Most people do not want to see spiders in their home, despite knowing that they are typically harmless and good for the ecosystem. Learn why many consider spiders are pests and what to do about these insects on your property.
Biology of Spiders
Spiders are in the class arachnids and phylum anthropoda. Together, this means that they have four pairs of legs, with the legs all jointed. They also have a hard exoskeleton that sheds as they grow and two body parts, the abdomen and cephalothorax. Spiders also have fangs that they can use to inject venom and spinnerets. Most spiders will use fangs as a way to inject venom into prey. Spiders use their spinnerets, of which they are typically three, to produce the silk used in spider webs. The pedipalps are between the first true legs and the fangs. These are sensory organs that are also part of the male spider’s reproductive system. Spiders typically have eight eyes that are simple, although this does vary by spider’s species, with some not having any.
The spider biology either evolved to hunt its prey or to catch it in webs. Some will also just hide and wait before pouncing on prey. Certain types of spiders have weak jaws. Those species will inject digestive fluid using its fangs before sucking up liquified tissues of its prey. They then leave the exoskeleton. Others, like tarantulas, have stronger jaws and will crush the insect and regurgitate digestive fluid so they can suck up liquified tissues. After mating, female spiders protect their eggs in an egg case. The spider may take this case with them or may hang it and remain close. The young spiders spend several weeks on the back of their mothers.
Why Spiders Are Pests
There is some gray area as to whether spiders are pests since they actually eat a lot of other pests that cause more serious problems. That being said, the average person does not want to see a spider inside their home and has multiple valid reasons for feeling this way. One of these important reasons is that spiders can bite, especially if they feel endangered or threatened. The venom from a spider will have a range of impacts depending on the species in question and the person. While most spiders venom will not cause serious problems for humans, or even more than an itch, some can be potentially life-threatening. You may also experience swelling, stinging, or red spots. Because of the risk of a bite, it is always best to take cautions and try not to touch a spider unless it is unavoidable. Most homeowners also want to keep spiders out of their homes because of the webs that these critters produce. The webs are used for catching prey and some other functions, such as holding an egg sac. The downside is that webs are unsightly in homes and can be sticky or make a place feel dirty.
Methods for Controlling Spiders
Most professional spider removal methods involve using insecticides, which can be done in several ways. A perimeter spray treatment involves spraying residual insecticides around the entry points as well as the entire perimeter of the house. This is among the most effective methods of stopping spiders from coming inside. You can use a perimeter spray on porches, decks, and anywhere else with spider webs. Indoor spray treatments for spiders are done inside the home, along corners, under furniture, and along baseboards. This application is done with a special tip on the spray so it is easier to target it correctly instead of spraying the chemicals throughout the home.
When using insecticides to control spiders, you must take care when selecting and applying the product due to the chemicals involved. Professionals will know which treatments are safe for indoor application. They will also be aware of which portions of the home are most likely to require the insecticide and how to apply it in a way that minimizes the safety risks to people and pets. For more serious spider problems, professionals may suggest using insecticide dusts. This treatment can be applied under baseboards and in wall voids using a hand duster or a special tool. Dust can be used in spots that traditional insecticide sprays would not be able to reach. Professionals may also suggest using a series of spider traps. These will not effectively catch large numbers of spiders. Instead, they are used as monitoring tools to let you know if the spider infestation makes a resurgence. If you notice spiders on the spider traps, this is an indication that it is time for another treatment. Glue traps are also a useful tool for pinpointing the main location of the spiders so you can target the treatment more effectively.
DIY Tips to Get Rid of Spiders
Combine the professional control methods for spiders with some natural remedies that involve no chemicals and minimal effort on your part. Start with the most obvious solution of preventing spiders from getting inside by sealing up any cracks in your walls or by windows and doors. Stop attracting spiders to your home by moving trash, debris, mulch, and plantings away from your home so that they do not touch the building. Similarly, store your firewood outside and keep it at a reasonable distance from the building as this is a favorite hiding spot of spiders.
When you store items inside your home and do not access them regularly, do so in airtight containers that the spiders cannot get inside. If you use cardboard boxes, these could attract other insects and those will attract the spiders. You can also get rid of the food source of spiders to encourage them to leave. This is as simple as controlling other insect pests that are within your home, from mosquitoes to other bugs. That particular step tends to be easier said than done but is doable with professional assistance. Homeowners can also try applying residual insecticides in key spots. Just take care when using the insecticides around children or pets. For the best results with spider control, have a professional apply professional-grade treatments.
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