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Why do scorpions glow under an ultraviolet light or black light?

Doing a thorough search of your home and your yard with a blacklight, is actually a very effective way to locate scorpion activity and their hideouts.

When your investigating your scorpion situation, use an ultraviolet light. When shone directly on a scorpion, they light up like glow in the dark stars that we used to put on our bedroom ceilings as kids.

But why do they glow?

This is actually a tough question to completely answer. Scientists are working on getting more information as to why this occurs, However, they have some ideas as to why scorpions glow in the dark.

Scorpions have what is called an exoskeleton. They possess a cuticle which is a thin a section called the hyaline.

The hyaline section reacts to the UV light and moon light, and causes scorpions to glow.

Scorpions usually will not glow upon molting. Their cuticles have to completely harden in order for them to fully glow.

What Are These Ants I’m Finding In My Kitchen?

Ants are one of the most pervasive critters you’ll find inside or outside of your home, and are in fact the most commonly reported pest in the US, according to the National Pest Management Association.

Ants are an extremely social creature, and where you’ll find one, you’ll find a colony or colonies nearby. The odd ant you’ll see here and there would be an ant assigned to look for food, which it will likely find in your kitchen. If you see a line of ants, it may be difficult to follow it back to their colony so you can see what you’re up against, but it would be worthwhile to at least follow the trail to their food source so you can properly store it away or dispose of it.

Eliminating ants isn’t as easy as other pests, since it’s not as simple matter of keeping your house clean, though it will help. Keep your food in places they can’t reach such as a closed container, and make sure you always clean up any spills.

Using chalk will only scatter them and leave them room to reorganize, and spraying them with insecticide will kill them, but the ants you see are only about 5% of the total number they have in their colonies. Once another ant foraging for food discovers a new food source, or rediscovers their old one, you’ll see a new line of ants in no time.

Sealing off entry points in your house – cracks in your walls, netting on windows, etc. – works great for other pests, but ants can get in just about anywhere, including between your baseboard.

You can try to follow their trail that leads to their colony so you can eliminate the problem entirely, but in most cases with an ant infestation, it’s best to have a professional come and do it for you.

What Are These Ants I’m Finding In My Kitchen?

Doing Your Own Pest Control

There are plenty of ways to deal with pests in your own home and garden safely and naturally,with many pesticides and pest traps available for purchase both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. We’ll be discussing that in this blog post, including methods for items you’ll find available in your own home.

For Your Garden

There are many insects in our garden that are not harmful to our plants, and are in fact quite beneficial for them, so targeting bugs that you find are harmful to your plants can be tricky because many pesticides are indiscriminate in the insects and pests they eliminate. Some of these helpful insects like ladybugs even help us get rid of unwanted insects like aphids.

You can buy ladybugs specifically for this purpose from gardening stores. Before releasing them however, be sure to spray the area with water to make it more welcoming for them.

You can use oil or soap spray insecticides. You can make oil spray insecticides from 1 cup of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of mild soap (often recommended is castile soap) or 1 ½ teaspoons of mild soap and a quart of water – mix thoroughly, and spray on infected plants. It’s recommended that you do this in the early mornings or evenings, and apply as often as necessary.

A popular insecticide for home gardeners is neem oil, and you can purchase this from many stores such asWalmart. Follow the instructions on the bottle, or mix 2 teaspoons of this with a teaspoon of mild soap, and a quart of water. Shake thoroughly, and you can spray this on your garden plants (and it works well when used preventatively too).

Other popular insecticide sprays are garlic and chili pepper. For a garlic insecticide spray, puree 2 bulbs with a quart of water and let it sit overnight. Then strain into a quart jar, add ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of mild soap, and fill the jar with water. For chili pepper, add 1 ½ teaspoons of chili powder to 1 quart or water, and 2 drops of liquid dish soap.

Another method you may want to try is cultivating pest repelling plants themselves, of which there are many. Basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and petunias, are a few examples of plants that repel pests.

