Desert Hairy Scorpion
The German cockroach is a widely distributed urban pest. It is also the most common cockroach species in houses,
apartments, restaurants, hotels, and other institutions. This is true not only in Arizona but also throughout the
United States and in most parts of the civilized world. Adult German cockroaches are 1/2 to 5/8 inch long and tan to
light brown. Although they have fully developed wings, they do not fly. Nymphs are similar in appearance to adults
except that they are smaller and lack wings. The German cockroach is best identified by its small size and by two
dark parallel lines running from the back of the head to the wings. It is usually found in kitchens (near dishwashers,
stoves, and sinks) and in bathrooms of homes.
German cockroaches usually prefer a moist environment with a relatively high degree of warmth. The insects are
mostly scavengers and will feed on a wide variety of foods. They are especially fond of starches, sweets, grease,
and meat products. In many locations, garbage is a principal food source. As with other species, German
cockroaches are mostly active at night, when they forage for food, water, and mates. During the day they hide in
cracks and crevices and other dark sites that provide a warm and humid environment. Their relatively wide, flat
bodies enable them to move in and out of cracks and narrow openings with ease. They may be seen during the
daytime, particularly if a heavy population is present or if there is some other stress, such as a lack of food or water
or an application of pesticides.
The German cockroach is the most successful of the species infesting buildings across the world. There are
several reasons for this cockroach’s persistence and the difficulty of controlling it. German cockroaches produce a
larger number of eggs per capsule and they undergo the shortest time from hatching until sexual maturity, resulting
in a rapid population growth. A greater number of nymphs hatch successfully because the female carries the egg
capsule during the entire time the embryos are developing within the eggs. Also, and most importantly, German
cockroaches are smaller than most other cockroaches and can conceal themselves in many places inaccessible to
individuals of the larger species. The German cockroach has three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult.
Females produce a light brown, purse-shaped egg capsule that is less than 1/4 inch long and contains two rows of
eggs. Each capsule contains up to 48 eggs (usually 30 to 48), and adult females usually produce from four to eight
egg capsules during their lifetime. At room temperature, one capsule is produced about every 6 weeks. Egg
capsules are carried, protruding from the abdomen, until hatching time when they are deposited into crevices and
other sheltered locations. It usually takes 28 days for the capsule to hatch from the time it begins to form.
Formation of the next egg capsule usually begins within a couple of weeks. The length of the egg stage varies from
14 to 35 days, with six to seven nymphal stages (instars) occurring over a period of 6 to 31 weeks. The life span of
the adult female varies from 20 to 30 weeks. In one year over 10,000 descendants can be produced.
The American cockroach is also known as the water bug, flying water bug and, in some areas of the South, the
palmetto bug. It is the largest of the common species, growing to 1.5 inches or more in length. It is reddish-brown,
with a pale brown or yellow border on the upper surface of the pronotum. Both the male and female are fully
winged. The wings of the male extend slightly beyond the tip of the abdomen, while those of the female are about
the same length as the abdomen.
The female drops her egg capsule within a day after it is formed. Sometimes it is dropped in a suitable location,
such as near a food source, or in a protected area. In the South, this may be outdoors in moist and decaying
wood. At other times it may be glued to some surface with secretions from the female's mouth. Egg capsules are
formed at the rate of about one per week until from 15 to 90 capsules have been produced. Each capsule contains
14-16 eggs. At room temperature, nymphs will hatch out in 50-55 days. In the process of hatching, nymphs will molt
and leave their first cast skins in the egg case.
Young nymphs are grayish-brown and each will molt 9-13 times before reaching maturity. After the first few molts,
nymphs become more reddish brown in color. The time required to complete the nymphal stage varies from
160-971 days. Under ideal conditions, an adult female can live up to 14-15 months; males for a somewhat shorter
period. However, in natural populations many factors reduce their life span.
When indoors, the nymphs and adults are usually found in dark, moist areas of basements and crawl spaces as
well as in and around bathtubs, clothes hampers, floor drains, pipe chases and sewers. In basements they are
usually found in corner areas high on the walls. In the North, this roach is commonly associated with steam heat
tunnels. In northern areas where steam heat tunnels are not found, the American cockroach will be restricted
primarily to large institutional buildings. The American cockroach is also common around the manholes of sewers,
and on the underside of metal covers of large sump pumps in boiler rooms. American cockroaches have also been
observed migrating from one building to another during warm months in the North.
