These pests are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and fangs able to inject venom. Globally, there are over 35,000 species of spiders (or arachnids) identified and while all have eight legs, two body segments and like to hide in dark areas. Spiders do not have antennae, but they do have four pairs of eyes. Spiders also have an advanced central nervous system, enabling them to sense danger.
There are spiders that enjoy moisture and prefer areas such as basements and there are spiders that are on the opposite end of the spectrum, preferring dryer climates such as attics. But despite the similarities and differences, they all have an equal chance of showing up in your home or office. Spiders are cold-blooded, which means their body temperature changes with the weather. When it’s cold and insects are hard to come by, they can save energy by staying very still.
Spiders prey on a wide range of things . They will eat anything they can overpower, but most commonly it includes ants, flies, mosquitoes, bees, and even other spiders. While they don’t have the ability to chew, spiders do have saliva with digestive enzymes that will break their prey down and allow the prey to be consumed in small doses. Consuming small bits of prey is important as spiders’ guts are very narrow. Spiders are picky eaters and they only eat animals that are alive or that they have recently killed. They typically do not eat plant material.
Effect / Impact
A large portion of spiders are harmless but there are some that can cause dangerous reactions if they bite. Of the 3,000 species of spiders found in North America, the Recluse and the Widow spider species are considered the most dangerous. The venomous bites can be broken out into three groups:
The venom of the Black Widow spider can cause intense pain, elevated blood pressure, sweating, muscle cramps, nausea, and sometimes a rash. The female Black Widow spider, with venom 15 times more toxic than a prairie rattlesnake, is the most dangerous spider in north America.
The venom of Brown Recluse spider, also known as a “violin spider”, can cause lesions, anemia, fever, nausea, vomiting, blood in the urine, rash, and sometimes comas can occur.
The third group includes spiders, the Daddy Longlegs spider for example, possesses venom sacs, but their venom is very mild and virtually non-toxic to humans.
Spiders of Fredericksburg
The most common spiders found in North America are American House spider, Wolf spider, Black Widow, Brown Recluse, Daddy Long legs, Hobo, Jumping, and Yellow Sac spider. Spiders are able to live anywhere in the world except Antarctica.
In Fredericksburg, you most like find the following:
- Black Widow: Black widows are typically black with two red triangular markings that are joined on the underside of their abdomen creating an hourglass like shape. Most black widows are 3 to 10 millimeters long and the females tend to be much larger than the males. (The photo above is a black widow)
- Brown Recluse: A brown recluse has a sandy brown body that has darker markings at the center, sometimes they can even be a dark brown or even have a slight yellow tint. Their legs are a lighter shade of brown and the most important thing to note is if they have any stripes or different coloring they are not a brown recluse.
- Cellar: This species can be identified by their long and thin legs that are attached to their thin body. They are typically a yellowish brown color and their legs can grow up to 2 inches long.
- Funnel Weaver: Funnel weavers are typical brown or grey. They have four pairs of eyes that are roughly the same size. Their legs and body are hairy and some have dark banding on their legs.
- Jumping: Jumping spiders are extremely active hunters with well developed eyesight. They have 8 eyes that they use to study and track their prey
- Orb Weaver: Orb weaver’s are a reddish brown or gray spiders that have triangular abdomens. They also have two very noticeable humps toward the front of their abdomen.
- Wolf: The best way to identify this species is by its eyes. It has eight eyes in total with four in a row on the bottom, two large eyes above those, and then two medium sized eyes that are spaced out on the top and sides of its head.
It doesn’t matter how clean your house is, spiders can be found in basements, crawl spaces, closets, around baseboards and entryways, under sinks and cabinets, or anywhere there may be clutter. One of the first things you should do if you are concerned you might have a full-on spider infestation in your home is look around outside. Outside, spiders are beneficial, in that they prey on other insects, often eliminating other pests from the garden.
Spiders generally prefer to set up their webs outdoors where they are more likely to get insect prey to feast upon. Look for webs in the bushes. If you have hedges and bushes around your home, one of the first signs you could be looking at a spider infestation is a preponderance of webs in the bushes. This could lead to spiders laying eggs that then hatch and spider lings looking for another place to set up their own webs which could lead to them inside your home.
As the temperature drops in autumn, spiders become more active, looking for a mate, and come out of their hiding places. Towards the end of autumn many die off, but some hibernate until the following spring.
The main way to prevent a spider infestation in your home is to make sure they don’t have any entry points, like cracks and poorly screened windows or doors.
- Keep unscreened windows and doors closed
- Close gaps around doors and windows that allow light in
- Seal cracks and crevices in baseboards
- Avoid unclean and cluttered conditions
Like all animals, spiders need to eat to survive. They primarily feed on insects and other bugs, so they seek out places with a ready supply of them. Although spiders are great to have around because they help get rid of more harmful pests (e.g., roaches, fleas, mosquitoes, etc.), in large numbers spiders can be an unwelcome annoyance. Spiders aren’t attracted to the light, but many of the insects they feast on are so Minimize the use of porch lights and lamps in window.
Sigma’s Quarterly Pest Control Service (QPCS) covers ants, spiders, roaches, wasps, fleas, centipedes, crickets, mice, rats, and much more. Once we solved any issues on the inside of your home, we will focus our efforts on the outside to keep your home pest free. Exterior services will occur once every three months, and will include a foundation treatment, removal of wasp nests and spider webs using a telescopic tool that reaches up to 30 feet, a perimeter band around the home. And crack and crevice service. However, if the bugs don’t listen, we will come back and take care of it at no additional charge to you.
Hire a professional
If you have spiders in your home or office, play it safe and call Sigma Pest Control. Our technicians are trained to get to the root of the problem on a situational basis – meaning we know every environment is different and we have the skill set and the knowledge about spiders to safely and effectively rid your home or other building of these pests.