Residents of Arizona are used to cohabitating with the creatures of the desert. After all, the desert usually begins right where your yard ends. They may be cute little buggers when you see them out in the sands, but they can bring potentially lethal health problems and even damage the structure of your home.

Here are some pro tips on how to handle encounters with Arizona’s worst desert pests.

The Black Widow Spider

This glossy black spider is identifiable by the red hourglass on its underside, but we don’t recommend that you get that close. They are very venomous and there is no reliable first aid for their bite. If you suspect that you have been bitten, seek out a physician immediately. They like to hide in dark places: garages, basements, and inside your wood pile. It is recommended that you light these areas as much as possible before spelunking around in them. And if you see black widows, do not attempt to handle or swat these venomous guests with your bare hands. Certain spider-specific pesticides are very effective, so keep them close at hand.


Arizona is home to a variety of scorpions, all of which are venomous and potentially hazardous. Unlike the black widow, these arachnids are roving predators who are not looking to hide but rather are actively hunting the bugs that human activity attracts (kind of like uninvited exterminators). Since pesticides don’t bother them much unless they take a direct hit, spraying isn’t an effective way of dealing with them. However, fumigation can deplete their food supply of bugs and make them vacate the premises due to hunger.

Western Subterranean Termites

They may be small, but they can bring down the house. Western Subterranean Termites are a menace to timber, destroyers of plant life, and a potential disaster to any wooden structure standing in Arizona. If you suspect these desert pests are taking a bite out of your home, contact an exterminator immediately. Removing them will require a great deal of time and expertise.

Pack Rats

Oh, rats. These little guys can cause big trouble. Pack rats may look pretty innocuous, kind of like a little light-brown mouse, but they are natures chewing machine. They will chew through anything that is in their way when they are trying to create a den to hide their food and valuables they collect, destroying expensive wires, hoses, and even plumbing components. They generate an astounding amount of urine and pellets that can cause disease, breed like crazy, and can even attract the attention of rattlesnakes to your home (two pests for the price of one). Baited traps are the most effective method of capturing them before they start a family, although these traps don’t necessarily need to be lethal if you have a soft heart for little fuzzy ones.

Do you need extra muscle to evict these desert pests from your abode? We are here to help. Contact the pest professors at University Termite and Pest Control today!

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