arizona yards make perfect habitats for spiders to thrive. They often provide them with water, vegetation to hide within, and prey to fill their bellies. Drawn to the exterior of our homes by leaky fixtures, outdoor lighting, and the prey they are hunting, spiders often find their way into our homes. Spiders are reclusive and, after moving into an indoor space, will move to dark, quiet areas. Their shy nature means it can take time before people realize spiders are sharing their homes and yards. Inside, the backs of closets, boxes, basements, attics, wall voids, and window corners are typical hangouts for spiders.

Before seeing a spider, people usually discover its web. At the first signs of spiders or their webs in your home, reach out to a professional for help. At Preventative Pest Control, our professionals dedicate themselves to protecting people and their properties from unwanted pests like spiders. In conjunction with our services, the following tips will help you protect your property from spiders.

  • Cut back shrubs, grass, and weeds from your foundation where spiders will nest.
  • Inspect and seal any spaces you find in your home's exterior that will allow spiders or insects to move indoors.
  • Install weatherstripping around windows and doors.
  • Remove standing water from your property that attracts insect activity.
  • Inside, keep storage areas organized to minimize hiding spots for spiders. 
  • Regularly vacuum and dust your home to remove unwanted spiders and their webs.

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