Category Archives: Spider Pest Control

It’s not a nightmare! It’s just a spider web

It’s not a nightmare! It’s just a spider web

Hundreds of feet and entire trees have succumbed to a giant cooperative spider web in Texas.  It is speculated that thousands of spiders have worked together to build the massive mega-web. It looks like a giant communal based home for the massive amount of eight legged pests.

Local residents near Lakeside Park South in Rowlett, Texas have turned the spectacle into a touristy home to visit. One man brought his grandchildren with him to see the giant web because he wanted to make sure his grandkids did not miss witnessing such a rare sight. He was even quoted describing the web as “Amazing”.

Another local resident traveled during the miserable summer weather to visit the silk spun web. Even after going through the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension’s Master Naturalist program, all this resident could say is, “It’s just so cool, I don’t know, I am just a science nerd, I guess. I just love this sort of thing.”

The spiders have spun a web so long it’s like a natural net catching mosquitoes and small flies. Experts say that is likely the inspiration behind the cooperative web.

Residents have left the web alone stating this type of spider is not a threat. Residents went on to say that this is a very good lesson for people actually; “We can do amazing things if we set our minds to it and work cooperatively.”

For more information on the giant spider web click here

This Peacock Spider’s Dance Is Captivating

This Peacock Spider’s Dance Is Captivating

If you thought spiders weren’t already interesting enough critters just the way they are, wait till you see a peacock spider. You wouldn’t normally call a spider captivating, but in this case, even a self-proclaimed arachnophobe might venture to take a second look.

From the word clue “peacock”, you can already gain a clue as to what a peacock spider would look like. Nicknamed “Sparklemuffin” and “Skeletorus”, these peacock spiders were discovered in the 1800s and are native to Australia.

The sight of a male peacock spider’s bright, colorful back is odd if you compare it to conventional images of spiders, whose bodies are usually covered in darker, more sombre, dangerous tones. The peacock spider’s colors, on the other hand, are not dominated by grays or blacks, but of relatively “happier” tones, such as fiery oranges, brilliant blues, searing speckles of red, impressive purples, attractive yellows, and a few dark shades for dramatic effect, reminiscent of a male peacock’s tail, which is used to attract potential mates.

When it  comes to mating rituals though, a male peacock spider does more than simply display its attractive piece of nature’s artwork for a back. The creature also has a mating dance ritual that truly is captivating to watch, as it raises its various legs one by one like its own version of Hokey Pokey, moving them in staccato-like motion. It lifts its colorful back up and down and hops around, dancing to the beat of its own internal drum.

As of this writing, more species are still being discovered, which makes you wonder about all the other marvels of nature that are still out there, waiting to be seen and appreciated. As for our enchanting peacock spiders, here are some videos you can check to watch their dance captured in HD.

The Ultimate Sacrifice of Motherhood

The Ultimate Sacrifice of Motherhood

The velvet spider gets its name from a soft coat of fur covering its body. But this creature is anything but cuddly. Its method of child-rearing is bone chilling, in fact.

The mother spider undergoes a biological process that causes its abdominal tissue to slowly liquefy, so its young can have a promising start with a protein-rich series of meals.

Scientists have known about matriphagy – or maternal suicide in service to offspring – for many years, but a recent study of the velvet spider is the first in-depth look into the mechanics of the phenomenon.

The mother’s body begins its breakdown process before its young have even hatched, through a process of degradation and liquidation of abdominal tissues. The ovaries, however, remain intact to the very last – probably in order to give birth to a second brood if something goes wrong with the first.

“Our work shows that the process [of abdominal tissue degradation] is gradual, possibly in order to allow the female to produce another clutch of eggs in case something goes wrong with the first one,” said Mor Solomon, a study leader from Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

After about two weeks, the spider’s babies pierce the mother’s abdominal wall and begin sucking out her innards.

The velvet spider is native to southern European countries and also found in Africa. Theorists believe the extreme behavior is a by-product of surviving harsh desert environments.

 

New Spidey Skill Revealed

New Spidey Skill Revealed

Although they engender fear, spiders are a class of arthropods that are not only helpful to humans, but also possess a host of amazing skills.  The latest research shows that, in addition to web-spinning and poison fangs, these eight-legged wonders have another superpower.

They can, using five different techniques, essentially walk on water.

Having a lot of legs helps in this talent, but mostly it’s body posture and water repellent feet that allow arachnids to negotiate puddles and streams.  Their first method is sailing, which entails moving the whole abdomen upside down so it juts straight into the air.  This way, their main bulk catches the wind and they glide through across waterways.

