Insects of National Parks

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

Insects and arachnids of all sort call Grand Canyon National Park home. Most of them have wings and many of them are known to be biters or stingers, but all of them are integral pieces of the ecosystem. Don't be too scared by any of them, though… You've got more of a backbone than they've ever dreamed of having!

The least threatening of these creatures are the 292 species of butterflies. Of course, this means there are also caterpillars in the area. Some of these species spend their entire lifecycle around the Grand Canyon while the majority are migratory. North Rim, South Rim, and Inner Canyon areas each play host to a slightly different set. Swallowtail butterflies are common in each location.

Dominant arachnid species in Grand Canyon National Park include scorpions and tarantulas. The large spiders, tarantula, can grow to more than 4 inches across and appear quite intimidating, but they are harmless. Invite can be quite painful but is completely nonlethal to humans. They dine mostly on insects or small rodents. The small by comparison bark scorpion, maxing out at 2.5 inches from the tip of its curved tale to the front of its claws, is quite venomous and ought to be avoided. All of the arachnids tend toward nocturnal habits and are rarely encountered.

Keep an eye out for other exceptional species as well, including beetles, wasps, flies, centipedes, millipedes, and everything else that might create, crawl, or fly across your path!

 

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

Spiders

Yellowstone National Park is in the range of most all North American species, including hobo spiders. Most of the species encountered are harmless to humans and help control the other bug populations. Be mindful of where you poke your hand, foot, or what you are eating and drinking.

 

Mosquitoes

Yellowstone National Park has a lot of water, thus leading to prime mosquito breeding country. Late May through July are the worst months for encountering the bloodsuckers, but it is not unknown for them to stick around cooler areas into September. Bug spray of several varieties has proven effective, and will even help fight off the deer and horse flies, which are reportedly even worse than the mosquitoes.

 

Ticks

Grassy meadows, and woods immediately surrounding them, are the primary habitat for these disease carrying arachnids. They are not able to tell whether or not they're being brushed off by an elk, deer, or human, and will gladly bite anything with a pulse. Make sure and take a few extra minutes to check yourself after a backcountry hike or leisurely stroll through a meadow.

 

Ants

These are the second most common six legged creatures in the park, to beetles. A couple of varieties are to be found, and the fish love all of them equally. Black bears are another big fan of the ant populations in Yellowstone. When you're frustrated at your picnic because the food keeps trying to walk away, just remember how important the food chain really is.

 

Bees

Honey producing bumble-bees are in a national crisis. With the plethora of floral adornments to be found throughout Yellowstone, it is imperative that the populations continue pollinating the park. Hopefully management systems in place can help these critters continue to thrive, here at least. Please! Don't swat the little guys as they flower around tomorrow's beautiful scenery.

 

BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK 

Bugs of all sorts live in Bryce Canyon National Park! In fact, over 1000 species are likely to live here. Beetles, butterflies, spiders, and wasps… It's important for the ecosystem that each of these creatures be given the opportunity to continue their role in the food chain.

And with 45 species of butterflies and moths, each uniquely designed and categorically sought after by professional or amateur entomologists alike, there is no denying these animals their existence!

 

ZION NATIONAL PARK 

Hikers and outdoorsmen who plan on enjoying Zion National Park are not going to get off scot-free, there are bugs. Winged insects and web weaving arachnids aplenty can be found here, but there are an important part of the ecosystem. A couple of them even perform their own ballet in the food chain.

The tarantula, North America's largest spider, is generally harmless towards humans and serves a great purpose in keeping other insect species in check. They also prove as food source number one to the Tarantula Hawk: a wasp that will actually hunt for the spiders in their dens! Squeamish visitors will be glad to know the tarantulas are generally nocturnal and rarely encountered, and even happier to know that there are plenty of them to remain on the wasp's diet… Wouldn't want those things seeking out another food source!