Hot summer months bring more bugs: here’s what you need to know

Since there aren’t many insects crawling through Arizona during the winter months, the creatures emerge from the desert region during warm and sunny weather.

Nature Guard Pest & Lawn states that as temperatures rise and food and shelter become more available, pests become more active in the spring. Pests reach their peak activity in summer.

An insect calendar compiled by the University of Arizona describes an increase in the number of insects present in our landscape from May to August. Here’s what you need to know about the insects you might encounter this summer.

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Not many of Arizona’s best-known insects appear in May. However, there are several species that you can spot during the last month of spring.

Agave weevils- According to the insect calendar, agave beetles are ‘shiny’ black beetles with a long snout. The beetles are grounded and feed on agave. When they nibble on the agave, they introduce a bacteria that causes the plants to die.

What must we do: If you are bothered by agave beetles, the Insect Calendar recommends spreading diazinon around uninfected plants. The beetles are not harmful to humans.

Swallowtail butterflies: In May, the Insect Calendar reported that yellow and black swallowtail butterflies can be observed on citrus trees. They lay their eggs on citrus leaves, from which ‘orange dog caterpillars’ hatch. These caterpillars eat only a few leaves during their entire life.

What must we do: Checking for swallowtail butterflies is not necessary.

Blister beetles: Blister beetles feed on pollen and are available in black, yellow and red, according to the insect calendar. They contain a “poisonous” material that can cause burns or blisters in the skin if picked up or handled.

What must we do: It is recommended not to pick up the beetles with bare hands and keep in mind that they are harmful and poisonous to horses if swallowed.

May or June beetles: These beetles, also called beetle beetles, are attracted to light, according to the insect calendar. They lay eggs in the soil that turn into ‘white grubs’ that feed on roots of grass mats and plants.

What must we do: They can be controlled with nematodes or pesticides available at garden stores.

Leaf cutter bees– These bees remove bits of leaves and roses to line their nests, according to the insect calendar. They are important pollinators for the ecosystem.

What must we do: To protect roses you can cover them with a floating cover.


Cicada- These noisy creatures can be heard singing or buzzing during the warm weather. They do not cause damage to plants and do not need to be monitored.

For more information about the insect, visit this Republic article.

Ants and termites- According to the insect calendar, ants and termites will come out during the summer monsoon rains. Their colonies can produce thousands of insects at this time of year, but the period in which they swarm is short.

What must we do- If you think you have a swarm or are concerned, you can schedule a termite inspection.

Black Widow- Black widow spiders are venomous, but generally not aggressive and not many people die from their bites. Black widows generally prefer dry and arid environments. For more information on the Black Widow, visit this Republic article.

Scorpios– According to the insect calendar, these creatures are very active during warm summer nights and can be found at night with black lights. Only one scorpion, the bark scorpion, is poisonous. However, it is recommended to always wear closed shoes at night.

What must we do: Scorpion stings can be painful, but are usually not life-threatening. If you think you have been stung by a bark scorpion, it is advisable to call your local poison control center.

Giant palm leaf beetles– According to the insect calendar, these insects emerge from the trunks of palm trees and leave a hole the size of a quarter. Palm trees that are heavily infested should be removed as they are likely to break or fall in high winds.

Conenose or kissing insects– These insects are dark brown with yellow or red spots and feed on the blood of rodents, but also on humans, usually when they are sleeping.

What must we do: According to the insect calendar, they can cause an allergic reaction. If you think you have been bitten and may be allergic, call your local poison control center immediately.


Sun spiders or wind scorpions: According to the insect calendar, spider relatives have large jaws that make them look scary, but they are relatively harmless and only catch and eat insects. They are attracted to bright lights at night.

Palo Verde borers– These are large dark brown beetles with a collar behind their heads. They are harmless if left alone and feed on plants, but not palo verdes!

What must we do– To keep these pests away, water trees and shrubs well.

Indian house crickets and cockroaches The insects can feed on rotting garbage and dog food and can grow in population quite quickly, according to the Insect Calendar. They are most active at night.

What must we do: To get rid of them, boric acid, cockroach traps and indoor sticky traps can be used. Insecticide sprays can be used outdoors.

Fire ants– Fire ants usually nest in urban areas and can enter homes, according to the insect calendar.

What must we do: To keep them out, it is advisable to seal any cracks and place ant traps inside. Insecticides can be used outdoors.

Praying mantis- These insects can resemble stems or twigs and are usually light green or light brown. They are non-toxic and usually not harmful.


Spider mites- Summer dust storms can cause spider mites to break out. Spider mites tend to burrow into plants. If your plants look yellowed or have spider webs on them, it is advisable to wash and dust the webs with a garden hose.

Brown dog plate – These pests can reach large numbers and can be found in gardens or walls according to the insect calendar. The female ticks are found on dogs.

What must we do: Remove any ticks from the dog’s body and there are tick and flea control products available for use and control.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: What to know about insects during Arizona summers