One of the most commonly associated symbols of the fall season is the spider. These eight-legged crawlers even get their own spooky holiday on Halloween!
For Gilbert, Arizona homeowners, however, spiders are not restricted to the drop-down versions that hang from terraces or front porches on Halloween, or dangle upon glow-in-the-dark webbing across the bushes in October.
Web-spinning spiders can be found in many locations in and around a home. And while spiders are quite beneficial to our ecosystem – they eat unwanted insect pests – they are creepy and can be quite a nuisance for those who share the very common arachnophobia.
There are about 13 (lucky number 13) recluse spider species throughout the nation, and many of those species reside right here in the dessert of Arizona. We are quite use to the brown spiders, the hairy spiders, the large and small spiders, the more dangerous spiders like the Black Widow Spider, and the creepy but non-venomous Wolf Spider, and the long-legged cellar spider (sometimes called the “daddy long-legs” spider).
Web-spinning spiders do not pose a threat to humans, but they are quite lethal to the unsuspecting prey that fly, fall, or are blown into the concentric circles that make up their webs.
Spider webs – often regarded as one of the strongest natural fabrics, and can be built and rebuilt overnight – are half as strong as a steel thread of the same thickness and more elastic. Spider webs are found in garages, carports, eaves, attics, sheds, around windows, and other places around your home.
How can you prevent spiders from becoming a nuisance around your home? Check out these tips:
- Eliminate clutter: Spiders seek out secluded, undisturbed areas where they can build a web to catch their next meal. Attics, crawl spaces and storage sheds are prime locations. Keep these areas clean and free from clutter, and seal boxes with tape to prevent spiders from climbing inside.
- Suck and sweep spiders away: Vacuum or sweep windows, corners of rooms, storage areas, basements, and other seldom-used areas regularly to remove spiders and their webs. A spider’s soft body will not survive this process.
- Wash clothing: Avoid leaving clothing and shoes on the floor, and consider storing them inside plastic containers in the off-season. Shake out all clothing that has been in a hamper before wearing or washing. Wear gloves when going through boxes or when removing items from storage areas.
- Seal cracks and crevices: Spiders can crawl into homes through damaged window screens or cracks in the siding. The exterior of homes should be inspected for these defects seasonally, as weather and changes in temperature can cause or worsen existing problems.
- Inspect packages and boxes: Inspect such items as boxes of decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Plants and firewood also can provide modes of transportation for spiders.
- Maintain your landscape: Outdoors, you can eliminate spider hiding places and web-building areas by keeping your yard free of trash, leaf litter, and overgrown vegetation. Make sure to trim shrubs and plants near the house and other structures to discourage spiders from establishing a foothold.
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