In the South, this roach is abundant in alleyways, yards, hollow trees and palm trees. Recent studies in Florida
have shown that American cockroaches and other outdoor roaches are generally associated with trees and
woodpiles in landscapes. They especially prefer moist, shady areas. Sometimes they are found under roof shingles
or flashing, or even in the attic. Similar studies in Texas have shown that American and smoky-brown cockroaches
often prefer moist, shady areas of ground cover, which are often found around foundations and near swimming
pools. The presence of automatic sprinkler systems for irrigating these areas of turf and ground cover will provide
particularly attractive and favorable living conditions for cockroach populations. When conditions are unfavorable,
American cockroaches and other outdoor species may move indoors.
American cockroaches feed on a variety of foods, but decaying organic matter seems to be preferred. They also
feed upon book bindings, manuscripts, clothing and glossy paper with starch sizing. Syrup and other sweets are
also attractive. The adults can survive two or three months without food, but only about a month without water. The
adults have well-developed wings, but seldom fly. They are capable of gliding long distances and will cover
considerable distances if they take off from a tree or roof top. In the South, and as far north as Kentucky, American
cockroaches have been reported to fly short distances
Black to brownish-black, about one-twelfth to one-sixteenth inch long; six legs, with many bristles on body and legs;
Habits: Found on cats and dogs year-round, but most common during warm and humid weather; readily attack and
feed on humans; can jump as much as seven-eighth inch vertically, and 14 to 16 inches horizontally.
What do they like to eat? Blood
A Female can lay about 25 eggs a day, and up to 800 eggs during her lifetime; fleas undergo complete
metamorphosis, usually in 14 to 90 days.
*Carrier of many diseases; adults can live one to two months without feeding.
*A number of diseases are transmitted by fleas, including epidemic typhus and bubonic plague.
*Fleas also carry tapeworms from dogs and rodents and occasionally transmit them to humans.
*Fleas are generally less than three-sixteenth of an inch long.
*More than 2,400 flea species exist worldwide.
*The lifespan of fleas on dogs is usually more than 100 days, in which time a pair of fleas and their descendants
can produce millions of offspring.
*A female flea consumes 15 times its body weight in blood daily.
*Fleas are attracted to animals by body heat, movement, and the carbon dioxide they exhale.
*Fleas accelerate the equivalent of 50 times faster than a space shuttle does after liftoff.
*Fleas can jump up to 150 times the length of their bodies - sideways or up - equivalent to a person jumping nearly
a thousand feet.
Mainly because of their overwhelming capacity to reproduce, fleas can become nagging nuisances for
homeowners. However, there are several precautionary steps which can help control these critters.
Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum.... carpets, rugs and furniture often to remove flea eggs, larvae or pupae. Place the
vacuum bag in plastic and remove from your home.
Screen foundation vents under the home to keep wild animals from wandering under the house and creating their
own flea breeding ground.
There are two groups of ticks, sometimes called the “hard” ticks and “soft” ticks. Hard ticks, like the common dog
tick, have a hard shield just behind the mouthparts (sometimes incorrectly called the “head”); unfed hard ticks are
shaped like a flat seed. Soft ticks do not have the hard shield and they are shaped like a large raisin. Soft ticks
prefer to feed on birds or bats and are seldom encountered unless these animals are nesting or roosting in an
occupied building. Although at least 15 species of ticks occur in Illinois, only a few of these ticks are likely to be
encountered by people: American dog tick, lone star tick, blacklegged (deer) tick, brown dog tick and winter tick.
American Dog Tick
One of the most frequently encountered ticks is the American dog tick, also sometimes known as the wood tick. The
larvae and nymphs feed on small warm-blooded animals such as mice and birds. The adult American dog tick will
feed on humans and medium to large mammals such as raccoons and dogs.
Unfed males and females are reddish-brown and about 3/16-inch long. Females have a large silver-colored spot
behind the head and will become ½-inch long after feeding or about the size of a small grape. Males have fine silver
lines on the back and do not get much larger after feeding. Males are sometimes mistaken for other species of ticks
because they appear so different from the female.
In Illinois, the adults are most active in April, May and June. By September, the adults are inactive and are rarely
observed. The American dog tick can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and possibly ehrlichiosis to
Blacklegged Tick, also known as the Deer Tick
All three active stages of the blacklegged / deer tick will feed on a variety of hosts including people. After the eggs
hatch in the spring, the very tiny larvae feed primarily on white-footed mice or other small mammals. The following
spring, the larvae molt into pinhead-sized, brown nymphs that will feed on mice, larger warm-blooded animals and
people. In the fall, they molt into adults that feed primarily on deer, with the females laying eggs the following spring.
