You better believe that there are plenty of insects or “bugs” in Arkansas. Some are pesky, some are beautiful, some help the environment, and some are even dangerous.
In fact, bugs in Arkansas have impacted the state throughout its history. From the mosquito borne malaria that once bedeviled the population to the boll weevil that destroyed the livelihoods of many Arkansas farmers in the 1940’s.
As an Arkansas native and local I can assure you that some of these bugs are still a problem for Arkansas farmers and residents today.
Here are just a few of the best known of the 35,000 species of bugs in Arkansas!
Some of the Common Bugs in Arkansas
Let’s start with mosquitoes. Mosquitos are very common in Arkansas, particularly in the summer months. They live everywhere in the state but are particularly brutal in the lower lying, swampier parts of the state such as the Mississippi River Delta.
Malaria is no longer a problem, but mosquitoes still annoy Arkansans trying to enjoy a summer evening outside.
Ticks are also common in Arkansas, particularly in wooded areas. They can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Alpha-Gal.
What exactly is a chigger? I’m not exactly sure. My research says that they are minute and nearly invisible arthropods.
What I can assure you, based on personal experience, is that they can cause itchy misery. You are not going to notice that you have gotten into chiggers until the itching starts and the red bumps show up. Sadly, the discomfort can last for days.
Fortunately they are not known to carry diseases.
Around 170 kinds of butterflies have been spotted in Arkansas. It is also a wonderful place to see the monarchs as they migrate through.
The Diana Fritillary is the state butterfly of Arkansas.
Fire ants are an invasive species that have become common in Arkansas. They were first found in the state near the town of El Dorado in 1958. Their bites can be painful and even cause an allergic reaction in some people.
The honey bee is the best of the bugs of Arkansas. In fact it is the state insect!
We all know how important the honey bee is as they provide pollination required for fruit, vegetables, flowers and seed crops. They are pretty vital in a state as highly agricultural as Arkansas. There are several apiaries in the state and you can often find local honey at the farmer’s markets.
Yes, I know that a spider is not officially an insect, but in my mind they are definitely one of the bugs in Arkansas!
There are only two venomous spiders in Arkansas; the brown recluse spider and the black widow spider.
Brown recluse spiders are typically found in dark, secluded areas such as closets, attics, and basements. Black widows are typically found in dark, sheltered areas such as woodpiles and outdoor structures.
One large, but non-venomous spider that you will also see in Arkansas is the tarantula.
Those of you, like me, who grew up in Arkansas have fond memories of warm summer nights spent chasing lightning bugs. Lightning bugs love the warmth and humidity of the American south and tend to be more common near water sources.
If you have ever thought that it seems there are fewer lightning bugs these days than when you were young…this is not your imagination.
We are losing these little creatures due to habitat loss and light pollution. You see they flash their lights in order to find a mate. In areas where there is so much ambient light that they can’t find one another they begin to simply die off without reproducing.
You know that loud buzzing noise that you hear on summer nights in Arkansas? Odds are that those are cicadas. In fact, the cicadas are among the largest and loudest insects found in Arkansas.
I remember finding their leftover shells on trees around my grandmother’s house in the country. They appeared almost prehistoric.
There are both annual cicadas as well as periodical cicadas which appear only every 13-17 years. They may look a little scary but don’t bite and are harmless to people.
Grasshoppers and Crickets
Grasshoppers and crickets are closely related and are common Arkansas insects.
There are many different species of these creatures. Some of which can be a major problem for gardeners and farmers in Arkansas.
June bugs are a type of beetle that tend to emerge from the ground in June, hence the name.
They buzz around slowly, making it easy for kids to catch them, and are attracted to light. They aren’t considered to be a big nuisance to either people or plants.
They are kind of a pretty bug with their metallic green coloring.
Yes, we have cockroaches in Arkansas. Yuck!! This is my least favorite bug in Arkansas.
There are three species in Arkansas that are considered to be nuisance pests; the American cockroach, German cockroach and Smoky Brown cockroach.
Granddaddy long legs
With their tiny bodies and long, long spindly legs these creatures are the stuff of nightmares for many Arkansas children. However, they are not true spiders and are also not nearly as scary as they look.
Not only are they harmless to humans, but they feed by searching the ground and plants for small insects and insect eggs, which actually helps keep certain populations at bay.
Termites are very common and can be a real problem in older Arkansas homes!
Termites are wonderful when out in nature. They help to convert logs, stumps, branches and other plant material into organic matter.
However, they are not good at all when they use the structural wood in buildings as a food source. In fact termites are considered to be one of the most destructive insects not just in Arkansas but in the US.
I remember when I was a child loving the Roly Polys. I thought they were so cute!
They look like miniature armadillos and roll up into a little ball when disturbed. These creatures, also called pillbugs, do not bite and do not sting and are not considered to be a pest.
As I was researching for this post I discovered that they are also not actually an insect! They are isopods, which means that they are closely related to crabs and other crustaceans.
Stink bugs are common and abundant throughout Arkansas and are one of the largest pests. Although they are harmless to humans, certain species of this bug eat crops such as corn, apples, and soybeans.
Those are just a few of the many common bugs in Arkansas. Hope you enjoyed learning a little more about them.
If you want to know more about some of the other animals in Arkansas here is a list of some of our animal posts:
- Razorback Hogs
- Alligators in Arkansas
- Trumpeter Swans in Arkansas
- Bears in Arkansas
- Elk in Arkansas
Thanks for stopping by.