Southern Arizona Pests Spotlight Contest | Bill's Home Service Company

Southern Arizona Pests

This year, in celebration of our 60th anniversary, Bill’s Home Service is sharing the spotlight with 60 Southern Arizona pests.

Follow Bill’s Home Service on social media to participate in our “Name that Pest” game where we leave it up to you to guess the correct pest. The answers will be revealed here. Happy guessing!


June 10, 2024
Mosquitos are small and have long narrow wings and a long proboscis, a tube through which they suck their nourishment. Females have short hairs on their antennae; males have more and longer hairs on their antennae. With most mosquito species, the males prefer nectar. The females are the bloodsuckers, and most of that biting happens at night or just before sunset. Once the female uses her proboscis to suck blood from a person, she tends to leave behind a little saliva in the process causing itchiness for the host. Learn about other pest species at

Palo Verde Beetle

June 5, 2024
These beetles have a hard shell and 2 pairs of wings: front wings are hardened and protect back wings. They grow up to 4 inches. You can find them during monsoon season after sunset.These beetles only live as adults for one month because they don’t eat, and live as larvae for as many as three years underground in the roots of Palo Verde trees. The males use their giant jaws to battle, but can’t eat with them. Be careful not to get pinched by these beetles! Learn about other pest species at

Agave Weevil

May 29, 2024
Agave weevils are black bugs, about an inch long and beetle-esque. They have long, curved noses, like most weevils. Although it may look like they have wings, they are just for show as they can’t fly. The large century plant, or Agave americana, is their favorite food source. The females lay eggs in holes burrowed in the leaves. When the eggs hatch, the white, legless larvae head for the tender center of the plant to feed. By the time the plant starts to get that wilted look, the whole family is feeding on the dead tissue and fibers that attract other bugs and bacteria. Learn about other pest species at

Black Widow Spider

May 20, 2024
The female is shiny black with a reddish hourglass shape on the underside of her abdomen. Her body is about a half-inch long; with legs extended, maybe up to 2 inches long. Males are similarly shaped, but they are cream or tan in color and much smaller. The adult female hangs upside down in her web, making her red hourglass easily visible. Females sometimes eat males after mating. They are common throughout North America, but prefer the warm desert climate of Southern Arizona. They can be found in man-made dwellings such as garages, lawn furniture and wood piles. Though no other spider in the U.S. is more toxic, people rarely die from a Black Widow Spider bite; they mainly prey upon insects and only bite to defend themselves. Learn more about black widows at

Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly

May 15, 2024
These are one of the smallest dragonflies in North America, just under 1 inch long. Males have a brown thorax with thin dorsal stripes and yellow spots on the sides. The wings are amber with red stigmas — rectangular spots at the front and ends of the wings. Females’ wings are generally not amber but have a dark patch in each inner wing and a band of color midway toward the outer wings. Females also have the reddish stigmas. They can be found in Arizona, but usually around ponds, lakes and streams. They perch on the tips of shoreline plants and plants poking out of the water. They move their wings and abdomen up and down like a wasp. Learn about other pest species at

Dog-face Butterfly

May 8, 2024
Their name comes from what looks like a dog's head or "poodle face" on their wings, formed by the black area bordering bright yellow wings. The dog-face feature is more prominent in males because females lack the distinct contrast in color. But males and females alike can be recognized by the dark spot on their forewing. Their wingspan is about 2 to 3 inches and during the day they fly around searching for a mate. But when hunger strikes they go in search of their favorite food, flower nectar. Butterflies start in the form of a caterpillar. They grow up on small-leaved plants like alfalfa before spreading their wings and taking off in flight. They often take up residence in dry, open areas like washes, road edges or open woodland. Learn about other pest species at

Arizona Brown Spider

May 1, 2024
The Arizona Brown Spider is small and brown with a slightly darker brown violin-shaped marking on the head and thorax. They prefer dark, gloomy places seldom disturbed by humans, such as basements or garages. Their bite can be dangerous to humans; the most common reaction from a bite is a spreading sore that can cause permanent tissue damage. Learn more about the Arizona Brown Spider at

Gray Bird Grasshopper

April 1, 2024
This grasshopper and its wings are so big, it is often mistaken for a bird when it flies. The exterior is gray, black, white and speckled. Their length ranges from 1.77 inches to 2.95 inches. It’s a close relative of the desert locust. They may feed on pest insects in the garden such as aphids, mites, and scale. They’re common in open woodlands and fields. Learn about other pest species at

