How To Identify And Get Rid Of Dangerous Spiders Around Your Houston Home
There's an old saying about the weather, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky in the morning, sailor take warning." If you watch the sky, you will notice this little ditty is usually true. Another sign of impending troublesome weather is a "lunar halo"; this ring around the moon is often a precursor to unsettled weather. Although we live in an era with radar and sophisticated satellite imagery that can identify cloud rotation, wind speed, and atmospheric instability, we still need to identify signs of coming weather.
Massive, black cumulonimbus or thunderhead clouds, an eerie calmness, a greenish-looking sky, and increased humidity alert us to dangerous conditions. When we see these indicators, we know to take shelter. In the same way, there are ways to determine if you have venomous spiders in your Houston home. You must learn to identify these potentially dangerous arachnids to keep you and your family safe.
Of course, the first step to protect your family from these creatures is to contact the Houston pest control team from Modern Pest Control. Since 1952, we have removed harmful spiders from Houston homes. Because our independent company has earned the coveted QualityPro designation by the pest control industry, you can know our trained and Texas Department of Agriculture licensed pest management professionals are the best in the business.
We watch weather broadcasts because we want the experts to teach us to discern the signs in the sky. In the same way, you are reading this article because you want pest control experts to give you information about dangerous spiders in the Houston area. We won't let you down, so please keep reading.
The Two Types Of Dangerous Spiders Found In Houston
Before we get into specifics, let's begin our education with general information so you can distinguish spiders from insects. Spiders and insects may appear similar, but there are significant differences. Classified scientifically as arachnids, spiders have eight jointed legs, but insects have only six. Both have eyes, but insects have simple and compound eyes, whereas spiders typically possess six or eight simple eyes arranged in two rows. Compound eyes consist of tightly packed light sensors, but simple eyes have a lens and a retina. Insects have antennae and wings, but spiders have neither.
A spider's body has a cephalothorax, the front part that houses its mouth, eyes, and legs, and an abdomen, the back section that contains the heart, guts, spinnerets, anus, and reproductive organs. On the other hand, an insect has three body parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen. Unlike some insects, spiders do not have a stinger but inject venom into their prey using fangs in their mouthparts, also known as chelicerae. It is worth noting that although spiders have two to eight spinnerets, not all build webs, and web construction and location vary between spider species.
Now that we know the difference between spiders and insects and have learned there are variations between spider species, let's focus on answering the question, what are the two venomous spiders in Texas? These are the two potentially dangerous spiders in the Houston area:
Black widow spiders
Brown recluse spiders
Black widow spiders are so-named because the females occasionally consume the males after mating, thus ending any potential for a long-term relationship. As their name suggests, these spiders have a jet-black, shiny 1 1/2 to 1 3/8-inch round body. The females have slightly larger bodies than the males. On the underside of the abdomen are two orangish-red triangles which meet to form an hourglass mark. Maturing black widow spiders do not yet have black bodies but are orange and white with one or two reddish streaks on the bottom of the abdomen.
Black widows build webs to catch flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, cockroaches, beetles, and other unlucky insects. They construct irregular and messy webs, which are about one foot in diameter, near ground level. Once a black widow completes its web trap, it hangs upside down for an unsuspecting insect to fly, jump, or walk into its snare. Once the prey gets entangled in the web, the spider pounces on the poor creature and inserts its fangs injecting it with venom. The venom paralyzes the insect enabling the spider to wrap it in silk. Black widows consume their victims using their cheliceral teeth. They also coat the deceased insect with a digestive enzyme that liquefies it enabling them to suck up the remaining parts.
Black widow spiders like to live in dry locations. Black widow spiders prefer barns, outhouses, sheds, and utility boxes but will hide under rocks, firewood piles, decks, and tree stumps. If black widows enter a Houston home, they gravitate to dimly lit, cluttered, undisturbed areas in the garage, crawl space, and basement.
The other venomous house spider is the brown recluse. The name tells us the color and behavior of this spider species. These spiders have 1/4 to 1/2-inch long, light to dark brown bodies. Like black widow spiders, they have a distinctive marking, but instead of an hourglass, they have what appears as a violin mark on the topside of the cephalothorax or front part of the body. Unlike the eight eyes of black widow and most other spider species, brown recluse spiders have six eyes arranged in three semi-circle groups of two.
Although they eat the same food as black widows, brown recluse spiders do not create webs to catch prey but use them as a retreat and to form egg sacs. Brown recluses prefer live insects, and when they secure their victims, the eating process is similar to black widows. Similarly, brown recluse spiders create webs in basements, crawl spaces, attics, and garages and prefer to live in undisturbed papers, clothing, shoes, and underneath tables and chairs.
Modern Pest Control is your solution for combating these dangerous spiders in Texas. We have seven decades of proven experience protecting families from harmful arachnids.
