They’re creepy, crawly and sometimes mistaken for insects, but make no mistake: spiders are in a class of their own, called arachnids. More closely related to scorpions, ticks or even shrimp than they are to ants, cockroaches and other household bugs, spiders get a bad rep. Although their appearance can be startling and their movements unpredictable, these critters are beneficial, in that they keep bug populations under control, as insects are their main food source. Too much of a good thing can still be bad, however; so if you find your house is suddenly overrun with spiders – especially of the venomous variety – you may need help.
Spiders in your house?
Are you having spider problems? Call Critter Control today at (574) 825-1079 in South Bend and Elkhart,
or (260) 632-5106 in the Fort Wayne area and our trained staff will be there to help with your spider problem.
Spider Appearance and Habitat
There are over 35,000 species of spiders in the world, with over 3,000 in North America alone. Because there’s such variety, the appearance of these critters varies quite a lot. Spiders range in color from bright neon hues – a tactic developed to ward off predators like birds that might consider them a tasty meal – to muted colors to better blend in with their surroundings and increase their odds of finding a good meal for themselves.
All spiders, however, have eight legs and two distinct body segments – a head and an abdomen. This is the primary visual distinction that sets them apart from “bugs”. They lack antennae and range in size from a few millimeters to larger than a dinner plate. In other words, you may not even see the smallest spiders around you while the largest could (and sometimes do!) pass as house-pets.
Spiders are found on every continent of the world except Antarctica and in nearly every climate, even the extremes of deserts, arctic tundra and tropical rainforests. They make their homes, which range from webs to earthen dens, near readily available food sources.
Spiders and You
Spiders are a common nuisance for homeowners. Most spiders invite themselves in through open windows and doors, but they also have the ability to find a way in through tiny cracks and crevices. They can infiltrate nearly any living space – your home, your garage, your basement, your place of business or outbuildings like garages, sheds and barns.
Most spiders cause little to no actual damage – instead, they help control the populations of other nuisance critters. But many people fear spiders, ranging from mild discomfort at the thought or sight of them to absolute paralyzing terror known as arachnophobia. Additionally, spider webs mean extra cleanup for homeowners, who may need to sweep cobwebs from hard-to-reach spaces. Because of their size and habits, however, spiders are not known to cause lasting, structural damage to your places and spaces.
Are Spiders Dangerous?
While most spiders pose no harm to humans or pets, a handful of species are venomous and their bites can cause serious, painful or even life-threatening reactions. Others who are sensitive to spider bites can experience mild to moderate discomfort from the bites of even some of the non-venomous variety.
Of all the species found in North America, just three are considered a significant threat: the black widow (Latrodectus mactans), the brown recluse or fiddleback spider (Loxosceles reclusa) and the hobo spider (Eratigena agrestis).
Black widow spiders are pure black, with females having a distinctive bright red hourglass shape on the underside of their abdomen. They can be found spinning webs throughout residential areas – but they prefer to stay away from well-traveled areas.
Brown recluse spiders are light brown with a darker brown fiddle-shaped pattern on top of their abdomens. As their name suggests, they prefer to stay away from people. You’re likely to encounter them in wood piles, brush piles, garages and other dark, secluded areas where you might stick a hand (or foot) without thinking.
Hobo spiders are generally only found in the Pacific Northwest and are light brown with darker brown banded chevrons across their bodies. They build their webs under rocks and other debris, with the webs having a distinctive funnel shape.
If you’re bitten by one of these three, seek professional medical advice and treatment.
Dealing with Spiders in your Home
While a stray spider or two can be dealt with by trapping and releasing it into the wild or less than humane methods like dispatching them of this mortal coil by means of a shoe or rolled up newspaper, larger infestations and repeat problems may require bigger solutions
Controlling clutter in your home and on your property reduces the number of spiders, as well as the insects they feed on. Keeping your home free of boxes and unnecessary knickknacks can reduce their numbers, while maintaining a yard free of debris like lawn clippings or brush can also decrease the amount of spiders that see your home as a viable spot to hang out. Keeping your home dusted and vacuumed regularly will also reduce the number of unwanted arachnid roommates you accumulate.
How We Can Help
For homeowners with truly out of control spider populations, professional help is a necessity. The experts at Critter Control can help seal up areas of entry, help you make your home less hospitable to spiders and remove or control an infestation.
To get help for a spider problem, give one of our professionals a call today at (574) 825-1079. Our team of experts can help you rid your home of these creatures so you and your fearful family members can breathe a sigh of relief.