Adults are reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long (or about one-half the size of the more familiar female American
dog tick).These ticks are found in wooded areas along trails. The larvae and nymphs are active in the spring and
early summer; adults may be active in both the spring and fall. The blacklegged / deer tick can transmit Lyme
disease and possibly ehrlichiosis to humans.The deer tick has been found sporadically in many Illinois counties.
However, in recent years it has been common only in limited areas, mostly in northern Illinois (Geographic
distribution by county). Additionally, Illinois residents may encounter the deer tick during trips to Michigan,
Minnesota, Wisconsin or the northeastern United States where it is very common in some areas.
The brown dog tick (also known as the kennel tick) is found through most of the United States This tick feeds on
dogs, but rarely bites people. Unlike the other species of ticks, its life cycle allows it to survive and develop indoors.
The brown dog tick is found primarily in kennels or homes with dogs where it may be found hiding in cracks, behind
radiators, under rugs and furniture, and on draperies and walls.
The adult is reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long, and usually attaches around the ears or between the toes of a
dog to feed. After feeding, a female may engorge to ½-inch long. She then drops off the dog and crawls into a
hiding place where she may lay as many as 3,000 eggs. This tick is tropical in origin and does not survive Illinois
winters outdoors. The brown dog tick is not an important carrier of human disease.
The Palo Verde Beetle
Palo Verde root borer, or Palo Verde borer beetle, is a longhorn beetle native to the American Southwest and to
northern Mexico. It is one of the largest beetles in North America.
They hatch from eggs into grubs, which live underground for as much as three years. They are cream colored to
pale green, typically with a brown headcap. The grubs feed on the roots of the Palo Verde tree, causing dieback. As
they mature they leave the ground through exit holes around the roots of the tree.
Mature borer beetles look like a large cockroach. They can grow six to eight inches, have long antennae, and spines
on the thorax which form a collar around the "neck" of the beetle. They range from brown to black in color. They
have wings and can fly, albeit awkwardly at times. The adults lay eggs in the soil. Adult beetles come out in the
summer time, especially in the early evening when attracted by outside lighting.
Western Boxelder Bug
The western boxelder bug occurs only in central Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and also along the West Coast extending
to British Columbia.Both species prefer feeding on female boxelder trees, but they also feed on other maples,
including silver maple trees (Acer saccharinum); fruit trees; grapes and strawberries. The western boxelder bug may
damage crops of pears and nut trees such as pistachios and almonds. This is not an issue in northern Nevada.
Both species have piercing, sucking mouthparts. The adult boxelder bug is brown-black with three red lines behind
its head and red veins in its wings. Its abdomen beneath the wings is red. The adult western boxelder bug is very
similar, but has many more fine red lines on the dorsal surface of its wings
The life histories of both species are similar in that they may have two generations a year in Nevada. In the fall, adult
boxelder bugs leave their host and congregate en masse in a warm location, usually the south and west exposures
of tree trunks and structures, before seeking a warm, dry, protected place to overwinter.
Numerous adults may also congregate en masse in sheltered places, such as under rocks, steps, decking or
sidewalks; behind house siding; and within cracks and crevices. These sheltered sites usually have a southern or
Adult bugs are inactive during the winter but frequently come out from hibernation during sunny, warm days. They
may attempt to feed on plants during this time. When temperatures drop at night, or for long periods, the bugs go
back into hibernation.
In the spring, when temperatures are warm and stable, and as buds of boxelder trees open, females lay small red
eggs on leaves of trees and shrubs, on grasses, and in bark cracks and crevices near female boxelder trees.
Individual eggs are oval, shiny and about 2 millimeters (.08 inches) in length. The first instar is the stage when the
insect emerges from the egg and sheds its exoskeleton. First instar nymphs are very small, wingless and bright red
with minor black markings. Nymphs feed on leaves and succulent twigs, but they prefer to feed on developing seeds
of boxelder or maple trees.
Overwintering adults feed on seeds from the previous season’s seed crop. When new seeds are available, nymphs
and adults of both species feed on these seeds throughout their life cycle. In mid-to-late summer, the bugs may feed
on fruit of nearby apple, apricot, pear, peach, and plum trees.
In the late-spring and early summer, homeowners often notice large, black bees hovering around the outside of
their homes. These are probably carpenter bees searching for mates and favorable sites to construct their nests.