The second technique takes advantage of spider threads, extruded from the posterior and used to catch the wind.  Research has shown that this method can result in traveling nearly 20 miles in one day.

Anchoring also uses silk, but in this approach the spider uses a strand of web to catch onto the surface of the water.

Speed walking is useful because spider’s feet are water repellent, thus they can scurry over short, watery distances.

Lastly, a spider is able to fake death and go into an absolutely frozen state.  Their feet allow them to glide across moving water without sinking.

Webspinner Leads Amazing Life

Webspinner Leads Amazing Life

She’s called Embioptera, or webspinner, and she lives her whole life in a complicated maze of silk. Neither spider nor silkworm, she nonetheless can spin just as effectively: those who’ve studied her say she is in evolutionary holdover, the only insect silk-spinning legs.

The webspinner is often mistaken for the prey of a spider, as she is found deep inside what looks like a prison of silk strands. She lives inside tree bark, where she spends her entire life constructing an extremely elaborate, multi-layered web, full of tunnels and rooms. A web mansion, you might call it.

Specialized structures on this insect’s legs create silk. Looking much like a long-bodied ant or termite, this bug can crawl very rapidly both forward and backward. Considering the complexity of her home, she needs to be able to move fast in tight spaces.

The male webspinner is an odd creature, sometimes wingless, who has to generally crawl in order to find a mate. Because crawling through someone else’s tunnel can be confusing and exhausting, the males prefer to pick family members for mating. After the larval stage, the winged males develop into adulthood and never eat again. Their anatomy doesn’t allow for it – they get wings, but no mouths.

The mouth parts are really only there to grab a female, and mate. Unable to eat, they starve and become a food source for any of the tribe’s females.

Spider Silk Crawling Toward a Market Near You?

Spider Silk Crawling Toward a Market Near You?

Could silk from spiders be the next breakthrough in fabrics?  Scientists and entrepreneurs have been searching for decades to find a way to get this amazing substance to market.  But starting a spider ranch is not as straightforward as one might suspect – and all sorts of attempts have been made.

Spiders are not cooperative in the ways that silk worms are.  They are territorial, for starters.  Another barrier to setting up a successful colony of silk-weaving arachnids is that they tend to be cannibalistic.  Not ideal for fashioning a bustling spider neighborhood.

A startup with $40 million in funding called Bolt Threads may have broken through the silk barrier, however.  The trick to making the best spider silk is to do it without actual spiders.  Bolt has developed genetically engineered organisms, through a yeast fermentation process, that can produce large quantities of silk.  That part of the process has been known for years, but the new technology uses a proprietary liquid bath to coat the silk proteins and transform them into the usable end product of solid fibers.

Bolt CEO Brian Widmaier recently explained that the process is superior to using raw spider silk because the proteins can be manipulated to emphasize various qualities of the fiber. Bolt can make spider silk that’s stronger, stretchier, or waterproof, for example, depending on preference. “What we’ve learned is we could prod nature a little bit in the lab and engineer these new properties in,” says Widmaier.

 

Creepy Crawlies That Give Homeowners A Scare This Halloween

While it’s normal to see bats, spiders and other creatures invade your front doorstep on Halloween in the form of trick-or-treaters or spooky décor, Hulett Environmental Services advises people to be on the lookout for real-life ghoulish pests this fall.

Halloween is a fun celebration of all things creepy and crawly, but it also serves as a reminder that actual pest infestations can cause quite the fright. The spirit of this spooky holiday, we are reminding homeowners to take preventative measures to keep pests from taking up residence indoors.

Here’s a guide to some common critters that may spook homeowners this fall, along with tips to prevent them from turning the home into a haunted house.

Rats – One of the most reviled pests, rats can contaminate food, spread dangerous diseases and create fire hazards by chewing through electrical wires. Before homeowners bring boxes of pumpkins and faux cobwebs inside to decorate for Halloween, they should inspect them for signs of an infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings.

Spiders – Some species of spiders, mainly the brown recluse and black widow, can administer a painful bite when disturbed. Homeowners can avoid coming in contact with spiders by wearing heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time and shaking out shoes before wearing them.

Bed bugs – Bed bugs are similar to vampires in that they feed off of human blood, typically at night. These elusive pests do not transmit disease, but they can leave red, itchy welts on the skin. Before dressing up in a costume that came from a rental or second-hand store, make sure to inspect it for bed bugs.

Hulett Environmental Services offers some additional tips to prevent a pest infestation this Halloween season:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around the home’s exterior using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention to where utility pipes enter the structure.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well trimmed.
  • If you see signs of an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.

