Despite popular belief, there is more to spiders than just scaring humans. Spiders are extremely useful to our gardens, homes and ecosystem. They’re nature’s pest control. Spiders aid in controlling other household pests like mosquitoes, cockroaches, grasshoppers and flies. All of these insects have been known to devastate crops, gardens and homes and chemical control can only do so much. Through limiting the population of these pests, spiders can also assist in significantly decreasing the onset of several diseases. An example being that spiders contribute to lessening the spread of malaria from mosquitoes and typhoid from house flies. In addition to being crop protectors and disease defectors, spiders’ venom is currently being studied by scientists as it may help to treat arthritis. Medical applications that involve the uses of spider silk and spider venom are increasing in number.
There are around 4000 species of spiders in the United States. Most of which produce venom! Fortunately for Michiganders there are only 2 species found in Michigan. The Brown Recluse and the Black Widow are the only 2 spiders that pose a serious risk according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Despite that, these 8 legged creepy crawlies are a common fear and are NOT welcome in most of our homes. This page is meant to inform you of the most common spiders you may find in your homes or yard, what they are like, and how you may get rid of them.
The Northern Black Widow is most commonly found in the lower western peninsula of the Michigan. There entire bodies are completely black, with the females having a classic red hourglass shape on their abdomen. Males will not have the hourglass shape, but will still have a red or yellow-black band on their abdomen. Only a female bite is harmful to humans. They live outdoors in old stumps, wood piles and hollowed logs. You may find them inside of crawl spaces, garage corners and other dark areas. Black Widows are very shy and do their best to avoid humans. Bite victims only have a 1% mortality rate despite their venom being 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake.
The Brown Recluse is known for their violin shaped mark on their back. They are not actually native to Michigan since they are unable to survive tempatures below 40 degrees. They are known to hitch rides on vehicles from more southern states and often find their way here during the warmer months. The violin spider is roughly the size of a quarter when fully grown and loves to reside in dark secluded areas like garages, trash cans, tires and attics. The Brown Recluse not only captures prey in their webs, but will also go out and hunt! They eat cockroaches, crickets, flies and other spiders. Bites are very rare due to the extreme shyness of this spider.
The Jumping Spider is one of the largest found in North America. They have incredible superior eyesight compared to other spiders. Despite other spiders they can see in truecolor just like humans! That helps make them superior hunters. They Jumping Spider can leap up to 25 times their own length and can be identified by their unique eye pattern and hairy body. They are commonly found in grasslands, woodlands and gardens but can find their way into homes, barns and other residential structures. They eat bollworms, webworms, stink bugs, mosquitos and a wide range of arthropods.
The Wolf Spider has a large family. Most of them are large, dark and active. Wolf spiders don’t spin webs to catch their prey like most spiders. Instead they prefer to hunt them down with strong fangs and eyesight. Some species will chase them down, while others prefer to sit, wait and ambush their prey when it walks by. Their color varies depending on the environment and are identifiable by the presence of hair on their legs and body. Wolf Spiders are known for being agile and speedy hunters. A bite from a Wolf Spider has caused some adverse health in humans, but is not lethal if left untreated.
Most spiders don’t attempt to enter houses unless there is an extreme change in weather. Periods of heavy rain or drought will drive spiders indoors, as will cold temperature. So what can you do? There are several cost-effective and basic steps to prevent spider entry. First make sure your home doesn’t have any apparent gaps or openings. You can install door sweeps on your exterior doors and use caulk to seal the outside edges of your doors, widow, and outdoor faucets to seal any remaining gaps. If you have any crawl space or attic openings, be sure to cover those with wire mesh. Not only does it prevent spider entry, but debris and larger critters as well. Trimming shrubs and ornamental trees around your house foundation can also help. It is also wise to avoid stacking firewood against the home as spiders love to build webs and nests in them. Lastly, vacuuming and keeping food sealed and put away and regularly cleaning basements and attics can go a long way in preventing spider entry.
While it is difficult to ensure that you will never again see a spider in home, it is possible to utilize a combination of pesticide application and minor environmental modifications to greatly reduce the chances of having spiders in your home. Pesticide applications around doors and window sills can keep spiders at bay, while spot treatments throughout the home can take care of existing spiders. Increased vacuuming of corners and dark areas to destroy spider eggs is integral in keeping spider populations down. Reducing the amount of dark areas for spiders to hide in is also helpful, such as cleaning up dirty rooms, making sure laundry is not left out, etc. Make sure the layers of windows are intact and sealed correctly. Granular pesticidal applications around the foundation of the home may also help. Call or email Mike at Safeguard Pest Solutions for a free quote and consultation on how to get rid of your spider problem.