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Archive for the ‘Spiders’ Category

Which Spider Species Are Most Commonly Encountered In Louisiana Homes And Buildings?

There exists around 46,000 documented spider species in the world, the vast majority of which are not dangerous to humans. The United States is home to 3,000 spider species, some of which are known to inflict medically significant bites. For example, the black widow is regarded as the most venomous spider in the US, and the brown recluse has been found to inflict bite wounds that sometimes lead to tissue necrosis. There exists several other potentially dangerous spider species in the US, such as the brown widow and the hobo spider. Spiders are a common sight in Louisiana neighborhoods, especially in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the state is notable for being home to several highly venomous spider species, including the black widow and the brown recluse. But are these venomous spiders commonly found in Louisiana homes?

The Parasteatoda tepidariorum species, or the common house spider, is aptly named, as these spiders are frequently encountered within homes. Luckily, these spiders are considered harmless to humans and pets. Unfortunately, the brown widow spider is dangerous to humans, and these spiders are especially common in New Orleans where they are often spotted on park benches, streets and in homes. These spiders were accidentally introduced into the United States from either Africa or South America. Brown widow venom is weaker than black widow venom, but several severe brown widow bite cases have been documented.

Another spider commonly found within Louisiana homes is the Twin-flagged jumping spider. These spiders are small but frightening to look at, and they are known for leaping at their prey before inflicting a venomous bite. These spider are generally recognized as being harmless to humans. The dreaded black widow spider is prevalent throughout Louisiana and they are often found beneath rocks and in dry locations that lack light, such as garages, sheds and open air toilets. The brown recluse is also a common sighting within Louisiana homes, and while these spiders will not bite unless provoked, they possess compounds in their venom that have been implicated in causing tissue necrosis. So you will want to avoid these creepy-crawlies.

Have you ever spotted any of the above spiders within your home?



Easy Way You Can Help Prevent Pest Issues From Occurring Around Your Home

It is always a serious blow to a person’s sense of well-being when he/she learns that a pest infestation has taken shape within his/her home. There is no benefit to having a pest infestation within a home, unless of course, the pests happen to be spiders or house centipedes, in which case these two predatory arthropods will rapidly eat every insect pest located within every nook and cranny of a person’s home.

Despite all the talk from entomologists about venomous spiders providing a free form of indoor pest control on account of their remarkably efficient insect hunting abilities, every sane person on earth would just assume pay for the services of a human pest control professional as opposed to living amongst wolf spiders in order to keep the roaches in an apartment at bay. However, many gardeners and landscapers have learned to appreciate large spider, scorpion and centipede species, as these arthropods keep gardens and lawns free of plant-damaging insect pests.

Since people obviously do not sleep, eat and live in their backyard, why not be happy about having a high spider population within a well-cultivated garden? Well, for one thing, many people choose to bring their potted plants indoors before the winter season arrives, and in some cases, unwanted spider and insect pests can hitch rides indoors along with people’s beloved plants.

The most common arthropod pests found in potted plants include ants, aphids, spiders, caterpillars, centipedes, beetles and pill bugs, just to name a few. If you choose to bring your garden or potted plants indoors for the winter, be sure to check the underside of leaves, the bottom of pots, and an inch or so below the soil’s surface.

Another way in which homeowners can prevent arthropod nuisance issues around their home is by choosing a new outside light bulb that does not attract bugs by mimicking moonlight, as many insect pests naturally rely on the light emitted by the moon in order to maintain a sense of direction at night. Insect pests that are too dumb to tell the difference between the shine of a light bulb and the awesome gleeming light emanated by the moon include moths, crane flies, beetles and even swarming termites. Replacing a traditional white light bulb with a yellow light bulb will no longer mimic moonshine, and therefore, your tragic days of sweeping the corpses of navigationally-challenged moths, flies and other bugs off of your porch can finally come to an end.

Do insect pests bother you while you spend time on your outside porch?