The Symptoms Of A Dangerous Spider's Bite
A bite by most spiders is mildly painful and produces no long-lasting results; however, a wound from a black widow or brown recluse spider is different. Before we discuss the symptoms, we want to note that neither spider species is aggressive. Contrary to their portrayal in movies and haunted houses, black widow and brown recluse spiders do not hunt humans. These spiders bite only when they feel threatened or if a female perceives a threat to her egg sac. A spider reacts only when squished, like if it is inside a shoe or clothing or when someone reaches a hand into an area where a spider's hiding area is.
If a black widow bites you, you may or may not experience immediate pain at the wound site; however, the pain will increase during the next one to three hours. The venom, which is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's, increases blood pressure, causes sweating and nausea, and produces abdominal pain. Fortunately, it has been over a decade since someone died from a black widow bite in the United States; however, you should seek medical treatment if bitten.
Although diminutive in size compared to a black widow, a bite from a brown recluse spider packs a powerful punch. When you squish a brown recluse, and it bites in self-defense, it injects venom producing a mild stinging sensation. Over the next eight hours, the wound site will grow red and swollen and develop a fluid-filled blister accompanied by intense pain. Other symptoms include fever, rash, and nausea. Eventually, the blister will slough off and leave a deep ulcer. If left untreated, the ulcer will grow and deepen to the bone. Another concern is that brown recluse spiders often live in groups, so it is not uncommon to experience more than one bite.
Modern Pest Control protects people against the painful effects of dangerous spiders. Our pest management professionals know where to find these spiders in Houston homes and how to eradicate them and their nests so you won't live in fear.
Factors That Attract Dangerous Spiders In And Around Your Home
Once Modern Pest Control removes these types of spiders in Texas from your Houston home, you want to do all you can to ensure they never return. This is a list of common elements which attract spiders to homes:
Let's briefly examine each one and discuss what to do to remove these enticements.
Both species live underneath stones, timber piles, junk, and overgrown vegetation. These areas provide shelter from birds and other predators and trap moisture. Removing debris, elevating wood piles, and pruning away overgrowth provide airflow and remove standing water in the yard. Spiders eat insects, and these elements also attract insects to the property; when insects arrive, spiders follow. Remove plant trays, old tires, baby pools, bird baths, buckets, etc., and any item that traps and holds water. Eliminate dead trees, wood scraps, and excessive landscaping stones to minimize shelter locations for insects and spiders. (by the way, removing wood scraps, dead trees, and rotting timber from your yard makes your property unattractive to swarming termites.)
You have probably noticed a few spider webs in the ceiling corners of the porch. Although these are not webs created by a black widow or brown spider recluse, they are present because incandescent lights attract bugs, which attract spiders. Replace bulbs with a bug or LED light and minimize use at night to reduce insect and spider attraction to your house.
Spiders are omnivores but prefer meat diets. Keep outdoor and indoor garbage containers closed, vacuum the house regularly, and suction cracks and crevices between the baseboard, walls, and carpet to remove crumbs and insect eggs. Wipe down cooking and eating surfaces. Maintaining a clean house deters insects from staying, which reduces spider attraction.
Like all living creatures, spiders need water to survive. Repair leaking faucets, pipes, and drains in the crawl space, basement, kitchen, and bathroom to avoid attracting spiders, rodents, and insects. Install a dehumidifier in the crawl space and basement if necessary.
As previously stated, brown recluses and black widow spiders prefer dark, undisturbed, cluttered areas in the house. Store seldom-used clothing and shoes in airtight containers, and eliminate unused papers, boxes, and other items in the garage, attic, and basement. When working in areas where these spiders tend to reside, wear protective clothing and gloves to avoid bites.
When a pest management professional from Modern Pest Control investigates your Houston home for these spiders in Houston, we can identify additional spider attractants in your home and on your property that you can remove to avoid a future infestation.
The Safest Way To Get Rid Of Dangerous Spiders Around Your Home
Tackling the spider problem in your Houston home is not simply killing a spider when you see it. To successfully remove the spiders from your Houston home, you need to eliminate the egg sacs and the spiders. If you are not careful and protected, you expose yourself to potentially dangerous conditions when you search in dark places throughout the home.
The best way to get rid of spiders in the house is to use the pest management professionals from Modern Pest Control. When you contact us and explain your concerns, we will send a licensed pest management professional to assess the interior and exterior of your property. We will search for attractants, entry points, and hot spots. When we complete your free, no-obligation inspection, we will create a strategic plan using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions. This approach targets the problematic pest, uses minimal amounts of environmentally-conscious products, and focuses on future prevention. Our pest management professional will discuss ways to keep spiders out of your home and how to address entry points into the house.
Contact us today to learn about our service plans and guarantee and to schedule a free, no-obligation inspection. Don't chance a bite from a spider inside your clothing or shoes or from one tucked behind a box in the garage. Take care of your spider problem today and call Modern Pest Control to solve your spider problem.