Are you moving to Tucson? Welcome! We have a lot to offer. From brilliant desert scenery and picturesque wineries to the expansive mountain ranges and diverse wildlife, we have a little something for everyone. The Sonoran Desert is actually the most biodiverse desert in the world!
The Sonoran covers hundreds of thousands of miles and is filled with forests of cacti, thousands of species of plants, and hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and insects. It is an amazing place to live, as we are sure you will soon agree.
Unfortunately, all that diversity brings a singular problem for human inhabitants: pests.
Before you change your moving plans, though, keep reading!
Most of the pests in our area are pretty benign, but a few can be potentially dangerous. Luckily for us, they tend to be shy and avoid humans. For the rest, here is what you need to know to keep yourself, your family, and your home safe.
Dangerous Pests of the Tucson Area
Among the biggest and most recognizable arthropods, tarantulas can grow to the size of a palm. They are covered with hair for that characteristic “furry” appearance. Tarantulas have even more hair on their abdomens. These special hairs can be released when they feel threatened and will irritate the nose and eyes of predators. A bite from a tarantula is likely to be painful, similar to a bee sting, but the venom is weak and unlikely to trigger a severe reaction in most people.
- Dark corners
- Quiet spaces under furniture
- Box interiors
- Crawl spaces
- Storage areas
- Roots around trees
- Spaces around decorative rocks or vases outside
Arizona is home to just one species of the black widow spider, but that one species can cause serious damage. Black widows are between ¾” and 1.5” long and shiny black. The females have a red hourglass shape beneath their abdomen. If you are bitten by a black widow, you may suffer from serious pain and respiratory distress and require an antivenin to recover fully.
Black widows tend to hide in:
- Dark corners
- Cluttered areas
If you have a black widow problem, Gecko Pest Management can help you get it under control.
The brown recluse is a small brown spider with six rather than eight eyes and a violin shape on its thorax. You might not notice a brown recluse or its bite right away. The pain and swelling can appear as much as eight hours after the bite, and the bite site will eventually develop an ulcer with necrotic tissue. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent more serious, permanent damage to the underlying tissue.
True to their names, recluses tend to hide:
- Around baseboards
- Under furniture
- In insulation and wall voids
- In clutter
With all spiders, removing both their nests and their potential prey will play a major role in controlling them. Our team can help you locate all the nests, manage any other pest populations, and eliminate the spiders. We can also help you seal off cracks, opening, crevices, and access points to keep them from coming back into your home.
There are more than four dozen species of scorpions to be found in Southern AZ. Scorpions tend to be more active during warm nights and prey on other invertebrates. All scorpions are venomous, but only a handful are dangerous to humans, however.
This includes the bark scorpion, which has a potentially lethal sting. Bark scorpions are small, typically just 2-3 inches in length. They are pale in color but turn green under ultraviolet light.
Bark scorpions bites are most dangerous for children, older people, and senior citizens.
They are occasional invaders rather than pests that infest. Your best bet with bark scorpions is to seal up any gaps, especially around doors, pipes, and wires. Keep the outside of your home free of the clutter that could offer them hiding spaces, including:
- Firewood on the ground
- Unkempt shrubbery
- Leaf litter or mulch
Ensure your screens fit well and have no holes, and apply weather stripping generously. Contact us if you continue seeing bark scorpions, and we can help you serve them their eviction notice.
Most bees in our area are solitary species and are only aggressive when protecting their hives. The one bee you need to keep an eye on is the Africanized bee. These bees tend to be both irritable and aggressive. While they, too, primarily defend the hive, their venom is powerful enough to kill a human. The stinger should be removed as quickly as possible to minimize the risks. Africanized bees can be difficult for the casual observer to distinguish from European bees.
However, if you have an established hive near your home or property, we can help you eliminate the problem bees, remove the honey and brood, clean and treat the area, and help you protect against future intrusion.
Wasps can be irritable and aggressive, but they tend to only sting in defense. Their stings are not life-threatening for most people. Velvet ants, a wingless, velvety-looking wasp, also has a painful sting.
A wasp nest can be challenging and potentially dangerous to manage, so you might want to call in the experts. We can help you decide on the best approach for dealing with and removing the nest without risking your wellbeing.
Arizona is home to many types of ants, including:
- Black ants
- Carpenter ants
- Fire ants
- Harvester ants
- Pharaoh ants
Ants are often considered a nuisance more than a danger, but they can also bite or sting when confronted. If their nest is disturbed, they can become quite defensive, releasing a venom that irritates the skin. If you are allergic, the reaction may be quite painful.
While ants live outside, they invade our homes in search of food or shelter. Eliminating the source of attraction can reduce the risk of them coming inside. However, for the most effective ant control, you need to destroy the colony.
Most centipedes in Arizona tend to be small, but our giant desert centipede can reach up to 8 or more inches in length. While centipedes are not venomous, they can have a nasty bite.
These broad, flat, long insects have from 15 to nearly 200 pairs of legs. They like to hide in compost, rocks, and clutter around the outside of your home. Inside, they prefer dark, damp areas, such as the bathroom, basement, or behind baseboards. Eliminating their hiding spots is a good first step to controlling them. You might need a good insecticide to fully control them.
Beetles are typically a nuisance pest more than a dangerous pest, but one type, in particular, can cause some problems for our residents. Known as kissing bugs or conenose bugs, these little bloodsucking beetles resemble stinkbugs somewhat. However, they have distinctive red or orange stripes around the edges of their bodies, unlike stinkbugs. Kissing bugs can leave painful bites on people, but worse, they can transmit Chagas disease. Because kissing bugs can be tough to distinguish from other bugs, you might want to give us a call if you think you have kissing bugs. We can help you ID them and remove them.
Rattlesnakes are impressive predators. Their venom is highly toxic, and their bites are painful and usually accompanied by swelling. Rattlesnake bites to humans can be frightening but don’t typically result in death.
The Mojave Rattlesnake, which is also known as the Mojave Green, is a pit viper with a thick, heavy body that ranges from light brown to green in color. They will defend themselves vigorously if necessary and have a reputation for aggression. They are extremely venomous and should only be removed by professionals.
Diamondback Rattlesnakes can grow to an impressive 8.5 feet long and weigh up to 15 pounds. They have thick heavy bodies, a triangle-shaped head, and a distinctive diamond shape across their backs. Diamondback rattlers should only be removed by professionals.
Coral snakes are shy snakes that prey on other snakes and avoid humans. They have a red-yellow-black banding pattern, slender bodies, and rounded heads. They tend to be less than 2 feet long. While coral snakes can bite humans, these bites are not considered fatal. No human deaths have been attributed to coral snakes for more than five decades.
These large, shy lizards are rarely seen but fairly common. Gila monsters are two feet long and weigh about five pounds. They have brilliant pink, yellow, or orange markings set against a black body. They prey on a variety of creatures and use venom to protect themselves. Their bite is powerful and painful and may require hospitalization.
However, they are quiet and shy and tend to avoid people when possible. They are also threatened. If you have a Gila monster on your property, give us a call, and we can ensure that it is handled safely and appropriately.
Pest Control in Tucson
At Gecko Pest Management, we’re committed to helping you keep your home and property safe and pest-free. If you are struggling with pests, we can help you develop a comprehensive pest management system to identify them, eradicate them, and keep them from coming back. Call us today to schedule a site visit or to learn more.