Cool New Spider Species Discovered

Cool New Species Discovered

Though it looks like a spider, has a web like a spider and moves like a spider, it’s not a spider. It’s actually a decoy built by a newly-discovered species in the Cyclosa genus.

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When biologist Phil Torres was leading a group of visitors into a floodplain in Peru, he saw a white inch (2.5cm) long spider sitting its web. Its flaky appearance, seemingly covered in fungus, suggested it had been dead a while – until it started moving. It wasn’t until Torres got closer that he realized the illusion. The actual spider, only 5mm long in body length, was sitting above the decoy and shaking the web to create the illusion of movement.

The spider seems to be a completely new species, but its sculpting abilities have led experts to place it in the genus Cyclosa. Spiders in this genus are known to use debris in their webs to attract or confuse prey, but haven’t been seen to make anything as detailed as these decoys. The web-shaking behavior is also new. However more observations are needed before it can be declared a new species, as there is always the chance that this is a named spider engaging in never-before-seen behavior.

Photo credit: Phil Torres.

Sources (where several more photos are available)
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/12/spider-building-spider/

http://blog.perunature.com/2012/12/new-species-of-decoy-spider-likely.html

Hulett Enviornmental Services offers advice on pest-proofing this fall to keep spiders out

Florida Pest Control

Hulett Environmental Services, a pest management company servicing South Florida warns that homeowners might begin to notice more spiders in and around their home as the cooler weather rolls in.

Much like humans, spiders seek shelter from cooler weather in warm environments. Unfortunately, our homes provide the perfect harborage site for these creepy crawlers to ride out the colder months, which can lead to a larger infestation.

Spiders prefer to spin their webs in dark, undisturbed areas around the house, so homeowners should pay special attention to basements, garages and attics. recommends keeping these areas particularly clean and free of clutter. Experts also suggest the following tips to avoid contact with spiders:

  • 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.

Spiders are a beneficial part of the ecosystem, as they provide a natural form of pest control by catching insects in their webs, but that doesn’t mean they have an open invitation to wander inside our homes.

For more information on spiders and other common household pests, please visit www.bugs.com

How to get rid of spiders in the house and stay safe from bites.

How to get rid of spiders in the house and stay safe from bites.

Spider Control for HomeownersFear of spiders is consistently ranked as one of the top phobias in America. Whether it is an evolutionary trigger that kept our ancestors alive or the result of Hollywood horror films, spiders have a reputation as being creepy, crawly, venomous pests.

But spiders aren’t all bad. They do provide a form of natural pest control by catching insects in their webs. However, that doesn’t mean they have an open invitation to come into our homes. A spider infestation can cause contamination of food in kitchens or pantries, and depending on the species, there could be health risks if family members unexpectedly happen upon a web or lurking spider. Taking action to prevent spiders goes a long way in avoiding these risks.

Keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter-free.

Most spiders seek out secluded, undisturbed areas where they can build a web to catch their next meal, so an attic or basement that has been left unused over the past season could be harboring these pests out of sight. Avoid leaving clothing and shoes on the floor and consider storing them inside plastic containers. It is also advised to shake out all clothing that has been in a hamper before wearing or washing.

Seal any cracks or crevices around the home.

Spiders can crawl into homes through damaged window screens or cracks in the siding. The outside of homes should be inspected for these defects seasonally as weather and changes in temperature can cause or worsen existing problems.

Inspect items such as boxes of decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors.

Packages are often left on the front step if delivered when you’re not at home, and groceries might be placed on the driveway while unloading. These are opportunities for spiders and other pests to crawl onto bags and boxes and be carried inside. Inspecting packages before bringing them into your home reduces this risk.

If a spider bites you, contact your primary care physician for medical advice.

Species such as house spiders and cellar spiders pose no health threat to people. They don’t have very strong mouthparts, so if they tried to bite, they wouldn’t be able to pierce the skin. These spiders are simply nuisance pests, but they are much better off living and laying eggs outside.

Other species such as black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders do have the ability to pierce the skin and inject venom. Their bites cause varied reactions in people, but are very rarely fatal with proper treatment. Symptoms include localized pain, fever and nausea. In the case of a brown recluse spider bite, there’s also a possibility for skin necrosis at the site of the bite.

If you have an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.

Being proactive about spider control will reduce the likelihood of any species making a home in your abode and possibly harming a member of your family. But if you suspect you have a spider infestation in your home, contact a pest professional to identify the species and properly remove the pests.