Pest Guide

Ambassador Pest Control Ltd., is extremely knowledgeable about the pests that reside in the deserts of Arizona. To help you understand some of the pests that you may encounter here in Arizona, we have put together a guide to the most common pests.

American Cockroach

Commonly known as “waterbug”. These Roaches are found in residences but are much more common in larger buildings such as hospitals, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants. They feed on many kinds of food; they show a particular fondness for fermenting food. They tend to fly when it’s humid.

German Cockroach

Found throughout structures but show preference for warm and humid places. Usually found in kitchens and secondarily in bathrooms, but infestation often occur in rooms where people eat and drink while watching television. These Roaches are introduced into buildings via paper products or paper packaging such as grocery bags, cardboard boxes, drink cartons, and via second hand appliances.

Field Cricket

Typically found in moist areas, around woodpiles, stones, unweeded plant beds and mulched areas. Their presence is often indicated by the chirping sounds. They can destroy field crops, cause damage to fabrics of cotton, wool, linen, silk, synthetics, or leather and fur garments. Attracted to lights.

Fire Ant

Typically nests outside adjacent to foundation walls. They are commonly introduced into new areas via potted or bailed shrubs and trees. Fire Ants are attracted to electrical junction boxes of traffic signals, air conditioners and when they amass around the electrical contact points, they cause the equipment to malfunction. They inflict painful bites and stings.

Carpenter Ant

The presence of a Carpenter Ant nest is sometimes indicated by rustling sound coming from wall voids or from wood where the colony is located. Emergence of swarmers indoors may be the indication of an indoor colony. Their habit of hollowing out galleries in pieces of wood for nesting purposes can result in structural damage.

Argentine Ant

Outside, these ants typically nest under stones, in cracks in pavement, and next to buildings. Inside, they will occasionally nest in walls, in insulation and under floors. These ants feed on almost anything including insects, melon, honeydew, seeds, plant sap, cheese, bread, but show preference for meats and grease.

Honey Bee or Africanized Honey Bee

These Bees are social insects and live as colonies in hives, with mature colonies of 20,000-90,000 individuals. Honey Bees are not aggressive, and do not search for something to attack, but Africanized Bees are the total opposite. If stung, immediate removal of stinger is recommended and a cold compress will reduce the pain and swelling. If the reaction is more severe that a small welt, consult a physician immediately because death can occur within 15-30 minutes from severe allergic reactions. At least 90% of all bees in Arizona are Africanized.

Black Widow Spider

These Spiders spin an irregular web and hang from it in an inverted or upside down position. The web is very strong and is used to ensnare prey. The Black Widow’s poison is a neurotoxin. There is an antitoxin available. Immediately call a physician. If treated, bites are rarely fatal except occasionally in small children. Outside, black widows commonly live in protected places among and under stones, pieces of wood, under decks, hollow stumps, trees, meter boxes, brick veeners, and j-trims of houses. Indoors, garages, basements, and crawl spaces.

Arizona Brown Spider or Brown Recluse

Color tan to dark brown with a darker fiddle or violin-shaped marking on top of the head. Outside, they are typically found around rocks, piles of inner tubes, utility boxes, woodpiles, under bark and cedar bark roofs. Indoors, they can be found in boxes, among papers, and in seldom-used clothing, shoes, under chairs and tables. If bitten, call a physician or go to the emergency room immediately. The dead tissue gradually sloughs away. Healing is very slow, possibly resulting in a dense scar tissue. In severe cases, plastic surgery may be required.


They are nocturnal feeders and feed mostly on insects and Spiders, but can be cannibalistic. In Arizona, they show preference for Crickets. When sunrise occurs, scorpions seek shelter in the first available harborage which may be shoes, pants/shirts/jackets. Bark Scorpions, can remain indoors for 6 months. The sting of the Bark Scorpion causes only temporary local pain, tingling/itching, some localized swelling or tenderness. In most cases, all signs and symptoms subside within 24 hours. However, some people may develop and allergic response that can be life threatening. The venom is a neurotoxin.

Desert Subterranean Termites

These Termites live in plants including dead cactus, but can severely damage posts, utility poles, and the wood of houses and buildings. A typical sign of infestation is the presence of drop tubes coming from the ceiling and sheetrock/plasterboard and/or holes in the sheetrock plugged with feces. Also, mud tubes on foundation of homes. They require a hole of only about 1 millimeter in diameter for access. The colonies are typically located in the desert soil.

Pack Rat or Wood Rat

These are social animals and often many burrows will be located within a given area. Outdoors, they prefer to nest under cactus and Cholla Trees, under concrete slabs and boulders. Indoors, pack rats nest in basements and the lower portions of buildings in piles of debris or merchandise as long as it is not disturbed. Although they prefer the ground or lower levels of buildings, on occasion they may be found in attics, on roofs and in other high places.

Bed Bugs

The Bed Bug is an ectoparasite of primarily humans but will attack poultry and other mammals and birds. Bed Bugs harbor in cracks and crevices during the day and come out to feed at night. Typically found around mattress buttons and beading, in boxsprings or their coverings, and in any crevice of wooden bed frame, picture frames, night stand, and stuffed furniture. They can be introduced into a structure via used furniture or in the belongings of someone who has been living in a Bed Bug infested situation. Adults can live in excess of 6-7 months if they are well fed with blood from their host.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and Ticks not only cause discomfort by biting, but they can transmit several diseases such as plague and murine typhus. Pre-emerged adult remains in the cocoon, where it’s protected from adverse conditions, including pesticides. It is not necessary to have pets in the building to have Fleas present. Since fleas can jump 6” vertically, they can easily hitch a ride on shoes, trousers, etc. Many vacationers, who may have been unaware of few adult Fleas present, are often greeted and severely attacked by Fleas upon their return.

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Pigeons are of medical concern because more than 50 diseases and ectoparasites have been associated with their nests, and droppings. Probably the best known is the lung disease Histoplasmosis. Pigeons have very alkaline droppings, which can deface marble, limestone, painted surfaces, statues, car finishes.


All Pocket Gophers are burrowers. They are large hoarders, and their cheek pouches are used for transporting food back to their burrows. Gophers can collect large hoards. Their presence is unambiguously announced by the appearance of mounds of fresh dirt about 20 cm in diameter. These mounds will often appear in vegetable gardens, lawns, or farms, as Gophers like moist soil. They also enjoy feeding on vegetables. For this reason, some species are considered agricultural pests. They may also damage trees in forests. Although they will attempt to flee when threatened, they may attack other animals, including cats and humans, and can inflict serious bites with their long, sharp teeth.

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