As for gophers in your yard or garden, there are traps you can purchase or set up yourself – however, if you’re not sure what is allowed in your area, or you want to ensure it is removed as humanely as possible, it’s best to call wildlife services or a professional pest control company.

Other methods you can still try to get them to willingly leave your property: gophers have very sensitive noses, and these are a few things you can leave in and around their tunnels to discourage them from staying: mothballs, coffee grounds, fish scraps, dryer sheets, and your pets droppings (cats and dogs are gopher predators, and this is intended to scare the gopher away).

For Your Home

As you probably know, we don’t only share our homes with other people and perhaps our pets – we may not readily see them, but chances are there are also plenty of bugs in and around your house.

Ants, spiders, centipedes, cockroaches, mosquitoes, mice, and more may very well be thriving in your home as you’re reading this.

So how do we get rid of them and keep them out, safely and naturally?

The insecticide sprays discussed earlier in this article would work on a number of insects that live inside your home as well, such as chili pepper spray for ants.

For more difficult pests such as roaches, there are a few traps you can purchase. Glue traps are effective in catching roaches that stumble unto it, but it won’t affect their nest. Cockroach bait on the other hand, come in child-proof cases, and it is poisoned food that the roach consumes and then takes back to their nest to affect the other roaches there.

Using soap spray on roaches work in that it clogs their breathing pores, however they may be able to recover when the solution dries.

For mice, mousetraps work great. However, note that for these to be effective, you have to know where to place them. Look for their droppings – which are brown pellets – alongside walls, and place 2 mousetraps end-to-end in those areas. The reason for this is that mice may jump over one trap, but they won’t be able to jump over two.
Mousetraps may seem brutal, but they’re the more humane choice between a glue trap that means a slow death for the mouse, and poisons will mean some mice may die and rot where you can’t reach them to properly dispose of them.
As important is securing your home against these pests and preventing reinfestation.

Cut off their water supply. A number of these pests are drawn to moist areas, and roaches need water sooner than they need food to survive. Find and fix any leaks in your house, and make sure to regularly clean out containers that may have accumulated water, as these are also breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Keep your food properly stored. Don’t leave out dirty dishes overnight as cockroaches may feast on the crumbs left on the plates, and make sure to regularly throw your trash. Keep pet food in closed containers so mice won’t get to them. If there’s no readily available food for these pests in your house, they won’t want to stay.
Lastly, make sure your house is properly sealed. Your walls may look solid, but there are plenty of small cracks where insects and small animals can slip through.

Use caulk and expanding foam to fill any gaps in your exterior and interior walls, and weatherstripping for your doors and windows (if you have netting on your windows, make sure they’re in good shape). Don’t forget to check on your roof and close any gaps, and if you have a chimney, use a cap or guard cover to protect it from birds, raccoons, and other animals. Cut off tree branches that touch the house as these serve as bridges for bugs and other animals.

If a pest issue keeps reoccurring, if you’re not sure about the safety of the store-bought insecticides you’re using, or you want to humanely get rid of birds, raccoons and other unwanted animals, then it may be time to call that professional pest exterminator.

Doing your own pest control

Are pesticides safe for my furry friends?

According to the American Pet Products Association, 68% of US households owned a pet in 2018.
That’s around 85 million families, many of which worry about pests in their home and garden too.

So when getting rid of these pests, how safe are our pets in the process?

Chemicals used on lawns have been known to make their way indoors, from our clothes, shoes, and our pet’s paws, and there are pesticides out there in the market that have been shown to increase the risk of cancer in both pets and humans. These pesticides have even contributed to the decline of the bee population across the world.

Most people are not aware of just how many dangerous chemicals there are sold in stores to the average homeowner who may be none the wiser, including flea and tick preventative products for pets!

But you still need to get rid of unwanted pests that damage your home and garden, and pests that possibly carry diseases that are harmful to you and your pet, so what do you do?

