They’re creepy, they’re crawly, and movies have been made about how much we don’t like them, but spiders are quite common — especially in the St. Louis area. They’re a largely beneficial insect as they eat dangerous insects like mosquitoes and ticks, and while accidentally bites may happen, only 2 of the 470 species in the state of Missouri have a bite that will pack a poisonous punch: the brown recluse and the black widow.
Types of Spiders to Watch For
Among those hundreds of species, only a handful will impact your home, garden, or commercial building.
- Common house spiders: You may see a variety of spiders in your home, but the “official” house spider is known scientifically as the Parasteatoda tepidariorum or the American house spider. It’s about 6mm long and has a large, round abdomen which will help identify this spider. You may often see their webs before you see them — check high corners of your building as these house spiders can often create multiple webs. These spiders have a venomous bite but will leave just an itchy welt.
- Cellar spiders: Scientifically known as Pholcus phalangioides, the cellar spider loves moisture and can be found in damp, dark areas like basements or non-climate controlled commercial buildings. Their bodies are small and their legs are long, and more commonly referred to as daddy long legs. An urban myth tells that these spiders have the most deadly venom in the world, but their mouths are too small to bite humans. Good news and bad news: They can bite, but the venom isn’t deadly.
- Wolf spiders: Just like their namesake, wolf spiders are large and hairy. While their bite isn’t quite as bad as a black widow or brown recluse, you’ll definitely feel it. If you’re doing some spring cleaning in your attic, garage, or barn, make sure to don gloves before digging through boxes. Wolf spiders don’t create a web to attract prey; it’s a predatory arachnid that uses its eyesight. Because of this, it will sometimes use holes dug by other animals to lie in wait for its next meal.
- Brown recluse: Unsurprisingly, these spiders like to stay secluded from humans in attics, spare rooms, and unoccupied spaces in the building. They come out when things get quiet and can hide in shoes or jackets, where they’ll bite when disturbed. You can recognize these bad boys by a violin-shaped marking on their body. The bites have narcotic properties and can cause a painful sore at best, and be worse for others if left untreated.
- Black widow: This is considered the most venomous spider in North America. The females are black with a large abdomen that has a red hourglass shape, and they build scraggly webs that resemble loose, tangled webs of yarn. Be careful clearing out logs, construction material, and rocks on your property to help avoid bites, which can cause nausea, vomiting, and breathing difficulty in humans. If you’re bitten by a black widow, seek immediate medical attention.
Preventing Spiders in Your Home or Building
Spiders are a natural part of the ecosystem and play a large part in pest control, but it doesn’t mean you want them setting up shop in your home or business. Because spiders like quiet, dark spaces, it’s a great idea to keep your spaces clean and organized. Get rid of those stacks of cardboard boxes you’ve been saving — that’s prime real estate for spiders.
You’ll also want to seal up window sills and doors, which can also help make your home more energy-efficient as well. Spiders won’t be a problem if they can’t get in. Around the outside of your home, eliminate log piles, yard clippings, or weeds that can become insect hideout.
If you see a spider in your home, it’s very likely that there are hundreds more hiding in your walls, attic, or dark corners. When you call in a team of pest professionals for an inspection, they’ll check areas that spiders commonly live and help identify the spiders that may be causing a problem in your home or building. They’ll let you know the necessary steps to take to protect your family and your home.
Whatever the spider problem is, the pest professionals will exterminate spaces that are already infested, and prevent future infestations. It’s time to put an end to your spider problem. No more screaming or jumping in fear. No more feeling like you have something crawling on you in the dark. Our experts at PestShield are ready to eliminate your spider problem once and for all.