Spiders are one of the most feared home invaders. There are more phobias about spiders than any other pest, and understandably so. If you get bitten by the wrong spider, like a black widow or brown recluse, you can end up in the hospital. And yes, there have been some deaths associated with spiders—though much fewer than you think, with about six per decade in the United States.
Tens of thousands of spider species have been identified throughout the world. These arachnids have eight legs and two body segments. Despite their three or four pairs of eyes, many spiders have poor vision, but there are outliers, like the jumping spider, who have excellent vision. Spiders do not have chewing mouthparts and commonly utilize digestive enzymes in their saliva to break down their prey before consumption. This also helps the food pass through the narrow digestive tract of a spider. Almost all spiders are predatory, although one plant-feeding species has been documented.
Spiders are capable of producing silk that is elastic, adhesive, and strong. This silk is used to spin webs, construct egg sacs, and line spider dwellings. The size and shape of webs vary by species. Some are orb-shaped, while others are funnel-shaped; some webs are orderly, while others appear haphazard. Some spider species live in burrows rather than webs, while others are free ranging and take refuge in crevices.
At certain times of the year, ant colonies produce large numbers of winged individuals known as swarmers. These winged ants emerge from the nest to mate and establish new colonies. When a swarm of ants emerges inside a home, it indicates that a nest is present within the structure. Fortunately, the success rate for swarmers establishing new colonies inside buildings is low. Nonetheless, an exodus of winged ants emerging indoors can be disturbing and often mistaken for termites.
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DIFFERENT KINDS OF SPIDERS
BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS (LATRODECTUS)
BROWN RECLUSE SPIDERS (LOXOSCELES RECLUSA)
CRAB SPIDERS (THOMISIDAE)
CELLAR SPIDERS (FAMILY PHOLCIDAE)
DADDY LONGLEGS/HARVESTMEN (FAMILY PHALANGIIDAE)
GARDEN SPIDERS (ARGIOPE AURANTIA)
GROUND SPIDERS (HERPYLLUS ECCLESIASTICUS)
HOBO SPIDERS (ERATIGENA AGRESTIS)
HOUSE SPIDER (PARASTEATODA TEPIDARIORUM)
SPINYBACKED ORB WEAVER SPIDERS (GASTERACANTHA CANCRIFORMIS)
WOLF SPIDERS (FAMILY LYCOSIDAE)
JUMPING SPIDERS (FAMILY SALTICIDAE)
An effective approach to spider control is to use the knowledge that they are predators; they primarily consume other insects. So, if you can reduce the other insects in and around your home, spiders will be less interested in hanging around. Most spiders like to hang out near light sources, as they rely on flying insects that instinctively move towards light. A web-spinning spider worth his salt will let his meals come to him. In addition to web-making spiders, there are hunting spiders. They are athletic and run down their prey.
A subcategory of hunting spiders is jumping spiders, which pounce to capture their prey. To see a jumping spider spring into action is a memorable sight. The spiders with short, stubby legs are almost all of the jumping variety. The spiders with long—but not delicate—legs are the running spiders. These include wolf spiders and the brown recluse. You won’t find those spiders spinning a web. The best way to control running and jumping spiders at home is to control their food sources—again, get rid of other insects.
The most common spiders around the outside of houses are wolf spiders. These are the large and often “hairy” spiders that are hunters and do not make webs. Next in abundance would be the web-making or orb-weaver spiders. Orb-weaver spiders are often bright yellow and black.
One positive aspect of spiders is that they are basically loners. They aren’t social insects that live in big groups, like ants or bees. As predators, they like to operate on their own and not share their food.
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