When buying pesticides, make sure you read the warning label – you’ll be surprised to find out products harmful to you and your pets may be sold alongside products that are non-toxic and pet-friendly – and make sure you’re choosing the safer options, whether it is buying pesticides to use yourself or hiring a pest control company to eliminate pests for you.

Some pest control companies offer eco-friendly services and use natural green products, with Watchdog Pest Control only using products that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — once dry in 30 to 45 minutes, treated areas are then completely safe for both pets and people alike.

With these green products and services, you can be sure you’re using the safest, most effective products out there to rid your house of unwanted pests.

How Do You Know If You have Bedbugs?

How Do You Know If You have Bedbugs?

Small bites that are itchy all over your body may seem like a telltale sign –however, bites from bedbugs may look quite similar to those from other small insects, and they may even look like rashes or hives. Many people present no physical reaction to bedbugs at all, so it’s best to inspect your bed regularly to find signs that there may be creatures other than you occupying your bed.

Bedbugs tend to leave stains where they live – these stains may be blood from a crushed bedbug, or if the stain smears, there is a good chance it is bedbug excrement. If you find any unexplained stain on your sheets or pillowcases, carefully inspect your bed – from the underside of the mattress, seams and tags, to the headboard and any cracks in the bed’s frame.

They are about the size of an apple seed, have flat bodies, and are brownish in color. If it has recently fed, it would look more swollen and reddish. They may also leave tiny eggshells about 1mm in size, and tiny yellow flakes of skin that they’ve shed.

Bedbugs aren’t just confined to your bed – they can also be found on couches, chairs, cushions, curtains and the like. If a room is heavily infested, you will find them in a myriad of other places like loose wallpaper, wall hangings, appliances, and electrical receptacles.

While they prefer to stay where they can readily feed on you, like on the bed itself, they are willing to travel up to 20 feet from where they hide to where they can feed and back.

If you frequently travel and stay in hotels or other places often, you may be more prone to having bedbugs in your home, as they love to hitch a ride on your clothes and luggage – so be doubly vigilant.

Does Arizona Have Tarantulas?

Yes, and there are about 30 species of tarantulas that can be found in Arizona.

The Desert Tarantula, also known as the Arizona blond tarantula or the Mexican blond tarantula, is one of the most common species that can be found in the state of Arizona.

The wet monsoon and early fall is mating season for these tarantulas, and it’s during this time that you would see male tarantulas out and about – when they leave their hidden burrows once a year in search of a mate.

Female tarantulas usually stay by their burrows, which are typically small holes in the ground about the size of a quarter. If the nest is active, there would be strands of silk on the opening, and it is on these strands of silk the male tarantula would dance to entice the female to mate. Whether he woos the female successfully or not, he may become its next source of protein if he does not get away fast enough when she decides to take a bite.

During winter, their nests are plugged with silk, soil, and even rocks while they wait for summer.
They can live anywhere from 12 to 25 years (approximately 12 years for male tarantulas, and 25 for female tarantulas), which makes them popular pets for the more adventurous individual. While they’re venomous and would attack anything it can subdue for food, their bite is harmless to humans, typically at most causing pain no more than that of a bee sting.

Aside from its bite, they have barbed hairs on their abdomen that may cause irritation, and when attacked, these tarantulas have been known to fling these hair strands as a form of self-defence.
They can be up to 3 inches long, and 2 to 3 inches tall with a leg span of 3 to 5 inches. Male tarantulas are slimmer than female tarantulas and are covered in black hair while females have a tan or light brown color.

Despite their feared appearance, these are docile creatures and only bite under extreme duress.

The War On American and German Cockroaches

While there are more than 4,500 species of cockroaches, the American and German roaches are two of the more easily identifiable ones you might find in your home.
The American cockroach is thought to have immigrated to the Americas or the New World around the 16th or 17th century AD. It is the largest of its brethren, measuring anywhere from 1 to 3 inches. They also get to live the longest at around 2 years, which indeed is a very long time for a typical cockroach. If this makes you want to knit a tiny wizard hat for these wizened creatures, you are not alone (maybe).

