Typical Pest Species: Spiders
Spiders are not insects, they are Arachnids. They have eight legs as opposed to the insects six. Spiders are common throughout the world, and perhaps the most feared species. We’ll discuss and picture identify some of the most common spiders we deal with. With the increase in the spider populations, especially Brown Recluse from Texas to Kansas, I thought it would be appropriate to begin the spider page with some background as to their origin.
Then I remembered that our parent company is Kansas based and I did not want to upset the Kansas legislature by using such frivolous theories as evolution or biology, and there is not much on spiders when you research creationism. To solve my conundrum, I called the local School Board. To my amazement they knew all the factual answers on the origin of spiders which I will now relate to you.
The Origin of Spiders
Arachne was a beautiful mortal with an exquisite talent for weaving. So gorgeous was her work that it was often said she could be an intern to Athena, or possibly weave better than the goddess of weaving. Athena became aware and instantly jealous of Arachne for two reasons. No one should be compared to a goddess in skill, and secondly, her husband, Zeus, had also noticed Arachne and was, like many powerful deities, prone to a soft spot (or hard spot as the case may be) for interns.
Athena visited Arachne disguised as an old woman to find out the truth. Arachne boasted of being able to out weave the goddess and of the attention given to her by Zeus. Athena shed her disguise and challenged Arachne to a weaving contest.
It was never discovered who won, as half way through Athena touched Arachne’s forehead and made her feel remorse for everything wrong she had ever done wrong. It was to much for her poor human brain, and Arachne killed herself.Athena had not anticipated this and felt bad. She brought Arachne back to life, but not as a human, but as a hideous, eight legged spider, doomed to repel men, terrify woman, and whose offspring were doomed to weave for eternity. (Obviously Athena did not feel all that bad.) Thus the order of Arachnids began.
For the most part spiders are beneficial animals. Their diet consists of mosquitoes and other insects making them important in the balance of nature. The hunting spiders are perhaps the best natural pest control operators in nature. Unfortunately, some , like the Brown Recluse are poisonous, and all are as Athena intended, ugly and repulsive to humans, especially female humans. For identification and control methods, I’ll break the spider group down to hunting and web spinning beginning with the poisonous and most difficult to control. There are hundreds of spiders, I will include those that cause the most concern and are commonly requested for us to control.
Brown Recluse & Other Hunting Spiders
The Brown Recluse Spider is, as its name implies, reclusive. Call the Brown Recluse the Howard Hughes of the Arachnids. Often the presence of the Brown Recluse is not known to those whose dwelling they share until that person is bitten. The monitor board below is full of them . The homeowner had originally called us for silverfish and the monitor was placed during a routine service. The Recluses were helping us get rid of the silverfish.
As the it prefers its food source smaller, they rarely attack humans. Most people are bitten by accident by rolling over on one, or putting on a piece of clothing the spider was hiding in. The bite is painless at first, but within a few hours becomes sore. The wound is usually an open sore surrounded by clotting. If not treated with antibiotics the open wound will eat away at the flesh and ooze, not unlike leprosy. In the very young, very old, or those with a weak heart the bite can be fatal.
Control is difficult and time consuming. It requires the use of insecticidal dust, wettable powders, fogging agents and monitors. The chemicals must be placed in wall voids, attics, cracks and crevices, cellars, and all places spiders may hide. See our pest products for chemicals we use and sell. Additionally several pesticide manufactures have tested certain of their products specifically with this fearsome pest in mind.
Wolf spiders are often confused with their more dangerous cousin. This is because they are the same color and are frequently found in houses. There the similarity ends, but when the Media does a piece on the more famous cousin, every wolf spider becomes deadly, and most people do not get close enough to distinguish one from the other.
The wolf spiders are fast hunting spiders often found in basements hunting food. They are not dangerous unless of course they give you a heart attack when one crawls on you. Control can be achieved with chemicals, but perhaps the best control is to rid the house of food source, so general pest control of insects in and around the dwelling will discourage them from entering.