Tag Archives: Spider Control

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.

30_Black Widow Spider

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.

Prevent Spiders

Hulett Environmental Services reminds homeowners that there are several ways to prevent spider bites and keep them out of the house all together:

  • 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 clothing and shoes inside plastic containers, and shake out all clothing that has been in a hamper, on the floor or in storage before wearing.
  • Wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time.
  • Inspect shoes before wearing them, as spiders often hide inside.
  • Reduce clutter in basements, garages and attics.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.

What to do if a spider bites you

What To Do

  • If you suspect a spider has bitten you, try to bring it with you to the doctor so they can determine the best course of treatment based on the species.
  • Clean the site of the spider bite well with soap and water.
  • Apply a cool compress over the spider bite location (using a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice).
  • If you suspect the bite is form a black widow or brown recluse spider, and the bite is on an extremity, elevate it.
  • Consider tying a snug bandage above the bite and elevate the limb to help slow or halt the venom’s spread. Ensure that the bandage is not so tight that it cuts off circulation in your arm or leg.
  • Adults can take aspirin or acetaminophen and antihistamines to relieve minor signs and symptoms (but use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers).
  • Seek medical attention for any severe signs and symptoms, or if signs and symptoms continue to worsen for more than 24 hours.

Bedbugs, Spiders, and Other Pests Give Homeowners Nightmares During the Halloween Season

Bedbugs, Spiders, Bats and Other Pests Give Homeowners Nightmares During the Halloween Season

This Halloween, vampires, ghosts and goblins will not be the only ghoulish creatures haunting the night; bedbugs continue to make a startling resurgence in U.S. residences, spider infestations are up, and wildlife pests such as bats plague homeowners across the country.

Scary movies aren’t the only thing giving homeowners nightmares this season. As temperatures begin to plunge, pests everywhere begin to seek respite in the very areas you want them the least – your home.

Pests such as bedbugs are actually very similar to one of our favorite Halloween characters – the vampire.  A nocturnal creature, bedbugs are bloodsucking pests.  As they bite human skin, they inject an anesthetic-like liquid that numbs the skin and allows them to bite undisturbed.  In fact, humans don’t usually wake up when they are being bitten; however, they do find themselves scratching circular, red, itchy welts in the morning.

Luckily, a bedbug bite doesn’t transform you into a bedbug; the way a vampire bite makes you a vampire. In fact, the only good news about bedbugs is that their bites do not transmit disease to humans.

Other ghoulish pests cannot make the same claim.  Bats are the culprits behind 72% of rabies cases in the U.S. between 1990 and 2002; and various species of spiders found in the United States pose serious health threats and require vigilant control procedures.

“Homeowners have an easy way of waking up from this type of house nightmare,” commented National Pest Management Association Vice President of Public Affairs Missy Henriksen. “Pest professionals have the training and expertise to assist homeowners through this type of home horror.”

For further information on these nightmarish pests or to find a pest professional in your area, visit bugs.com and www.pestworld.org.

 

 

Rotting-Ear Case the Work of Deadly Brown Recluse Spider

Rotting-Ear Case the Work of Deadly Brown Recluse Spider

By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES

The brown recluse spider got some bad press again this week.

Nikki Perez, a fashion merchandising student at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, described how she lost part of an ear and nearly her eye sight to the venomous arachnid.

“It was terrifying,” she told the British Daily Mail newspaper. “It was spreading all over my head.”

Perez, 21, was stung at the Amarillo airport and was later hospitalized for five days in September. Her head swelled to twice its normal size and she needed a skin graft to rebuild the ear that had rotted from necrosis.

The Daily Mail sounded an alarm about a University of Kansas study by graduate student Erin Saupe, saying the “deadly” spider was “spreading … to a town near you.”

The study was published last year in the online journal PlosOne

The spider’s habitat is limited to the Southeast and Midwest, stretching from Kansas east to the Appalachian states.

But Saupe of the university’s Geology and Biodiversity Institute used computer modeling to predict how it’s habitat might move north to states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and even New York.

Spiders are, after all, one of the top 10 phobias.

But Rick Vetter, the nation’s foremost expert on the brown recluse spider — loxosceles reclusa — said such media reports use “scare tactics,” and 90 percent of the time a bite causes nothing more than a red mark on the skin.

“These are distorted reports … hyperbolic media crap,” said Vetter, a research associate in the department of entomology at the University of California-Riverside.

A Kansas home, for instance, was infested with 2,055 brown recluse spiders for a period of 17 years and “not one” in the family of four was bitten, according to one of his studies, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

He said gnarly photos of Perez’s injuries looked authentic and he had known a 9-year-old who had lost an ear from necrosis. But such cases are rare.

The spider’s venom — sphingomyelinase D — induces red blood cell destruction. Symptoms can include pain at the site of the bite, itching, muscle and joint pain, as well as vomiting and fever.

“My crusade is to stop stupidity in the medical community,” Vetter said.

When doctors blame a skin lesion on the brown recluse, they might overlook other more serious conditions such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), diabetes or even lymphoma.

In a 2005 article he co-wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, Vetter cited 40 other conditions that can cause necrosis often misdiagnosed as a spider bite.

Vetter was so tired of doctors blaming the much-maligned spider, he started the Brown Recluse Challenge. Of 1,800 specimens sent to him, only 350 turned out to be the real deal. And all were from the Midwest.

A brown recluse bite can be life-threatening in 10 percent of the cases, but Vetter estimates there are only one or two deaths a year, typically in small children.

