Living in Arizona comes with many benefits that include warm, dry weather nearly all year long and beautiful desert scenery you can enjoy from the comfort of your own backyard. Arizona is also home to an abundance of varied plant and animal life, many of which are not typically found outside the state, such as the saguaro cactus. However, some insects and reptiles found in Arizona can be dangerous to pets and people. If you want to keep your home safe, there are several pests you should watch out for and safeguard against before they invade.

1. The Bark Scorpion

While there are several species of scorpion that live in Arizona, the bark scorpion poses the most threat to humans. These scorpions can be aggressive and will sting when they feel threatened. They hunt at night and prey on beetles, spiders, crickets, and other medium-sized insects. While they are well adapted to the Arizona heat and usually live under large rocks and other crevices, they will make themselves at home in your house too and live under sink cabinets, basements, and other moist areas.

You can recognize the bark scorpion by its light gold or yellow coloring, thin tail, and curved stinger at the end of the tail. Do not attempt to handle this creature if you should find it in your home. Instead, call a professional to have it removed and to have your home inspected for a possible infestation.

2. Blister Beetle

You can observe many different species of beetles in Arizona; however, the blister beetle is the only group that might cause harm to people or pets. This beetle secretes an irritant called cantharidin from its body, and when the insect is slapped or crushed on the skin, it can create an itchy, painful rash. These beetles are typically outdoor invaders and can pose a threat to gardens and other outdoor spaces.

Blister beetles are not difficult to spot because of their size and color, which can range from black to lighter ash. Some have orange or umber spots. They are active during the day, which may cause you to come in contact with them while gardening.

3. House Centipedes

The house centipede is one of the most common in Arizona and is rarely seen because of its nocturnal nature. However, when the conditions are right, this creature often invades homes to seek out prey and moist, dark conditions. They also commonly crawl from sink and tub drains, especially after heavy rains or flooding. They typically prey upon cockroaches, moths, and other pests, which can be beneficial. However, they also deliver a bite that can be painful and, in some cases, dangerous to young children and the elderly.

House centipedes usually congregate in basements or under sinks enclosed by cabinets. They have long legs and very visible antenna and usually grow up to five inches long. They are swift and difficult to catch. You should not try to handle them, as their bite can be painful. Call a pest removal service if you suspect an infestation.

4. Black Widow Spider

The black widow spider is one of the most dangerous creatures in Arizona. It’s shiny black body and tell-tale red hourglass on the underbelly makes the female of this species easy to spot. While most black widows are shy, bites can happen if these spiders make their way inside and hide in shoes and clothing. Since their venom is more dangerous than most species of rattlesnakes, you should try to make your home as unhospitable to them and their prey as possible. Seal attics and basements and keep sheds and storage areas free of webs.

Living in Arizona can be a wonderful experience. However, since potentially dangerous pests share the desert environment with you, being able to identify them and knowing how to keep them away from your home can make for a peaceful coexistence.

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