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Archive for the ‘Spiders’ Category

How To Recognize Black Widow Webs And Egg Sacs Within Structures, And What Residents Need To Know About Black Widow Spiderlings

When it comes to dangerous spiders in the United States, black widows have long been the most notorious species. Reports describing dangerous, and even fatal, black widow bites started during the late 19th century when scientific documentation and record keeping was becoming more commonplace. Today, the black widow bite remains the most common cause of medically significant spider bite symptoms in the country, and these intimidating arachnids can be found in most areas in the US. Black widows belongs to the Latrodectus spider genus, which is comprised of more than two dozen urban-dwelling and highly venomous spider species worldwide.

Five Latrodectus species can be found in the US, two of which are documented in Louisiana where they are not infrequently reported as pests within homes and other structures. One of these species, commonly known as the brown widow, has recently been introduced into Louisiana. This alien spider species has been proliferating and spreading rapidly throughout the state, and their bites have been documented as causing serious medical symptoms. However, Latrodectus mactans, or the southern black widow, is responsible for the majority of medically significant spider envenomations in the country, and surprisingly, freshly hatched baby spiderlings of this species are not necessarily harmless either.

Black widows are often found in homes, but they are most frequently encountered in low-traffic indoor areas, such as garages, storage closets, sheds, barns, crawl spaces, cellars, basements and sometimes attic spaces. The southern black widow’s presence within a home can be recognized by the presence of tattered webs that usually measure 35 cm in both length and width, but they can be much larger. These webs are almost always located at elevated positions between 8 and 12 feet from the floor in dark corners and around ceiling rafters.

Southern black widow eggs sacs can be recognized for their grey and spherical appearance, and are generally around 9.5 mm in diameter with a conspicuous notch on the top. Each egg sac contains an average of 255 cream or yellow-colored eggs, and each female is usually in possession of 10 egg sacs. These eggs sacs can be constructed by females in as little as an hour within a home, and the spiderlings that hatch are particularly poisonous. However, due to their lack of developed mouthparts, spiderlings are only dangerous when ingested, but pets may die after consuming a spiderling.

Have you ever encountered an indoor spider egg sac? If so, did you learn which species the egg sac belonged to?

The Green Lynx Spider Is Common In Residential Areas And They Can Temporarily Blind A Person By Spraying Venom Into His/Her Face

More than 46,000 spider species have been documented worldwide, and each species has unique attributes, but the North American species, Peucetia viridans, is capable of impressive feats that few spiders can match. This spider species is also notable for being one of the most well-camouflaged spider species in the world, as their bright green exterior allows them to hide from predators and stake out prey within areas where vegetation is abundant. P. viridans is more commonly known as the green lynx spider, and this species is one of the most commonly Googled spider species in the US, probably because their striking appearance is often noticed by gardeners and landscapers in residential areas. While the green lynx spider is not considered a species of medical importance, it has been known to inflict bites that cause pain sensations similar to those caused by bee stings. In addition to inflicting venomous, but ultimately harmless bites, females of this species have the ability to spit venom as far as 8 inches toward any approaching threat. Case studies have described individuals suffering from severe eye irritation and temporary blindness after green lynx venom had been sprayed into their eyes.

The green lynx spider can be found in most southern states from California to North Carolina, and they are particularly abundant throughout Louisiana due to the state’s abundant vegetation, hot climate, and diversity of plant and insect species. The green lynx spider is one of the primary insect predators in grassy fields, low shrubs and in any area within their habitat where vegetation is prevalent. These spiders are also commonly spotted on structures, in gardens and within low foliage on residential yards. They sometimes wander indoors, but they are not well adapted to indoor locations. Female green lynx spiders are relatively large at about an inch in body length with long legs, and their size often intimidates residents when the spider is spotted in gardens. This spider’s rapid speed and ability to jump from plant-to-plant earned them their common “lynx” name. Female green lynx spiders aggressively defend their egg sacs within gardens, and simply approaching a female in this circumstance will prompt them to spray harmful venom. This venom has caused severe conjunctivitis and temporary vision loss in humans who have been sprayed in the face by these spiders. Due to the absence of an anatomical aiming mechanism in the female’s mouthparts, researchers believe that green lynx spiders evolved to spit at large targets as opposed to other arthropod enemies.

Have you ever spotted a bright green spider in your yard?

 

 

3 To 5 Inch Huntsman Spiders Easily Slip Through Narrow Wall Cracks In Order To Invade Homes During The Fall Season

Huntsman spiders are well known for being some of the largest sized spiders in the world. Huntsman spiders belong to the Sparassidae family of spiders, which contains more than 1,300 documented species spread across five continents. Huntsman spiders are well known as abnormally large arachnids in Australia, but the spiders likely originated from Asia, and several species have been found in the Americas and Europe. When people think about exotic and massively large spiders in Australia, the giant huntsman spider species comes to many people’s mind. Not long ago, a group of Australians captured footage of a giant huntsman spider violently subduing a frantic opossum. This footage quickly went viral, and now many Americans regret ever having learned about the existence of this otherworldly creature.

