When it comes to pests, it’s true what they say: everything’s bigger in Texas. With over 250,000 square miles of land, Texas is considered to be one of the most geographically diverse states in the United States.

While this makes it full of endless natural beauty, it also means Texas is home to a wide variety of insects, both good and bad. Learn which pests are some of the most common in Texas.

Ants

Texas is home to over 200 species of ants, most of which are relatively harmless. Some species of ants, like carpenter ants, odorous house ants, crazy ants, and fire ants, can pose a significant threat to homes and homeowners alike. Fire ants, for example, only grow to be three-eighths of an inch in length but are capable of causing very painful bites when disturbed. Though carpenter ants are not known to bite human skin, they can cause damage to a home’s interior structure because of their tendency to create nests in damp, rotting wood. While not all species of ants are considered dangerous, some of the more common ants in Texas may bite or sting.

Aphids

Aphids are another tiny bug that can make a big impact on the plants in your yard. Though adult aphids rarely grow larger than 3 millimeters in length, they are a notorious garden pest, as their preferred diet consists of sap and moisture from plant tissue. Typical sign s of an aphid infestation include yellowed and wilting leaves, the growth of black sooty mold, as well as the presence of tiny green or white pests. Considering that a single aphid can lay over 150 eggs within a month, an aphid infestation can quickly take over Texas gardens and flower beds.

Mosquitoes

Because mosquitoes successfully reproduce in warm, humid environments with a water source, homeowners living in south Texas may be more susceptible to hosting mosquitoes throughout the year, though these pests can be found throughout all regions of Texas. In addition to causing painful, itchy welts, these pests have been known to carry pathogens that can transmit diseases to humans and animals.

Chiggers

Another pest that causes irritated, itchy bumps is the chigger. Because these pests only measure one-sixtieth of an inch in length, they can be nearly impossible to spot with the naked eye. Chiggers seek out human skin tissue for their meals and once they’re done feeding, they often leave behind an uncomfortable bite that results in raised bumps that could last for up to two weeks at a time. Chiggers are most commonly found in heavily-wooded and grassy areas throughout Texas, so it is recommended to dress in long shirts and pants before spending any time in these outdoor areas.

Scorpions

Homeowners in Texas, as well as other states located in the southwestern United States, are likely very familiar with scorpions. In Texas alone, there are nearly 20 different species of scorpions, many of which find their way indoors as they try to escape the scorching Texas heat. Once inside, these pests will seek out cool, dark corners and closets to hide, though the occasional run-in with a scorpion can l eave a painful sting on its victim. While scorpion stings are rarely life-threatening, the CDC recommends that you “contact a qualified health care provider or poison control center for advice and med ical instructions.”

Kissing Bugs

While their name makes these pests sound innocent, kissing bugs can be another pest of concern in Texas. Their d ark brown bodies grow to be about the size of a penny, and are patterned with orange or red stripes that run the length of their backs. What makes kissing bugs so dangerous is their tendency to carry parasites that can cause the Chagas disease, which may bring symptoms of fever, fatigue, body aches, swelling, and headaches, among others, to kissing bug victims. According to the CDC the likelihood of contracting Chagas is the US is rare. Even though Chagas in the US is rare it is still important for Texas residents t o beware of the presence of kissing bugs.

Cockroaches

Because cockroaches are common in warm, humid climates, these pests can be a major problem for homeowners living along the Gulf of Mexico in southeast Texas, though they can also be found throughout the state. One common misconception about cockroaches is that they only infest dirty homes. This belief isn’t true, as cockroaches can be commonly found anywhere a human is living, German cockroaches are the species that tend to seek out shelters inside homes that have accessible food, water, and protected hiding spots, while some of the larger cockroaches, such as American and Oriental, are more commonly found outside and may enter a home during times of excessive heat, cold or moisture events . Fortunately, there are several ways Texas homeowners can help prevent cockroaches in their home, including keeping food stored in airtight containers and routinely inspecting for signs of an infestation.