Spider Types, Control and Management
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The Brown Recluse Spider and
Some spiders will enter buildings in search of food and shelter, particularly in the fall when the temperatures become cooler. Below is a list of spiders that are often found in or around buildings. Although many spiders can bite, the injury from this group is usually similar to a bee sting.
Cellar spiders have long, thin legs and build sheet-like or irregular webs in dark places. They commonly hang upside down under the web.
Small crab spiders are dark or tan; some are lightly colored orange, yellow or creamy white. Their legs extend out from their sides causing them to scuttle back and forth in a crab-like fashion. These spiders hide in flower blossoms and may be brought inside in cut flowers.
Jumping spiders are active during the day and are common around windows where they feed on insects attracted to natural light. Jumping spiders are usually small, up to ½ inch in length, and many are brightly colored. They move in quick rushes, jerks or jumps. They often enter buildings from shrubs near windows or ride in on plant blossoms.
Orb weavers include "garden spiders" and their relatives. They build sheet-like orb webs that consist of rays and spirals of silk. They have poor eyesight and have trouble walking on anything but webs. They rarely occur indoors but frequently live on or near the outer walls of buildings near lights. A common orb weaver is the large black and yellow garden spider.
The hairy, fleet wolf spiders are very common outdoors under leaf litter, rocks and logs. When they come inside, they normally stay on the ground floor and are active in dim light. Large, quick-moving wolf spiders often frighten people. If handled, they give a painful bite, but it is not usually dangerous.
Control and Management
If wandering spiders are found, the best approach is to limit their access to the buildings.
Brown Recluse Spider
The brown recluse spider is uniformly tan to brown without markings except for a dark fiddle-shaped mark. (Several other species of spiders may have similar markings.) Although they can be found living outdoors in southern Illinois, they can be introduced into buildings in other areas of the state where they have been transported in boxes, pallets or other items. The brown recluse makes a fine, irregular web. In indoor infestations, it commonly wanders in the evening while seeking insects as food.
Bites - Brown recluse spiders avoid busy parts of rooms where people are present, remaining where there is no activity and in closed or unused rooms. Even though indoor infestations can be large, people are seldom bitten. Bites may occur when rooms are suddenly put into use or when stored clothing is brought out for use. Brown recluse bites are sharp but not initially painful, but a blister is quickly raised, broken and surrounded by a red welt. The depressed center of this raised, red circle (the size of a dime to a quarter) turns dark within a day. The dead tissue often falls away and the bite area scars over in one to eight weeks. Death seldom occurs, but the bite can result in a large and disfiguring scar. Individuals who believe they have been bitten by the brown recluse spider should immediately contact a doctor. If possible, the individual should keep the offending spider so it can be identified.
The spider is delicate. After biting, it frequently can be found lying where it was slapped by the victim. It should be killed and taken to the physician along with the victim for positive identification. Other biting or stinging insects (and related creatures) can produce injuries resembling the bite of the brown recluse spider. Furthermore, some cases of "brown recluse spider bites" are actually injuries from other causes such as bacterial skin infections. Before any pesticide application occurs, a thorough inspection for the brown recluse spider should be conducted.
Control and Management
Carefully mop or dust seldom-used rooms and closets.
Spiders not killed by the pesticide treatment will wander. Consequently, be wary when picking up items in rooms not normally in use and watch carefully for spiders for one or two days following treatment. Monitor and, if indicated, retreat the structure in one or two weeks. Infestations of the brown recluse spider may be difficult to eliminate completely; continue to monitor infested areas with sticky traps for several months.
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