They are reddish brown in color, and have a yellowish margin or figure 8 pattern on the region just behind their heads. They have antennae, 6 legs, and are oval-shaped. Adult cockroaches have wings (their immature offspring do not). They are known as one of the fastest running insects. They are opportunistic feeders, and can eat anything from flakes of dried skin to other dead roaches.

The German cockroach, much like the American cockroach, may also feed on things that may surprise you – in the absence of readily available food from your trash, they have been observed to dine on soap or toothpaste. In a more extreme scenario, they may even turn cannibalistic and attack other live cockroaches in an attempt to dine on them.

The German cockroach is the most common cockroach to be found in residential homes, and you can recognize them by their light brown or tan coloring, as well as the 2 dark parallel stripes on their backs, same as where you would find the figure 8 pattern on the American cockroach. They’re smaller at an average of half an inch, and also have a significantly shorter lifespan compared to the burlier Americans at 100 to 200 days only.
While German cockroaches have wings, they rarely fly, preferring instead to stealthily dart between your furniture.

Aside from seeing these cockroaches in your home in the flesh, other signs that would point to you having them would be:

1. Their droppings, which may be mistaken for mouse droppings. These are pepper-like, or have ridges on the sides and are blunt on the ends.
2. They leave behind their long, brown-colored egg capsules glued to various surfaces, possibly near food sources.
3. They exude a musty smell.

When you see one cockroach, there’s likely a hundred more you don’t see. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional right away before you have a full-blown infestation on your hands.

Roof rats, Norway rats, and Pack Rats: Learn How to Tell The Difference

The term “rat” is commonly used to refer to any rodent when, in fact, rodents are a superfamily that includes many different relatives. Inside this, there are rats and mice, known as the Muroidea family. These creatures share many characteristics but also many differences in their physical appearance and behavior. Those of the Rattus genus, the most well known being the roof rat and the Norway rat, are considered direct relatives and “true rats”; whereas the pack rat, is not actually a rat! Arizona is home to many of these rodents and, as they have become a plague, you may want to check out how to identify them.
The Rattus rattus Linnaeus, commonly known as “Roof rat” is the smallest of them all. The complexion of this animal is tiny, though it has a long tail. As they come from rain forests of Southeast Asia, they are good for climbing different surfaces, like wires. They do not like the cold, so Arizona is a nice warm place for them to live. If you find rat excrement and noises in the roof, your house may be infested with these rodents. Roof rats dig through wood, insulation, and pipes; dense vegetation also attracts them. As they can swim, roof rats sometimes use sewage lines to move to other places. They are usually found in desert city areas in Arizona like Phoenix, Yuma and Tucson.
Norway rats, close relatives of the roof rats and also known as “old world rats” or “brown rats” are less common than roof rats, but still a threat. They differ in color, as the Norway rat is brown or reddish, and the roof rat is black. While roof rats prefer living in high places, such as roofs, attics, and trees, their Norway relatives would rather stay in the ground; they build their dens alongside rivers and streams, underneath buildings or in garbage dumps. They are also a common pest in farms, as they settle in barns, kennels, and silos.
Pack rats, on the other hand, are not considered true rats as they belong to the Neotoma genus, they are a different species. There are over 20 species of pack rats, from the Arctic to Central America. The species found in Arizona is the White Throat Wood Rat, also known as “woodrat” and “new world rat”. They usually build dens with vegetation and wood, and they hoard bits and pieces as protection, such as leaves, chewed plastic and paper, and any object they can find.
Certainly, it is important to identify these plagues in order to keep them at bay. Originally from Europe and Southeast Asia, rats were introduced in the USA by trading ships in the 17th century, and they rapidly spread across the country. Roof rats, Norway rats, and Pack rats prefer the hot and sunny Arizona as their living space. Make sure you take all the sanitary measures to keep these rodents out of your property.

Bees Versus Wasps

You’re outside on the porch, enjoying a cup of coffee when you hear the lazy drone of a flying insect nearby. You might think nothing of it, maybe absentmindedly swat at it before you feel that hot, stinging, and likely familiar pain.

