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Spiders can scare throughout winter | Home & Garden

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Spiders can scare throughout winter
Spiders can scare throughout winter

Spiders are associated with Halloween, but the arachnids will most likely be seen throughout the winter in homes due to the warm summer we experienced. Often popping up after people bring holiday decorations or winter clothing out of storage, Terminix, the nation’s largest pest control company, has a few tips for prevention and protection to limit number of infestations and incidents of bites.

Why do spiders invade homes?

Like most pests, spiders are opportunistic and invade homes out of convenience. Human structures often provide a sheltered environment and can provide easy access to other insects. 

How do spiders get into homes?

Spiders can slip through very small exterior openings. Common entry points include under exterior doors, through exterior vents and even plumbing lines that enter the home.  

How many variations of spiders exist?

There are more than 3,800 spider species in North America.

Are spiders a health threat?

All spiders have poison glands, but few are considered a significant threat to human health. The two most dangerous species are the black widow and brown recluse. Both possess highly toxic venom. Black widow victims often experience nausea, severe cramping, elevated blood pressure and vomiting. The venom of the brown recluse kills living tissue, sometimes leaving victims with painful, disfiguring scars.

What can homeowners do to protect themselves from spiders?

  • Seal cracks around windows, doors and pipes. Small openings give spiders access to the home.  
  • Eliminate heavy vegetation and piles of debris near the home. These provide an ideal habitat for spiders and can attract them closer to the structure.
  • Remove high-wattage light bulbs around entry ways, replacing them with low watt bulbs. Using yellow insect bulbs instead of white light will also attract fewer flying insects and fewer spiders.
  • Store shoes inside shoeboxes or shake them vigorously prior to wearing them. Some species will nest in shoes that are left out.
  • Place dirty clothing in hampers and store seasonal clothing in storage bins or garment bags. Spiders may inhabit clothing left lying on the floor.
  • Remove bed skirts or comforters that touch the floor. These can allow spiders to climb onto the bed.
  • Regularly remove spider webs with a broom or duster to eliminate the nesting sites.
  • Bites can be avoided by wearing heavy gloves when moving items stored for long periods in garages, basements or warehouses.
  • When webs are visible, inspect carefully before putting your hand under an object.
  • If numerous spiders are encountered within the home, they can be removed using a shop vacuum, but care should be taken when opening the vacuum to dispose of the bag.
  • Generally spider control is best left to a professional company. 

Black Widow Facts

  • Black widow spiders occur in all states in the U.S. except Alaska. They are most common in the southern U.S. from the Carolinas to California.
  • Their venom, drop for drop, is more poisonous than rattlesnake venom.
  • Only the female is venomous.  Male black widows are harmless and are much smaller than the female.
  • The female black widow spider has a glossy coating and is easily recognized by a red hourglass shape on the abdomen.

Brown Recluse Facts

  • Brown recluse spiders occur in the lower Midwest from Kansas to Indiana and south into Texas and Alabama.
  • Brown recluses harbor in warm, dark areas, such as wall voids, closets, basements and attics.
  • Brown recluse bites are accidental and occur when a spider hiding under covers, in a shoe or within clothing becomes trapped against a person’s skin.
  • A brown recluse bite usually results in painful, ulcerating sores because the tissue surrounding the site dies.
  • In rare cases, persons with sensitivities to the spider bite may experience more severe reactions.