Students itched, scratched, cried and walked around campus in soaking wet shoes as the semester began.

The first week of school was marked with monsoon and mosquito bites for many students and opportunities for a little water mischief.

Members of the Aggie House, a student-run residence hall on North Euclid Avenue, sat on the curb Tuesday, Aug. 23, as trucks drove down Euclid, drenching them with street water. A video of five residents being splashed was posted on Barstool Arizona’s Instagram page.

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Aggie House President Aidan Irwin explained that for the Arizona natives in the video, rain is a little bit magical, and since they’re so used to the heat and sun, they wanted to have some good old-fashioned rainy day fun.

While the rains are all fun and games, the bugs that have come as a result of this monsoon season have been a threat to students going about their day.

“The mosquitoes this year have been really bad,” Irwin said, “and there’s also been a good amount of those black beetles around.”

Mosquitoes and those “black beetles,” also known as pinacat beetles, are coming out now because of the increased moisture of the monsoons, but they are not harmful to humans.

“Insects, like all other desert organisms, benefit from the abundant moisture, especially after the hot and dry months that precede monsoon rains,” explained Gene Hall, the University of Arizona’s Insect Collection Manager.

“Arizona is a biodiversity hotspot for insects. … Just like bird watching, people travel from all over the world to visit Arizona during the monsoon season, to see the diversity of insects from the low deserts to the high mountains,” Hall said.

The monsoon season is also the time for most insects to mate and produce young, Hall explained.

Plant growth due to the rain also brought out the bugs.

“Insects that feed on plants thrive,” Hall said, “And the insects that feed on the insects that feed on the plants also benefit from the abundance of food sources.”

Joshua Tennenbaum, an expert at Arizona Pest Control, has some tips for dealing with the bugs this time of year.

  • Avoid standing water. The puddles of water you see will dry up pretty quickly because of the heat, but mosquitoes thrive in standing water.
  • Don’t be afraid to use mosquito repellent. Your classic Off will work, especially at night. This is when they will be most active as it starts to cool down. Even if you’re wearing pants, they like to search your ankles, so make sure you give yourself some coverage there.
  • Don’t worry too much about the black beetles. Arizonans don’t spray for these kinds of bugs because of the heat. Just leave them. They will be gone before you know it.

*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.


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