It was twelve years ago, summer of 2005, I stepped off the plane and onto the soil of Arizona to pursue a career in structural pest management. Mind you, I was born and raised in Minnesota (as many of my Midwest readers can relate) and the mental preparedness can only get you so far. I was told a few things repeatedly prior to my journey:
A) There are only three hot months and the rest of the year is gorgeous. In fact, summers in Arizona are like winters in Minnesota, everyone retreats to the interior of their homes where one is the master of his own climate. Besides, it’s dry heat (code for fake hot).
B) If you suffer from allergies, Arizona is great. Virtually no allergies, you’ll be breathing easy in no time. Why? Because it’s dry. Science (apparently).
C) You can leave your doors and windows open all night if you want because NO MOSQUITOES! It’s the desert. No water, no mosquitoes. More science (apparently).
So, let’s review these little anecdotes after twelve years of case study:
A) There are five hot months, not three. They are brutal, and I am still sweating. So don’t let anyone try and soften it with this cute dry heat retort because yesterday it was 117. And you let me know how comfortable it is inside when you get that utility bill.
B) I didn’t have allergies….until Arizona. And let us not forget someone once told us that when you see a 5000 ft wall of dust roll up from Tucson. So February for me is pretty much shot as I sit at my desk looking like I just got through watching Manchester by the Sea.
C) Go ahead and leave your door open at night and see what happens. You’ll be calling me the next morning to remove the cockroaches, mice, crickets, scorpions, crane flies, houseflies, moths, coyotes, and MOSQUITOES that decided the temperature inside your house was nicer than what they were sleeping in outside. Yeah, I said Mosquitoes. Who knew? Looks like the desert isn’t quite as dry as everybody was telling us.
I am speaking in jest, of course. Arizona is my home now, but it took a few years to understand the nuances of my new life and of my profession.
Yes, we have mosquitoes.
The Arizona Dept of Agriculture is also telling me that mosquito populations are continually growing. This is important to residents as mosquitoes are vectors for arboviruses (viruses transmitted by blood feeders). We hear regularly about West Nile Virus (WNV), St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE), chikungunya, dengue, and now zika. Concerning Arizona, the Arizona Department of Health Services conducts annual studies on mosquito populations to determine what diseases are being introduced and what carriers are affected. Currently, WNV and SLE are present in Arizona while the aforementioned additional three have yet to be discovered. However, the vector mosquitoes, Culex(WNV and SLE) and Aedes (chinkungunya, dengue, zika) are abundant and that means we must be vigilant in ensuring Arizona residents are protected.
Over the last several years, we have seen a demand in mosquito control. As a result, we have tailored a program to control mosquito populations around your home. In the meantime, click on this illustration provided by the ADHS that will highlight areas around your home that you can manipulate in order to create an environment that is not accommodating to mosquito activity. Pay close attention around your home, the mosquito season has begun (May-October). Keep in mind, there isn’t a lot of water here in the Valley, Phoenix only gets about 8 inches of precipitation a year. However, mosquito only need 1 ml water depth to lay and hatch eggs. That’s as easy as a turned over bottle cap that fell under the patio table.
What I was told 12 years ago is largely correct; Arizona is dry, but not dry enough.
Nathan Watters, President
Cummings Termite & Pest