Whether you’re playing in the woods, working at home, or sitting in your yard, there’s a whole host of summer-loving insects you’re likely to encounter in Arizona.
Many of these insects are brought out in greater numbers by the monsoon weather. Some are a nuisance; others are just icky. But don’t worry – most are harmless to people and pets. A majority is even good for the environment.
But if you’re concerned or just don’t like creepy crawlies, here are a few precautions you can take to keep them out of your living spaces, along with fun facts about common insects in metro Phoenix and across the state during the summer.
Mosquitoes in Arizona:Why are there so many? What diseases do they carry?
What is the purpose of mosquitoes? Mosquitoes are annoying, but they do play a role in the ecosystem. They are natural pollinators and they are part of the food chain. They are eaten by aquatic insects and fish in their larval stage and by bats and birds in their adult stage.
Can Mosquitoes Hurt You? In addition to causing itchy bites, mosquitoes spread West Nile and other viruses. Eight in ten people infected with West Nile virus develop no symptoms. Those who do may develop flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or skin rash.
Should you try to kill them? You don’t have to kill mosquitoes, but you should prevent them from reproducing. Remove sources of standing water, especially after storms. Larvae live in water, so the best way to get rid of them is to reduce the number of places where mosquitoes can reproduce. Adult mosquitoes can be controlled by using traps or spraying pesticides, although these can affect people and pets, so find out if they’re right for your situation.
Mosquito Season in Phoenix:How bad is the summer of 2022 likely to be?
What is the purpose of moths? According to Gene Hall, an insect collection manager at the University of Arizona in Tucson, moths are an important food source for birds, bats and some reptiles and amphibians. Moths are also considered natural pruners because they eat plants. Hall says moths generally don’t do enough damage to a plant to kill it.
Can moths hurt you? Moths don’t bite. They do not have chewing jaws like other insects.
Should you try to kill them? There is no need to use pesticides or chemical controls. Adjust your environment to prevent moths from swarming if they disturb you. Turn off outdoor lights when they are not needed. Consider replacing bright lights with yellow bulbs, which are not as attractive to moths.
moths:Do you see more in Phoenix? This is what’s going on
Palo verde beetles
What is the purpose of palo verde beetles? These large black beetles with long antennae are food for predators such as coyotes and birds, says Shaku Nair, an entomologist and expert in integrated pest management at the University of Arizona.
Can Palo Verde Beetles Hurt You? If left alone, palo verde beetles won’t hurt you. They may bite if you pick them up, as a way to defend themselves or escape. Worried about your furry friend? Do not be. Palo verde beetles are also not poisonous.
Should you try to kill them? There is no need to kill them – adult beetles only live about a month. If you want to get rid of them, pour a bucket of soapy water over them.
It’s palo verde beetle summer:Here’s What You Should Do, Except You Feel Creepy
What is the purpose of ants? Their main task is to recycle dead flora and fauna. They eat a variety of organic matter which then becomes food for many other organisms. Ants also aerate the soil, allowing water and oxygen to reach the plant roots.
Can Ants Hurt You? There are over 12,000 species of ants and not all of them bite. But Arizona does have biting ants. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a biting ant will grab you with its pincers and release a chemical irritant called formic acid into your skin. Bites are itchy but rarely dangerous.
Should you try to kill them? Insecticides kill ants, but can be dangerous to humans and animals. Help control ants by removing things that attract them. Don’t leave food outside, seal your trash, and wash countertops and other surfaces with equal parts vinegar and water.
What is the purpose of crane flies? In a 2020 interview with the University of Arizona, Michael Bogan, assistant professor of aquatic biology at UA, discussed the importance of crane flies to the environment. Bogan said crane flies break down organic matter during their larval stage. They eat leaves, plants and material in the soil or water where they live.
Can crane flies hurt you? Crane flies are gentle giants. These large mosquito-like insects do not bite or sting. Their sole purpose as adults is to fly around, mate and lay eggs.
Should you try to kill them? Not necessary – they won’t be around for long. Adults have a lifespan of 10 to 15 days. Shoot them outside when they enter your house.
More:Those critters that look like giant mosquitoes? This is what they are
What is the purpose of ground beetles? According to eorganic.org, carabids such as ground beetles help reduce weeds and insect infestations.
Can ground beetles hurt you? Ground beetles are not harmful and do not bite humans.
Should you try to kill them? If you see large numbers, don’t worry, they will decrease as the rainy season passes. To keep them out of your home, seal off access points such as windows, doors, screens, cracks and crevices. You can also cut off their food supply. Ground beetles usually hunt at night. Turn off any lights you are not using so that insects are not attracted to them.
Black beetles:Here’s Why They’re Swarming In Phoenix Now And How To Get Rid Of Them
What is the purpose of scorpions? Scorpions are not insects, they are arachnids. But you’ll probably see them in the summer, so we’re including them. Scorpions are predators and feed on spiders, centipedes and even other scorpions.
Can scorpions hurt you? There are over 50 species of scorpions in Arizona, and they are all venomous. But they only sting when they feel threatened. Stings are painful, but usually not dangerous. However, scorpion venom can be dangerous for young children or those with health problems. Seek treatment if you have a bad reaction to a sting.
Should you try to kill them? If you find a scorpion outside, it’s best to leave it alone. If you find one in your house, kill it or remove it carefully. To keep scorpions out, seal cracks in your home, doors and windows, and remove potential hiding places such as piles of wood or plant debris.
What is the purpose of crickets? Crickets help accelerate the decay of organic matter such as dead animals, insects and leaves.
Can Crickets Hurt You? Crickets can do no harm to people, but they can damage your property and possessions by chewing on carpets, fabrics and surfaces.
Should you try to kill them? You can use insecticides or glue traps to control crickets in your home. Limit outdoor lighting to prevent them from coming in. Use yellow lights instead of bright white lights. Seal cracks and holes in your home’s foundation or other access points such as doors and windows.
You can contact Arizona Republic Culture and Outdoors Reporter Shanti Lerner via email at email@example.com or you can also follow her at Twitter.
Support local journalism like this story by subscribing today.