Dr. Jim Fredericks from the National Pest Management Association discusses if all spiders bite.
- Seal cracks around the outside of the home to prevent pest entryways.
- Properly ventilate basements and crawl spaces to eliminate harborage points.
- Vacuum frequently and remove garbage from around the home on a routine basis.
- Do not allow dirty dishes to accumulate in the sink and remain there overnight.
- Keep food in the refrigerator or in containers with tight-fitting lids to prevent contamination.
- Periodically check and clean the evaporation pan under the refrigerator or freezer.
- If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment.
Many people blame their sneezing and runny noses on pollen and grass, however, household pests are often culprits as well. It’s important for people to make an effort to keep the home free of potential triggers, and the first step is practicing good sanitation.
We recommend the following tips for safeguarding homes against common indoor allergens caused by pests:
- Exclude pests by sealing cracks and gaps on the outside of the home. Pay special attention to utility pipe entry points.
- Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter.
- Keep food sealed and stored properly, and clean kitchen floors and counters daily.
- Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
- If allergic to stinging insects, learn how to use an epinephrine kit and carry it with you at all times.
- Should you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction following a stinging insect encounter, such as tongue and throat swelling, wheezing, dizziness, or shortness of breath, call 911.
- If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to safely remove the threat.
Tips to keep pets pest-free:
- Check pets’ coats thoroughly for ticks and fleas on a regular basis, especially after spending time outdoors. Be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
- Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where there is a greater chance of encountering ticks.
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
- Wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys frequently.
- Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture regularly.
- Empty vacuum bags in an outside receptacle.
- Speak to a veterinarian about flea and tick prevention treatments.
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- Carefully inspect the perimeter of the home for mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and rotting wood.
- Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles. Some termites are drawn to deteriorating wood.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of the home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches up off the ground, and inspect it closely before bringing it indoors.
- Divert water away from the property through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
- At hotels, thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in furniture. Pull back the bed sheets and check the mattress seams and box springs for pepper-like stains that may be evidence of bed bug activity.
- If you suspect an infestation or problem, notify management and change rooms immediately. Be sure the new room is not adjacent to or directly below or above the possibly infested room.
- Keep suitcases in plastic trash bags or protective covers during a hotel stay to prevent bed bugs from nesting there. Do not put them on the beds.
- Upon returning home from a trip, inspect all suitcases and other belongings before bringing them into the house.
- Wash all clothes – even those that have not been worn – in hot water and dry them using an extra-hot dryer setting
Centipedes – House centipedes have poisonous jaws to inject their prey with venom. If handled roughly, some larger species can inflict a painful bite that can break human skin and cause pain and swelling, similar to a bee sting.
Earwigs – Contrary to popular myths, earwigs do not burrow into people’s brains at night. However, they are known to live together in large numbers. Earwigs can be found under piles of lawn debris, mulch or in tree holes, and they can gain entry to a structure through exterior cracks.
House Crickets – House crickets are nocturnal and usually hide in dark warm places during the day. Indoors, they can eat away at fabric, leaving holes and are especially attracted to soiled clothes.
How to get rid of spiders in the house and stay safe from bites.
Fear 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.