Luckily, the giant huntsman spider cannot be found in the US, but unfortunately, another massive huntsman spider species can be found in several southern US states. This species is commonly known as the “pantropical huntsman spider,” and these spiders can be found in each of the southeast Gulf Coast states and southern California. Pantropical huntsman spiders have leg spans ranging from 3 to 5 inches in length, and they are often encountered within homes in Louisiana throughout the year, but especially during the fall. In addition to being intimidating to look at, huntsman spiders are known for inflicting very painful bites with their oversized fangs. Although several serious medical conditions have resulted from pantropical huntsman spider bites, the species is considered largely harmless by medical professionals.

Huntsman spiders, as their name suggests, hunt for their insect prey on foot rather than relying on webs to trap flying insect meals. Similar to wolf spiders, huntsman spiders are almost always moving in order to locate fresh prey, and their long legs make these spiders among the fastest arthropods ever documented. Since huntsman spiders are always on the move in search of prey, they often find their way into homes inadvertently. However, huntsman spiders are unusually well-adapted to surviving within human dwellings, and they invade homes in Louisiana during the fall season in order to avoid the coming winter cold. These spiders cannot tolerate the cold climate well, as even the relatively mild winter climate in Louisiana is too cold to allow for the survival of pantropical huntsman spiders. Despite their large size, huntsman spiders have flat bodies that can squeeze through small wall cracks on a house’s exterior in order to gain access indoors.

Have you ever encountered a huntsman spider?

Why The Arrival Of A Non-Native Spider Species In Louisiana Will Reduce Black Widow Spider Populations In Residential Areas

Spiders are often spotted in and around homes in Louisiana, but only a few species in the state are considered potentially dangerous to residents. Brown recluse and black widow spiders can both be found in urban and residential areas in Louisiana, and these arachnids are well known for their venomous bites. The southern black widow is frequently spotted around homes where they prefer to congregate and build webs in cluttered locations. This species is also known for entering homes, and their toxic venom can be deadly on rare occasions.

Many hunters, trappers, hikers, fisherman and other outdoorsmen in Louisiana consider black widows to be the most significant threat to their health while spending time in wooded areas and near water bodies. The southern black widow is prevalent throughout Louisiana, and there is disagreement among experts as to whether the western black widow also inhabits the state. More than 2,500 black widow bites are reported to poison control centers each year in the US, and the southern black widow is responsible for most of these cases. Those who fear black widows may be pleased to know that their population numbers are decreasing in urban and residential areas of Louisiana. However, the reason for this species’ decline is due to the arrival of another venomous non-native spider species known as the “brown widow.”

The non-native brown widow spider species was first found in the US when specimens were collected from Florida 85 years ago, but brown widow populations have been expanding rapidly into other Gulf Coast states during recent years. Brown widow spiders are now dominating urban and residential areas where black widows were once the most abundant spider species. Not only that, but researchers found 20 times more brown widow specimens than southern black widow specimens around houses located in 72 residential areas of Louisiana. Numerous residents of Baton Rouge and New Orleans have encountered these spiders within and near their homes on multiple occasions. The brown widow produces venom that is more toxic than southern black widow venom, but the latter species injects a greater amount of venom into the human bloodstream, making it the more dangerous of the two. This is why scientists state that the rate of medically significant spider bite incidents will ultimately decrease as brown widow populations continue to displace southern black widow populations within human-populated areas of Louisiana.

Have you ever spotted a brown widow within or around your home?

 

More Than 2,000 Black Widow Bite Incidents Are Reported In The US Each Year, And Their Venom Is 15 Times Stronger Than That Of A Rattlesnake

America’s three black widow species and the brown recluse spiders are considered the most dangerous spider species in the US. Unfortunately, Louisiana is home to the southern black widow species and the brown recluse species, but serious symptoms rarely follow most bites inflicted by these spiders. Of all three black widow species, the southern variety is involved with the greatest number of medically significant bite cases, but this is due to the species widespread distribution in the US. While bites inflicted by the brown recluse account for most medically significant spider bites in the US, black widows are not far behind. Black widows produce venom that is 15 times stronger than rattlesnake venom, making black widow venom the most toxic of all spider venoms in the US.

Black widows are easy to recognize due to their jet black exterior and well known red hourglass design on their abdomen. Black widows typically avoid establishing a presence within inhabited areas of a home; instead, balck widows are often found dwelling within garages, sheds, basements, barns and within cluttered areas surrounding houses. This is not necessarily the case when it comes to the brown recluse, as this species is not shy about establishing a significant presence within any room of a house. Also unlike black widows, the brown recluse is not necessarily easy to identify, and they are often confused with numerous other spider species that closely resemble the brown recluse. More than 2,000 black widow bite incidents are reported in the US each year, but luckily most black widow bites only see a small amount of venom injected beneath the skin, and some bites are completely free of venom. These days, fatalities resulting from black widow bites are exceedingly rare, but children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals are at an increased risk of experiencing medically significant symptoms following a bite.

Have you ever found a black widow spider specimen in the wild?

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