Spider... just the word makes most of us shiver! Arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders, has been listed as one of the top five phobias for decades. But of the 37,500 species of spiders worldwide only two groups are considered poisonous to humans in the U.S. - the recluse and widow spiders. Tarantulas, jumping spiders, orb weavers and wolf spiders are but a few of the many species that can be found in and around your home.
Spiders have eight legs, round bodies and range from very small sizes to several inches in length. Their bodies do not have segments, and their heads are fused to their abdomens. All spiders have fangs to inject venom, and most spin webs to capture prey.
Most spiders feed on insects. This makes them beneficial in helping to manage pests in gardens, fields, forests and homes, but they are unwelcome houseguests. Here are a few steps to discourage spiders from invading:
- Spiders nest in undisturbed areas - discourage nesting by vacuuming or sweeping in closets, under furniture, in corners and cellars
- Seal around doors and windows with caulk or stripping to prevent their entry
- Keep outside porch and patio areas clean and washed, particularly under eaves, around foundations and in gutters
- Reduce clutter in basements and garages to eliminate hiding spots.
- Wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored, and shake out clothing and shoes before wearing them.
- Outdoors, store firewood at least twenty feet away from the home to prevent spiders from entering indoors.
It is important to be familiar with what poisonous spiders look like and how they act. Both black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders have venom that is dangerous to humans, and females are known to be aggressive and bite in defense. If you are bitten, seek a medical professional for treatment.
Black widow spiders get their name from the popular belief that the female spiders eat males after mating, although this rarely happens. They can be identified by their shiny black bodies, which include a bright red, hourglass-shaped marking on the underside of their abdomen. They range from 1½ to 1⅜ inches in length, and can be found throughout the U.S.
Brown recluse spiders are known for the brown violin marking on their backs, and they range in color from light brown to dark brown. With eight legs, they have round bodies and are typically ¼ to ½ inch long. They can be found in the central Midwest, from Ohio to Nebraska, and in the south from Texas to Georgia.
Frequently Asked Questions about Spiders:
How can I keep spiders from creeping into my home?
To help keep spiders from entering your home, be sure to regularly remove spider webs, seal cracks and crevices, eliminate harborage areas and improve ventilation in attics and crawlspaces.
How many species of spiders have been identified in the U.S.?
If your spider situation gets out of control contact the nearest HomeTeam Pest Defense branch to schedule an inspection around the perimeter of your home.