Spider Control

Spider

Many people have a very low tolerance level for any sort of creepy crawly. Here’s how to get rid of spiders naturally without resorting to toxic chemicals.

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Some 30,000 species of spiders occur throughout the world. They have eight legs and two body segments. For the most part, they are considered to be beneficial because they feed primarily on insect pests and other spiders. At times they become a nuisance by finding their way in your house. This typically occurs in the early fall when cooler temperatures force them to seek shelter.

Almost all spiders are harmless and usually remain hidden. They do not seek out and bite humans. In fact, most cannot penetrate our skin with their fangs. A few are considered venomous to humans and care must be taken to avoid being bitten. Potentially dangerous spiders include:

Black Widow (Latrodectus spp.) – Adults have shiny black bodies (9/16 inch long) with a distinctive red or red-orange shaped hourglass pattern on the underside of the abdomen. They are not aggressive and often found in dark, undisturbed areas including window wells, crawl spaces, corners of garages, and old rodent burrows. Their bite is rarely fatal.

Brown Recluse (Loxoceles reclusa) – Pale brown or buckskin colored, these venomous spiders (1/3 inch long) have long, dark brown legs and a violin shaped darker marking on the top of the body near the head. They are not aggressive and live within a loose web in dark corners of buildings. Their bite is painful, often leaving an ulcerous wound, but is rarely fatal.

Hobo Spider (Tegenaria agrestis) – Originally from Europe, hobo spiders ended up in Seattle, Washington sometime before the 1930’s. Since then they have slowly expanded throughout the Northwestern United States and Western Canada. Adults (1/4 inch long) are brown in color and have a chevron pattern on their abdomen. They live in a funnel web and are often found between bricks, in crawl spaces, around out buildings, and under wood. More aggressive than most, their bite is similar to that of the brown recluse and is rarely fatal.

There are a large number of non-poisonous spiders across North America that are similar in description to the hobo spider. As a result, many other species should suspected before even considering the hobo spider as a possibility.

Life Cycle

The life-cycle varies greatly depending upon species. In most cases, females reproduce by laying eggs in a silken egg sac. The egg sac is either carried around or hidden in the web. Tiny, newly hatched spiders emerge 2-3 weeks later. Most mature to adults in about one year. Several species live 1-2 seasons, but the females of a few species may live 5-20 years. Males and females live separately and only come together to mate.

Control

  • Getting rid of spiders requires good housekeeping, both inside and out.
  • Keep boxes, old equipment and other items neatly stored on shelves, particularly in garages and basements.
  • Clean up and dispose of trash, debris, old equipment, etc.
  • Repair screens and maintain the weather-stripping around doors and windows.
  • Apply Tanglefoot Pest Barrier to incoming pipes and door jambs to intercept home invaders.
  • Inside the house, spiders and their webs can be eliminated by using a broom or vacuum cleaner.
  • Crawling insect traps placed into tight corners will capture many crawling pests.
  • Apply food-grade Diatomaceous Earth for long-lasting protection. Made up of tiny fossilized aquatic organisms, that look like broken glass under the microscope, DE kills by scoring an insect’s outer layer as it crawls over the fine powder. Contains NO toxic poisons!
  • Spray Orange Guard, made from citrus peel extract, to kill on contact. Approved for organic use, Orange Guard is a broad spectrum insect killer that’s safe to use indoors and out. Repeat applications may be necessary.
  • Least-toxic botanical insecticides should be used as a last resort. Derived from plants which have insecticidal properties, these natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment.
  • For larger areas and crawl spaces consider using Doktor Doom Foggers. Made with natural pyrethrum, they provide fast re-entry times with NO long-lasting odors.

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