Why are there so many bugs in Arizona this year? Insects are taking over the state, and Arizonans want to know why.
Arizona’s Weather Authority Facebook page is absolutely blowing up with questions. And they all have to do with insects. The state is seeing unprecedented numbers of bugs of all kinds in 2021, and residents want to know: what’s with the gargantuan uptick in flies, moths, and the like this year?
“I pulled [my hair] around like this, and I looked down and there was like a whole moth in my hair, like right about here, like whole; he was dead” Phoenix resident Barbara Smith tells CBS 5’s Arizona’s Family.
“There are moths everywhere,” echoes Phoenix resident Melissa Coble. “They were on the outside of our windows, they were getting in the house. They’re on the outside of my car. There was one inside of my car yesterday.”
Many Arizonans are taking to Twitter to voice their concerns, too. “Downtown Phoenix is being plagued by moths,” says Phoenix’s Gabby S. “A moth flew straight at my face the other day. Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by a moth.”
Arizona’s Family says it’s the same story in Mesa, the Verde Valley, and most of the state. So what gives?
Arizona’s Insect Invasion: Blame it on the Rain
If you’re an Arizonan yourself, chances are you know 2021’s monsoon has been a unique, overactive one. And according to one University of Arizona expert, this is exactly why the state’s bugs are currently out of control.
“Last year the conditions were so harsh. It was very dry; it was very hot. We didn’t see great numbers of insects the last couple of years,” Gene Hall, manager for University of Arizona Insect Collection, tells AZFamily.
Now, 2021’s intense monsoon is creating plenty of water – and consequently food – for insects.
“The moths that I’m getting a lot of inquiries about are species that are tied to mesquite,” Hall clarifies. “And caterpillars feed off Mesquite leaves. Mesquite is doing great right now.”
A reason is good to know, sure. But it doesn’t keep the bugs away, does it? If you’re in Arizona, Hall says the absolute best way to deal with the insect-pocalypse is to turn off the lights.
“As soon as the sun goes up, we try and turn off all of the lights,” Arizonan Melissa Coble adds, echoing Hall’s advice.
Barbara Smith is doing the same. “Light is just something they love so we’ve been living a very holistic lifestyle with candles and stuff like that,” she says.
Hall also notes that these moths, flies, mosquitoes, and the like are “always here” for most of the year. They are typically in hiding, however. But now? Now the insects have cause to be ever-active.
So keep those lights off, and the fly swatters handy, Arizona. It’s going to be a Hot Insect Summer.