Brown Recluse Spiders Prefer To Live Indoors

Around 40,000 spider species have been documented worldwide, and a small minority of these species are frequently encountered within homes and buildings. Some spiders that prefer to live outdoors often appear within structures due to accidentally wandering indoors or to pursue insect prey within homes and buildings. These occasional spider invaders include grass spiders, wolf spiders, fishing spiders, and even tarantulas. Other spiders that are frequently found indoors are synanthropic pests that have lost their ability to survive in the natural environment. The word “synanthropy” refers to organisms that benefit from living in close association with humans, and most synanthropic spiders spend their entire lives eating and reproducing within structures. Synanthropic spiders are often referred to as “house spiders,” and they include American house spiders, yellow sac spiders, cellar spiders, southern house spiders, and many cobweb weaving spiders. Unfortunately, the most dangerous spider species in the United States, the brown recluse spider, maintains a synanthropic habitat where they pose a medical threat.

Brown recluse spiders establish indoor harborages in dark spaces like closets, shoes, storage rooms, beneath clutter, attics, in piles of clothing, and beneath furniture. It is not uncommon for homeowners to find large numbers of brown recluse spiders indoors, and most recluse bites that are reported to medical facilities and poison control centers occur on residential properties. Amazingly, a brown recluse spider infestation consisting of more than 2,000 specimens was found within a single-family home back in 2001. Due to their familiarity with manmade structures, massive numbers of brown recluse spiders are able to inhabit homes without drawing attention from residents. These spiders only emerge in open living areas at night to seek out food sources, and they are known for behaving boldly around sleeping humans during this time. For example, doctors recently pulled a brown recluse spider from a woman’s ear. The spider likely crawled into her ear while she was sleeping in her infested home. Brown recluse spiders are not aggressive toward humans and most bites occur when specimens become trapped in clothing or are inadvertently pressed by humans. About 10 percent of all recluse bites result in skin lesions that often develop into necrotic infections that require medical attention.

Have you ever encountered a brown recluse spider indoors?

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?

Everything Louisiana Residents Should Know About The Most Commonly Encountered Spider Pests Within Homes

Just like insects, centipedes, millipedes, and crustaceans, arachnids belong to the phylum Arthropoda, which is the largest phylum in the animal kingdom. The most well known arachnid groups include spiders, scorpions, ticks, mites, opiliones, harvestman, and solifuges, the last of which is made up of numerous species that are commonly known as wind scorpions, sun spiders, and camel spiders. More than 45,000 spider species have been documented worldwide, which makes spiders the largest order of arachnids, and the seventh largest order of organisms on the planet. The vast majority of documented spider species produce venom, though only a small minority of spider species possess fangs large and durable enough to penetrate human skin.

While all spider species produce silk, not all spider species use their silk to construct webs for catching insect prey. Some spiders capture prey by using their silk to build snares, while other species use their silk to build handy draglines, protected shelters, and/or nurseries for transporting offspring. Amazingly, the spiderlings of many species use their silk to create kite-like structures that enable them to disperse to faraway areas by riding wind currents, a process known as “ballooning.” The most commonly encountered indoor spiders like cellar spiders and house spiders are notorious for their habit of building numerous cobwebs that often become a nuisance within homes and buildings.

While many entomologists and pest control professionals frequently tell residents that spiders are beneficial within and around homes due to their habit of preying on insect pests, many people cannot tolerate the thought of sharing their home with spiders, especially large and scary looking species. However, Louisiana is home to multiple spider species that public health professionals consider to be medical hazards that require urgent pest control attention when encountered indoors. Several large and hairy spider species frequently appear within Louisiana homes including Carolina wolf spiders, dark fishing spiders, and Parson spiders, but they are not considered medically significant. The four spider species that pose a genuine medical threat to residents within Louisiana homes include southern black widows (Latrodectus mactans), northern black widows (L. variolus), brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa), and non-native Mediterrranean recluse spiders (L. rufescens). Other potentially dangerous spider species in the state include brown widow spiders (L. geometricus), and possibly, yellow sac spiders (Cheiracanthium inclusum and Cheiracanthium mildei).

Have you ever sustained a spider bite in your home?

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