In Arizona, three types of summer bugs tend to be especially frightening: Africanized bees, poisonous spiders and scorpions.
Many encounters with these bugs occur during the summer months. There are things you can do to prevent these insects from visiting your yard or house, but sometimes you need to get special help from a trusted pest control company.
If you or your children are bitten by any of these bugs, be sure to seek medical attention very quickly.
Scorpions aren’t really insects, but are related to them. They have pincers and a curved tail.
They like to live in messes in your backyard, such as stacks of clay pots and saucers or piles of rocks or bricks. They can also infest dry foliage in trees or piles on the ground.
Sometimes, they’re on the underside of the stucco lip at the bottom of your exterior walls.
They also like living in cardboard boxes in your garage.
Scorpions eat spiders and crickets so getting rid of those bugs is important.
You can use an ultraviolet light to make scorpions glow in the dark at night when they are most active so you can spot them and destroy them.
Spiders with the worst bites are black widows and brown recluses.
Black widows are very black and can have a red hourglass shape on their backs. They generally don’t come into houses, but can be found in garages and closets.
The brown recluse spiders are light tan to dark brown and have a violin-shaped mark on their backs. Just like scorpions, brown recluses like living in piles of rocks, leaves or in cluttered garages and attics.
Spiders often build webs around your windows as well.
If you see spiders around your house, spray them and kill them. Use pesticide not only on the spiders themselves, but also on their webs and egg sacs.
In Arizona, there’s been an increase in aggressive bee incidents in the past few years since domestic bees began mating with the more aggressive Africanized honey bees.
These hybrid bees build hives in attics, under the eaves of houses, in mulberry and cottonwood trees and even in water meter boxes. Some of the bees may be honey bees, but some are not.
If a hive is built on your property, particularly on your house, you absolutely should call professionals to remove it to avoid all chance of an attack on humans or animals. Generally, the bees won’t bother anyone if you leave them alone, but vibration from lawn mowers, weed-eaters, or chainsaws can set them off.
You want an exterminator that will remove the hive completely as well as killing the bees. If a hive is left behind a wall, honey and wax can drip into a house.
Some bee experts, such as Nisbet Family Farms in Phoenix, will remove the hives without killing the bees and relocate them.
What to do about them
If you clean out all those attractive jumbles of junk in your yard and garage, you can go a long way to keeping spiders and scorpions at bay.
You should also install weather stripping around loose-fitting doors and windows, caulk around pipes and cracks on the exterior of your home and cut back branches and heavy foliage that are near the sides of your house.
Keep the bottom of outdoor furniture and the barbecue grill clean as well.
Don’t stick your hands into holes or boxes around the house or garage without looking inside first.
Inside the house, vacuum closets thoroughly and regularly. Do the same clean-up job under tables, desks, beds and sofas.
Store gardening clothes and sports equipment — such as roller skates and ski boots — in plastic bags that are tightly sealed with no holes.
For more homeowner advice, DIY tips and videos, and information about all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at RosieontheHouse.com.
And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at RosieontheHouse.com – Arizona’s most-trusted referral network.
Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!