The University of Arizona


This web-site is intended to be an information resource for those interested in learning and appreciating the smaller critters living in the southwest. Learning a little about the biology of bugs allows us to distinguish the beneficial and benign, from the pest species. Over 95% of bug species are beneficial, and gaining an understanding of their life histories affords us a rich appreciation of the life that surrounds us Understanding how and why pests become problematic, empowers us with the ability to exclude them from our living (home), working (work) and learning environments (school).

Question: I have a colony of bees on my property, are they Africanized?

Short Answer:
Feral bees located in Arizona , New Mexico , southern Texas , southern California , and southern Nevada , are likely to be Africanized bees.

More information:
The Africanized bee in the western hemisphere descended from Apis mellifera scutellata queens accidentally released by a bee-keeper in 1957 in Brazil .  Africanized honey bees have spread from Brazil south to northern Argentina , and north to South and Central America, Trinidad (West Indies), Mexico , Texas , Arizona , New Mexico , Florida and southern California .  Recent evidence suggests that Africanized honey bees may be able to endure colder winters than originally thought. They have been reported in Kansas City , Missouri .  As the Africanized honey bee migrates further north through Mexico , colonies are interbreeding with European honey bees. This appears to be resulting in a dilution of the genetic contribution of the African stock and a gradual reduction of their aggressive behaviors.

Thus Africanized bees are expected to be a hazard mostly in the Southern States of the United States , reaching as far north as the Chesapeake Bay in the East. In California they have been seen on the Pacific Coast as far north as Santa Barbara and are expected to eventually occupy the San Francisco Bay Area. They have been found to be able to live in the Andes Mountains in South America . The limiting factor seems to be that they tend to not store food as efficiently other honey bees do. When there are no flowers blooming, they starve to death. The cold-weather limits of the Africanized bee have driven professional bee breeders from Southern California into the harsher wintering locales of the northern Sierra Nevada (U.S.) and southern Cascade range . The northern range limits of the bees seems to be moving and climate change may well allow further expansion north to continue.

Question: What pesticides would you recommend for scorpion management in and around homes?

Short answer:  I would not recommend pesticide applications for scorpion management.  I recommend pest proofing buildings and night-time black-light collections.

More information:  Scorpions ; Pest proofing

Question: Can you relocate honey bee colonies as opposed to killing the colony?

Short answer:  In most states there are no companies who relocate colonies. Colony reallocation would require removal on the entire comb and colony.  If foraging bees are simply trapped and released with no comb to return to they die. 

More information:  Honey bee biology

Question: Do desert cockroaches transmit disease organisms?

Short answer:  Our desert cockroaches in the genus Arenivaga are not known to transmit disease pathogens.

More information:
  Some cockroach species are known to transfer pathogens.
The fact that some synanthropic cockroaches live in homes, sewers, kitchens, hospitals, etc. and feed on human foods, feces, and cadavers makes it possible for them to vector a variety of human disease causing organisms, both internally and externally (phoretically). They have been known to carry viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and helminths. At least 18 bacteria that cause human diseases have been found naturally in pest species. The American (Periplaneta Americana) and German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) are species of medical importance.
Question: I want to use an insect repellent on my children, but have read about skin sensitivities to DEET, can you give me some effective alternatives?

Short answer:  Picaridin (KBR 3023, Chemical Name: 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester)
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus* or PMD (Chemical Name: para-Menthane-3,8-diol)the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus
IR3535 (Chemical Name: 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)

More information:  Some Insect repellents contain DEET, and the lower concentrations are considered safe for use on children older than 2 months of age.  However, there are other effective alternatives that have been tested and approved as safe for kids, and effective.  DEET may be listed under the following chemical names: N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethly-3-methyl-benzamide.  Generally, a repellent with DEET should not be applied more than once a day, and should not be used on the face, under clothing, or on the hands of young children. Picaridin may be listed as KBR 3023. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also known as P-menthane diol, or PMD.