ar insects

The Good, The Bad and The VERY Ugly: Arkansas Insects

One side effect of Arkansas being The Natural State is the variety of insects in Arkansas that are either beautiful to look at or will gross you out.

I never have been a “bug person.” Honestly, the sight of any bug used to terrify me. It didn’t matter whether it was a bee or a lady bug, I wasn’t going to hang around.

In fact, nothing could make me run faster than the granddaddy long legs in Arkansas.

Now, that I’m an adult, I’m proud to say that I’ve toughened up. My husband and I live in the woods of Arkansas where there are plenty of bugs to go around. Bees, wasps, ants, scorpions and even tarantulas are common out here.

I’m not saying that I have come to like any of these insects but at least I don’t run away anymore.

Insects of Arkansas

Here are 8 common Arkansas insects that will either make you smile or cringe. It’s really a toss up.


I always know when it’s hot summer in Arkansas by the sound of the cicadas. Actually, there is an Andy Griffith episode where Andy says, “It’s gonna be a hot one Aunt Bea. Hear them locusts?” He was more than likely referring to the same cicadas that I sit on my screened porch and listen to all summer.

“Cicadas are among the largest and loudest insects found in Arkansas. About two dozen species in six genera have been recorded as likely occurring in the state. Males produce species-specific songs, mostly during daytime, to attract females.”source

cicadas in Arkansas are noisy
These Arkansas insects are noisy!

You don’t have to worry about cicadas though. They are noisy but they are also harmless!


Termites. What can I say? No one likes them but they are essential to the ecosystem. They are harmless unless they choose your house as their lunch.

I still remember my sixth grade classroom in Central Arkansas. I was always a good, quiet student so when my teacher discovered that termites had thoroughly chewed through the wall, bulletin board and the papers tacked to the bulletin board, I got selected to be the student who had to sit next to them. She knew I would keep a level head.

Arkansas termites are a force to the reckoned with!
Arkansas termites are a force to the reckoned with!

What she didn’t know was that I was terrified but I was determined to keep my good student persona and not let her down!


Arkansas is full of beautiful butterflies. We have all kinds here and they are amazing to observe.

When spring time hits, my husband and I let the grass and wildflowers grow for a while on our country property before we get the mower out. Part of this is due to the fact that we really don’t like to mow, but it also greatly benefits the butterflies.

Arkansas insects: butterflies
Butterflies love Arkansas!

Our kids love to sit by our living room windows and watch the butterflies flutter around the flowers.

Granddaddy Long Legs

Granddaddy Long Legs were my arch enemies when I was young. Terrified didn’t begin to describe my feelings toward them. Just read my hilarious story about Granddaddy Longs Legs in Arkansas for a gripping tale of camping, Raid and shower houses.

Now that I’m grown with a family of my own and a house in the woods of Arkansas, I’m not scared of Granddaddy Long Legs anymore. These days, I keep my eyes open for Arkansas snakes, especially the venomous Arkansas snakes!

Granddaddy Long Legs in Arkansas are ugly but harmless.
Granddaddy Long Legs in Arkansas are ugly but harmless.

“The Opiliones (formerly Phalangida) are an order of arachnids colloquially known as harvestmen, harvesters, or daddy longlegs. As of April 2017, over 6,650 species of harvestmen have been discovered worldwide, although the total number of extant species may exceed 10,000.”source

Granddaddy Long Legs are harmless and very slow.


Some people joke that mosquitoes are the state bird of Arkansas. I’m inclined to agree with them!

Nothing ruins a beautiful day like mosquitoes showing up uninvited. We spent vast amounts of time trying to decide the best way to handle these annoying insects of Arkansas.

mosquitoes in arkansas
Mosquitoes are an Arkansas insect that I could do without!

When we built our house, we were sure to include a large screen porch in the house plans because of the mosquitoes. We have thanked ourselves for that decision for many years now!


Arkansas is blessed to have beautiful honeybees. There are also several amazing apiaries in Arkansas where you can get farm fresh honey!

honey bees in Arkansas
Honey Bees help keep Arkansas beautiful.

We have dedicated an area of our 5 acres as an informal bee sanctuary. This area is full of native wild flowers that the honey bees love to visit. We marvel at them all summer long.

Fire Ants

This Arkansas insect is nothing to laugh at. Fire Ants can give you a nasty sting that you won’t soon forget.

Years ago, I thought they were no big deal. So, one day when we were building our house, I was moving some cinder blocks and didn’t pay attention when one of them had fire ants on it.

When they started stinging me, I kept walking because I was trying to work quickly. A few minutes later, I realized my mistake. My left hand started rapidly swelling and it was becoming difficult to breath.

I called my husband at work. He quickly drove to the store to buy medication and came home as quickly as he could. By the time he got to me, my hand was big and puffy and I couldn’t get my wedding ring off.

fire ants in Arkansas
Fire Ants are a common problem in Arkansas.

It took me about a half-hour and lots of coconut oil to pry that ring off my finger. After that experience, I learned to take fire ants seriously.

Thankfully, not everyone has a reaction as severely I me. But, just know that if you disturb a fire ant hill, they won’t go easy on you!


Ok, before you get upset, I’ll go ahead and say I know that spiders are not insects. However, I’m going to lump them in here with all the other “bugs” because they are a large part of the critter population of Arkansas.

To me, the worst spider is a tarantula. In the suburbs, tarantulas aren’t common. However, out here in the Arkansas countryside, it’s not uncommon to see a tarantula or two.

tarantula in Arkansas
Don’t worry. Some people live their entire lives in Arkansas and never see a tarantula!

The first time I saw a tarantula was after we bought our five acres in the woods of Arkansas. Had it been before we bought the land, I might have stayed in the ‘burbs!

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