In 2001 to 2010, an estimated 10.1 million Americans visited emergency departments for non-canine bite
and sting injuries, and that doesn’t account for everyone that just stayed at home while their faces were
red and swollen!

As you take one last look at the culprit merrily buzzing away, you might wonder – was it a bee, or a
wasp?

Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between the two.

If you were stung more than once, it was likely a wasp. Female bees can sting only once (male bees
don’t), as it is ultimately fatal for them when their stinger gets ripped from their bodies and left in ours –
but wasps can sting multiple times to their hearts content, and they’re also by far the more aggressive
creatures, often chasing their prey for hundreds of yards.

While both are territorial, and while bees do sting when provoked, they tend to focus on flowers and
not on people peacefully sipping coffee on their porch.

Both bees and wasps belong to the insect order Hymenoptera. There are more than 100,000 species of
wasps, including the common yellow jacket wasp that can be found in Arizona. They have yellow and
black stripes, and are often mistaken for honey bees. In fact, most experts think that people coming in
to complain about a honey bee sting, were in fact bitten by a yellow jacket.

While both insects are yellow with black markings, wasps are shinier, have a brighter yellow color, and
thinner waist. They have smoother bodies, while bees are hairier. They also have rounder legs versus
the flatter legs honey bees have.

As for their nests, wasps have no wax-producing glands so instead they create nests that are a paper-like
substance from wood pulp. Bees on the other hand build their hives in cavities that are protected from
the elements, like hollow walls, trees or attics.
When honey bees build their nests in your home, the damage done isn’t usually structural – however,
when they do leave to find a new home, the honey and wax comb left behind will ruin drywall,
insulation and sliding, so it’s always best to ask an expert.

While most people know bees are essential to the environment, not all wasps are bad – wasps can act as
a natural pest control, preying on crop-killing insects.
So if you find what you think are honey bees or wasps on your porch, make sure you have an expert
come by and take a look — so you can sip your coffee in peace.

Black Widows: A Dark Menace

Arizona is home to many different fearsome creatures, some of which have fangs and stingers, and that creep, crawl or slither. The black widow spider is one of the most common inhabitants of the valley which contains 22 different kinds of these arachnids.

The Black Widow is a creature that receives its name for its particular reproductive pattern and cannibalism: females, which are larger and stronger than males, eat their mates after copulating. These females can be easily identified by their characteristic 1.5-inch-black bodies with a red dual triangle-shaped mark on their abdomen. Males are smaller and weaker as their only function is to inseminate the females. Black widows search for dark, cool places to build their spider webs and lay their egg-sacs, usually on corners, on the floor, under patio furniture, around a barbecue, inside mailboxes, toys lying on the floor, and also in the outdoors, inside shrubs or vines. Black widows spread very fast as a female can lay up to 750 eggs (inside up to 9 egg-sacs) several times throughout summer. However, only some of the spiderlings survive, as the fittest prey on their weaker siblings.

Contrary to popular belief, these spiders actually hide from humans and do not attack unless they feel their shelters or offspring are being threatened. In case someone accidentally puts their hand in a black widow’s web, the spider will automatically bite that person. Black widow bites consist of two red spots that mark the area where the spider pierced the skin and injected the neurotoxin into the nervous system. The symptoms are mainly pain, muscle cramps, nausea and in extreme cases, trouble breathing. In order to prevent these unfortunate encounters, it is useful to learn how to identify these venomous spiders and to keep the house and surrounding vegetation clean and free of debris and clutter.
Though black widows are the deadliest spiders in the USA, they inject a little amount of venom when they bite a human, so people do not generally die from these bites. Nevertheless, if you are bitten by a black widow, call the local authorities immediately for help. In order to keep these creatures away from your home, make sure you keep others pests away, such as crickets, roaches, and mosquitoes, their favorite meals. In cold weather and drought, black widows look for refuge indoors, so make sure you keep your floors free of clutter!