I've spent the majority of my life in the Southwest - growing up in El Paso, Texas and most of my adult life in Las Cruces, NM as well as Tucson. When you live here, you get used to one thing when it starts getting warming: desert creepies that will surprise you when you least expect it.
(I will refrain from posting photos!)
Scorpions, tarantulas, centipedes, rattle snakes and more are starting to come out of their winter slumbers. This year, it's gotten warmer a lot earlier which has already led to snake warnings for folks who love to hike in our Catalina and Organ Mountains. One friend posted a photo on Facebook which showed a very unwelcomed guest in her bathroom sink.
The best advice I can offer for you new Southwest residents is the following:
*Hire a pest control company to treat your home as soon as it starts warming up. Ask them about 'critter-proofing' your home inside and out.
*Creatures like scorpions like to hide so, if you are into gardening, make sure you shake out your gloves, shoes, hats and whatever else you use. TIP: Store your gloves and so on in ziplock plastic bags when not in use.
*When hiking, biking, playing golf - watch where you step. When I learned to play golf many years ago, it was at Santa Teresa County Club which was surrounded by desert. We were told repeatedly that, if your ball goes into the desert, just leave it there.
*Spiders like to hide as well - especially black widows. Keep a bug/spider killer handy as well as a broom. ALWAYS check your children's playsets before letting them on them. The same goes for when you take them to parks or play areas at fast food restaurants. It doesn't matter if the latter is inside or out.
*You know how curious pets can be so it's especially important to keep them on a short leash when hiking.
**Side-tip for pet parents: Teach your pets important commands like "Leave It" and "COME". My girl Belle was taught those commands and it truly did save her life. Twice.
*Do some research online about the different critters. The Tucson Newcomers Guide has some good information. You can also find information at the Tucson Wildlife Center and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Above all else - just be careful. Teach your kids about being safe, too. The standard rule always applies here: If you don't bug them, they won't bug you.