Carolina Locust

April 1, 2024
The Carolina Locust is a type of short-horned grasshopper identified by its short antennae. Its exterior is greenish-brown with speckles of dark along its wings. They produce noticeable sounds but only when in flight. They’re large in size; the female is larger than the male. It is generally regarded as the least destructive of the Locust family. They feed on a variety of plants and grasses, clover, sunflowers, and corn. They can be found in open fields and meadows, particularly in drier areas. These grasshoppers can be found in Arizona as well as throughout Northern America. Learn about other pest species at

Arizona Cotton Rat

April 1, 2024
These rats have a short, rounded snout, coarse fur, a thinly furred tail and small ears and eyes. Their coat is brown interspersed with black hairs. These rodents live in areas with good grass growth for their food source is mostly grass and other green growing things. They have eight to 10 litters a year when conditions are good. Learn more about rodents at

Velvet Mite

March 25, 2024
Tiny hairs cover their bodies, giving them a look similar to velvet. These critters are about an eighth of an inch long, with an egg-shaped body and eight legs. They mostly have a bright red hue but can be orange or have cream markings. There are theories that their coloring may be a warning for predators not to eat them. They mostly eat termites and possibly other bugs and eggs smaller than velvet mites. Males lay their sperm on the ground, and females sit on them to fertilize them. Young larvae become parasites and feed off the blood of other small insects. As they grow older, they live in the top layer of dirt on the ground. Learn about other pest species at

Common Coneheads

March 18, 2024
Named after their distinct faces that are pinched into a cone shape, these coneheads are a type of a type of grasshopper or cricket that are green, yellow, brown in color. Most are green and mimic leaves. Their antennae are much longer than their bodies. Their powerful hind legs are much longer than their front sets of legs. They can jump, fly, and sing like other Katydids. Some can deliver a painful bite with their strong jaws made for chewing through tough plant fibers. They tend to reside in open fields along roadsides or in corn fields and thickets. Learn about other pest species at

Grey Garden Slug

March 13, 2024
These slugs are about 1-2 inches long and gray. They like to be in gardens where it is cool and moist. They’re nocturnal and are known to munch on young, tender seedlings and plants. The evidence of their activity is seen in leaf damage, or damage to flowers and fruit. They also leave slimy trails that can easily be spotted on a sidewalk. The best way to control these slugs is to keep the garden area clean with no hiding places and avoid overwatering. Learn about other pest species at

Common Paper Wasp

March 4, 2024
This species sports bright red and yellow coloring, warning everything to leave its nest alone. They’re about 0.78 inches to 1.57 inches long. Compared to other wasps, paper wasps are rarely aggressive but will sting if threatened and can sting multiple times. Paper wasps often construct nests in sheltered areas, such as door frames, window sills, and eaves of houses. Learn more about wasps at

Desert Tarantula

January 30, 2024
A female tarantula has a stockier body than a male and is covered in light brown or tan hair. The male is thinner with black hair covering most of the body and reddish hairs on its abdomen. Males live 10-12 years; females can live twice as long. In the Sonoran Desert, tarantulas grow to a length of 3-4 inches. Most tarantulas have weak venom. Learn about other pest species at

Brown Dog Tick

January 23, 2024
Brown dog ticks go through four life stages – egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After hatching ticks must take a blood meal at every stage to survive. Between each stage, the tick sheds its exoskeleton and grows larger. Brown dog ticks are 3-host ticks and require a new host animal at each stage of their life. The tick usually spends its whole life in the host’s living area, which can lead to tick infestations inside homes, since dogs typically live some of their time with humans. Brown dog ticks can complete their entire life cycle indoors and reproduce year-round under these conditions. They spread the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) in Arizona and northwest Mexico. Reduce tick harborage opportunities by removing furniture, and unused items from under or around your home. Avoid using space under homes as storage areas and reduce plant growth next to and under your home. Wash pet bedding and vacuum inside homes weekly. Learn about other pest species at

Cactus Mouse

January 18, 2024
The cactus mouse can be distinguished by its extremely long tail and small body; its weight ranges from 0.6 oz to 1.41 oz and hair can be brown, gray, or white. These rodents travel up to 8 mph, and only live about one year. In hot temperatures, they lower their metabolism and become inactive to reduce the amount of water they need to survive. Learn more about rodents at

Bed Bug

January 9, 2024
Did you know 20% of Americans deal with bed bugs? Bed bugs are reddish-brown, wingless, apple seed-sized insects that feed on blood, usually at night. They're notorious for hitchhiking, traveling from person to person. Signs of bed bugs include reddish stains on bed sheets/mattresses. They prefer to hide in crevices and tight spaces such as drawer joints, seams of chairs, cracks on the bed frame, etc. Learn more at

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    Jake Swinehart
    Service Technician