Brown Recluse Spiders Could Head North

Vetter worked with Saupe on her master’s project, in which she tracked the spiders’ predicted migration through “ecological niche modeling.”

She used two models to predict the spider’s range in 2020, 2050 and 2080, given the effects of global warming, concluding they might move north but those left behind would die off.

Kansas is a “hotbed” for these spiders, said Saupe, who has predicted that they might become extinct by 2080 after the climate in their natural habitats becomes to warm and their mobility is restricted.

Most are reclusive, as their name suggests, and go nowhere near humans. Those that are threatened can sting, but often with just a “dry bite” that does not emit venom, Saupe said.

It is dormant part of the year, which means bites usually occur from April until October. They tend to come out at night and hide under bedding and clothes, in dark places.

Still, the spiders can be lethal.

ABCNews.com reported in 2010 on Victoria Franklin of Marietta, Ga., who had surgery to remove a necrotic breast after a brown recluse bite.

Franklin, 51, still has kidney and other medical problems related to the bite.

“I have no medical insurance at all,” she told ABCNews.com in an email. “Medication is also expensive. I have nine different medications that I have to take every day, sometime twice a day.”

Saupe’s study co-author, Paul Selden, said the species was “the commonest spider in my house” in Lawrence, where the paleontologist and arachnologist teaches at the University of Kansas Paleontological Institute.

“They are in the bathroom under my sink in the cupboard,” said Selden, a professor of invertebrate paleontology, or fossil spiders. “The problem is you leave a towel on the floor and it will scurry under there. In the morning, you pick up the towel and it may be on it.”

But Saupe, 27, said, “I love spiders. …Think about their ability to construct complex webs and catch food. It’s pretty amazing.”

While scientists are relatively blase about the dangers of the brown recluse, those who have been bit are not.

Jill Hardesty, now 47, encountered one when she was 6 and living in an old house in rural Missouri.

“It got me,” said Hardesty, an editor at the University of Kansas Paleontological Institute and still has the scar.

At first, her parents thought a red, quarter-sized lesion on her thigh was a boil, but when red lines began to crawl up her leg, they knew it was more serious.

“I remember getting injections into the site and I still ended up losing quite a bit of flesh,” she said. “I still have a divot on my thigh.

“I have always been creeped out by spiders,” Hardesty added. “I still shake out my clothes and my husband shakes his shoes out. I tell the kids [19 and 16] to check the bed before they crawl in if it’s been dormant for a week or so.

“We are pretty vigilant.”

Most Spiders On A Body For 30 Seconds – Guinness World Record

This is one brave little kid! Tom Buchanan of Australia laid in a clear perspex box and had 125 Golden Orb Spiders put onto his body for 55 seconds during the ‘Australia: Guinness World Records’ TV show in Sydney, New South Wales in August 2005. I don’t know about you but I’d say this record will be safe for now. Check out the video here.

Ants Beware! Spider Protected by Burglar-Proof Web

Ants Beware! Spider Protected by Burglar-Proof Web

By Jennifer Welsh | LiveScience.com – Tue, Nov 22, 2011

Just as a homeowner might adopt a large dog with an equally large bark to protect his or her property, a certain orb spider makes a similar investment to protect its web, according to new research that finds this arachnid uses a chemical in its web silk to repel ant burglars.

“Ants are often found in webs of some web-building spiders, but they are rarely observed foraging in webs of orb-web spiders, though ants are potential predators,” study researcher Daiqin Li, at the National University of Singapore, told LiveScience in an email.

“There must be other mechanisms of protection of ant invasion. One possibility might be some chemicals that could deter/repel ants.”

Ant deterrent

To figure out what was chasing the ants away, the researchers collected wild orb-web spiders (Nephila antipodiana) and analyzed their silk for chemicals. They found one, called 2-pyrrolidione, present in the silk strands that ants seemed to avoid in the lab, including the widespread Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) and two others. Even when tempted with a free tasty snack, the ants wouldn’t cross the silk strands that had been coated with this deterrent.

“Golden orb-web spiders produce a chemical in their web silk that deters ant invasion, which adds chemical defense to the impressive properties of spider silk, already known to be strong, elastic and adhesive,” Li said.

The researchers also discovered that young spiders don’t need to make this chemical, because their silk is too thin for even tiny ants to cross. Larger juveniles and adult spiders make the ant-deterrent to stop ants from invading their homes and their web, their fresh-caught prey and even the spiders themselves.

Chemical threat

The researchers aren’t sure how the spiders make this chemical (whether they add it to their silk or paint it on later), or how it works. The chemical isn’t what scientists call “volatile,” so it doesn’t produce a smell. The ants could be “tasting” the compound, because they only avoid the silk after they come into contact with it, but will stay in the vicinity even after that contact.

“The orb spider is potentially vulnerable to attack from groups of ants while sitting in its web waiting for prey, so the chemical defense in web silk may have evolved to not only protect the spider, but to reduce the time and energy that would otherwise be required to chase away invading ants,” study researcher Mark Elgar, from the University of Melbourne, said in a statement.

They’ve also found similar chemicals in other spider silks, which indicates this type of chemical deterrent could be widespread in spiders. Interestingly, the same 2-pyrrolidione compound has been seen in glands of the ant Crematogaster sjostedti — the same glands that make chemicals that signal a warning to other ants. The spiders could be mimicking these chemical warning signals.

The study was published today (Nov. 22) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

You can follow LiveScience staff writer Jennifer Welsh on Twitter @microbelover. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.