Archive for the ‘Spiders’ Category

Which Spiders Are Most Commonly Spotted In Louisiana Homes?

Spiders are everywhere. You may subscribe to the notion that at all times there are spiders around three to ten feet away from you. Whether these figures are correct or just a common rumour, you can bet that they are never very far away from you, whether you are inside or outside. Scientists have discovered 46,000 species of spider in the world to date, so it’s not hard to conclude that there are always at least a few nearby. Most spiders are not harmful to humans even though some of those might have venom, but there are only a few venomous spiders that can actually cause harm to us. Thankfully, spider bites are fairly rare, as spiders certainly aren’t after us for a meal, unlike other insects such as mosquitos, so it’s not like they are searching us out or stalking us – even those that live in our homes. Louisiana neighborhoods are filled with spiders, with certain spiders living in people’s homes and others in more natural habitats in the state. Here are some of the most common spiders you are likely to find in Louisiana.

One spider that every human is bound to run across at some point or another is the common house spider, also known as Parasteatoda tepidariorum. These common spiders are recognizable by their cobweb-like homes, which are not circular, but rather asymmetrical, and are usually found along fences and under the eave of your porch. The other spider you are likely to come across at home is the cobweb spider, or steatoda triangulosa, which are a bit smaller than the common house spider, and are generally found indoors and under furniture with their webs close to the ground. You may also notice the wall spider in your home. These are tiny little spiders, around 2-3 millimeters long, and they tend to build their tiny webs in the corners where walls meet, hiding there from any human predators. They also eat ants, so they can actually be helpful keeping them out of your home.

There are also some larger spiders that like to settle in people’s homes. One of these is the Twinflagged jumping spider, which doesn’t build a web to catch its prey, but uses its speed and incredible jumping ability to leap at their prey, grabbing it at the same time it bites down to prevent it from escaping its clutches. These spiders have amazing eyesight, able to see up to a foot away from them. Considering their size, that is a long distance for their little eyes to be able to see clearly. The crevice weaver spider builds its white, wooly webs in the cracks in walls and dust-filled hideaways that conceal them and their web. When a meal gets caught in their web, they quickly rush out of their hideaway to grab it. These spiders don’t move around a lot, and will stay in the same place with the same web usually fixed onto a ceiling or wall as long as the prey keep coming there. This can end up being a long time, as the females can live 11 years. They are commonly found in barns or sheds.

What spiders have you caught residing in your house? Do you know what kind of spider it was?



Why Is The Potentially Deadly Brown Widow Spider Species Becoming Prevalent In Urban And Residential Areas Of Louisiana?

If you had to name the most venomous spider species that exists within the United States, you would probably name either the black widow or the brown recluse species. While brown recluse spiders are certainly dangerous in their own right due to the necrotizing compounds found within their venom, no spider species in the US is more venomous than the black widow species. Although black widow spiders are almost universally known to American citizens, very few people are aware that the US is actually home to five species of widow spider. The widow spider that is the most venomous and most well known is the southern black widow spider. In addition to this widely distributed species, there also exists the northern black widow species, the western black widow species, the red widow species and the brown widow species. Of all these widow species, the brown widow is the least dangerous to humans, as they are relatively docile and often go to extremes in order to avoid humans. That being said, brown widow spiders are by no means harmless, as they still produce toxic venom that is known for sometimes causing medically significant effects in humans. This species is a relative newcomer to the United States where they are not native, but this species quickly established an extensive habitat in Louisiana where these spiders are commonly found within buildings, on park benches and in homes.

Reports of brown widow sightings began flooding into extension offices in Louisiana during the summer of 2012. That year, a Zachary woman nearly sustained a bite from this potentially deadly widow species before she spotted the spider on her door frame. It was not until after she killed the spider and searched for it on Google that she realized that the spider in her home was a brown widow species. According to professors with Louisiana State University’s Entomology Department, the brown widow suddenly appeared in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Once brown widows began appearing in large numbers within the state, they began to dwell within areas where experts had assumed they could not survive. Entomologist Dr. Dennis Ring claims that brown widows are not much different than black widows, only they are brown in color, as their common name makes clear. The Dr. also stated that brown widow bites are pretty serious and it can take a few days before bite symptoms become serious, but their venomous bites will most certainly cause skin to “rot”.

If you sustained a brown widow bite would you immediately report to an emergency room for treatment?


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?



Spider Control Tips from J&J Exterminating

Spider Control Tips from J&J Exterminating

  • Install screens and weather stripping on windows and door sweeps on doors.
  • Fix any cracks in siding and walls, especially where pipes or wires enter the home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.
  • Wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time.
  • Inspect items such as boxes of decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors.
  • Store clothing inside plastic containers and check shoes before putting them on, as spiders often hide in these items.
  • If you suspect that a spider has bitten you, contact your primary care physician for medical advice.
  • If you have a spider infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.

Researchers Find Eerie Fossils Of Spiders With Glowing Eyes

Fossils are a source of fascination for many people, and many experts consider spider fossils to be among the most interesting and revealing of all fossil types. Not much is known about the evolution of spiders, which is why nearly every fossilized spider specimen surprises researchers. For example, last year, researchers unearthed a fossil that contained a 100 million year old spider with a tail. This discovery was completely unexpected, as researchers had no idea that a tailed spider ever existed. Now, researchers have discovered ten more spider fossils that contain interesting spider specimens that were previously unknown to researchers. Two of these spiders represent new species, and they possess another trait that has never been seen before in an ancient spider–night vision.

The eyeballs of some animals contain a membrane known as the tapetum which sits directly behind the retina. The tapetum causes an animal’s eyes to appear as if they are glowing when a light is flashed over their eyes in the dark. Most people have probably seen this “glowing” in the eyes of cats. The tapetum allows animals like cats, moths and owls to view the world in night vision during the dark of night. Now, in addition to many other nocturnal animals, the ten fossilized spider specimens also made use of night vision, as their tapeta is still visible if a light is shined over the fossilized specimen’s eyes. According to researchers, it is not often that a fossilized specimen’s visual system is preserved, but when this occurs, researchers can learn much about the nature of the specimen that is fossilized. The manner in which an animal’s eyes are designed can reveal a whole lot about how the animal survived. Most animals that possess tapeta used night vision abilities in order to hunt at night, in other words, these ten spiders were all nocturnal hunters. Although the ten spider specimens encased within the fossils are now extinct, they were quite similar to modern jumping spiders.

Do you know of any other arthropods that possess night vision?

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