Male carpenter bees are quite aggressive, often hovering in front of people who are around the nests. The males
are quite harmless, however, since they lack stingers. Female carpenter bees can inflict a painful sting but seldom
will unless they are handled or molested.
Carpenter bees resemble bumble bees, but the upper surface of their abdomen is bare and shiny black; bumble
bees have a hairy abdomen with at least some yellow markings. Despite their similar appearance, the nesting habits
of the two types of bees are quite different. Bumble bees usually nest in the ground whereas carpenter bees tunnel
into wood to lay their eggs. Bare, unpainted or weathered softwoods are preferred, especially redwood, cedar,
cypress and pine. Painted or pressure-treated wood is much less susceptible to attack. Common nesting sites
include eaves, window trim, facia boards, siding, wooden shakes, decks and outdoor furniture.
Carpenter bees overwinter as adults in wood within abandoned nest tunnels. They emerge in the spring, usually in
April or May. After mating, the fertilized females excavate tunnels in wood and lay their eggs within a series of small
cells. The cells are provisioned with a ball of pollen on which the larvae feed, emerging as adults in late summer.
The entrance hole and tunnels are perfectly round and about the diameter of your finger. Coarse sawdust the color
of fresh cut wood will often be present beneath the entry hole, and burrowing sounds may be heard from within the
wood. Female carpenter bees may excavate new tunnels for egglaying, or enlarge and reuse old ones. The extent
of damage to wood which has been utilized for nesting year after year may be considerable.
The Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion is the largest scorpion in North America, reaching lengths of 6 inches. Their
bodies are brown, with yellowish pinchers (pedipalps) and legs. Their common name comes from the brown hairs
that cover their bodies. These hairs are used to detect ground and air vibrations. They have a long tail (telson) that
is tipped with a bulb-like poison gland and stinger as well as large pinchers (chelae) and four pairs of legs.
Although a common pet species, these scorpions are considered aggressive and will sting frequently. Although the
sting is painful, their venom is considered mild and has little effect on most humans. As with all stings, medical
attention should be sought if the victim shows signs of allergic reactions, such as breathing difficulty, excessive
swelling or prolonged pain.Commonly thought to be insects, scorpions are actually in the same family as spiders,
ticks and mites. Like all scorpions, they fluoresce a greenish blue under black (UV) lights
These scorpions live in desert regions of California and Arizona (the name arizonensis loosely translates to
‘belonging to Arizona,’) and extreme southern Utah and Nevada. They are able to withstand extremely hot regions
because they are nocturnal (active at night.) Rocks are frequently utilized as retreats from the heat of the day.
In the USA the bark scorpion is found in southeastern California, Arizona, Nevada, southern Utah, and
southwestern New Mexico. It is also found throughout the Baja Peninsula and western Sonora in Mexico. The typical
"bark" or "crevice" scorpion is encountered in a variety of situations. It is most commonly found under rocks, logs,
tree bark, and other surface objects. The bark scorpion (1-3 inches in length) is the most commonly encountered
house scorpion. They are common throughout many habitats but almost always in rocky areas.
Most scorpion species are solitary in nature. The exception to this is bark scorpions, which may over-winter in
aggregates of 20-30. The bark scorpion is also one of relatively few species that are able climbers.
The venom of the bark scorpion may produce severe pain (but rarely swelling) at the site of the sting, numbness,
frothing at the mouth, difficulties in breathing (including respiratory paralysis), muscle twitching, and convulsions.
Death is rare, especially in more recent times. Antivenin is available for severe cases. Certain people, however, may
be allergic to the venom and can experience life-threatening side effects when stung (as occurs with bee stings). No
cases of anaphylaxis have been reported in Arizona. Additional information can be found in Venomous Animals of
- Remove all harborages such as: trash, logs, boards, stones, bricks and other objects from around the
- Keep grass closely mowed near the home. Prune bushes and overhanging tree branches away from the
structure. Tree branches can provide a path to the roof for scorpions. Minimize low growing ground cover
- Store garbage containers in a frame that allows them to rest above ground level.
- Never bring firewood inside the building unless it is placed directly on the fire.
- Install weather-stripping around loose fitting doors and windows.
- Plug weep holes in brick veneer with steel wool, pieces of nylon scouring pad or small squares of screen wire.
- Caulk around roof eaves, pipes and any other cracks into the building.
- Keep window screens in good repair. Make sure they fit tightly in the window frame.
- By managing the scorpion food source, you will manage the scorpion population.