Beneficial Bugs: House and Garden Spiders

December 31st, 2009 by BugGuy

garden_spider There are a variety of beneficial bugs all around the world but spiders are probably the most well-known and possibly the most feared.

Spiders are beneficial (pdf) for pest control because of their diet; they eat arthropods and other insects. They’re also great for controlling pests since spiders feed on a wide variety of insects all year round.

Garden spiders and house spiders are both helpful for controlling nuisance insects both inside and out. They feed on common indoor and outdoor pests including ants, cockroaches, fruit flies, beetles, etc…

Another benefit to having the spiders around (pdf) is they kill a large number of insects who destroy crops and carry diseases. I’ve already mentioned several species of insects such as the Asian Citrus Psyllid and Mediterranean fruit fly who cause billions of dollars in crop loss every year. Spiders are essentially a cost effective and environmentally friendly form of pest control.

Of course not all spiders are beneficial; a few are dangerous but the majority of spiders are harmless and even helpful. Out of the ~3,000 species of spiders in the United States, only a few are poisonous; the most popular being the black widow and the brown recluse.

Unfortunately spiders have a bad reputation for being creepy crawly and causing painful, red bumps from their bites. Many times, spider bites are confused with the bites of mites or ticks. Needless to say, most people don’t want to see spiders in the house so here’s what to do if you want to cut down on the number of spiders in your dwelling.

  • Vacuum spiders
  • Get rid of just the spider webs
  • Make it more difficult for spiders to get inside by using screens in the windows and caulk any gaps in windows and doors
  • Take spiders outside instead of killing them on the spot
  • Remember the needs of pests (spiders included)…if you eliminate their food supply then they will look else where for food

If you think the spider population in your home has gotten out of control or you just can’t stand the idea of spiders lurking in the shadows, contact an exterminator near you for a little assistance.

{photo credit: klynslis}

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Spiders: A Home's Friend and a Pest Control Company's Foe

March 12th, 2009 by BugGuy

spider Spiders have a characteristic appearance which is easily identifiable by most people. They have eight legs compared to most insects six legs, and they also have no wings or antennae. The spider is considered to be beneficial because it eats other pests; most people can’t get over their creepy appearance.

Spiders have to be treated differently than other insects when it comes to pest control. By nature, spiders are difficult to control with pesticides. Their legs are non-porous, so they don’t really absorb the chemical well. The body of a spider is usually off the ground so it doesn’t come in contact with the pesticide either. If you try to use a dust, that won’t generally work because they don’t groom themselves. Yes, insects do groom themselves. Believe it or not, roaches groom themselves similarly to a cat. Depending on the species (there are over 35,000 species of spiders) some spiders can hold their breath long enough that even fogging or tenting will not kill them.

Most pest control companies will not guarantee their services for spiders just because of the difficulty in controlling them. One of the better ways to control spiders is by eliminating their food sources. If there are no other insects around your home then they don’t have anything to eat; eventually the spiders move on or starve. Another way to control these nuisances is to treat around the window sills, door jams and eaves. Some companies still use power sprayers to apply chemical and there’s just no way to treat these important areas without making a mess of the home.

Most spider bites are relatively harmless other then some redness and irritation. The Black Widow and the Brown Recluse are the two species which cause the most harm and require immediate medical attention. This fact is also the reason why these two species are misidentified by homeowners more than any others. If a spider is found that may be harmful, collect the specimen in a container and take it into a local pest control company for identification.

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