Brief cold snap sends black widow spiders inside homes

Spiders aren't fond of cold weather, either.

It's that time of year, when you may notice some unwanted guests inside your home.
 
Chris Ketchum is with Advantage Pest Control.  He's says most creatures want to stay warm, things like rodents, roaches and maybe scariest of all... spiders.
 
"They're pulling those boxes out getting those Christmas decorations out, so spiders may have made a home in one of those boxes and as they're pulling things out they don't see it," said Ketchum.  "Especially with long sleeves, it would be easy for a spider to sneak up here unnoticed and then later bite you!"
 
The widow spider is common here in Florida.  You just have to know where to look.
 
"Typical areas where we'll see spiders, especially with covered porches like this, you'll see them," he said.  "Look, you can see there's a few little webs here where spiders have lived in the past. They'll make their way up here in the corners of the windows.  People who have defined window sills -- like the concrete window sills -- black widows and brown widows love to make their webs and nests right up under there."
 
Ketchum says he sees a widow spider at probably 80 percent of the homes he treats.  I asked him how to tell if you have black or brown widows around your home.
 
"Their egg sacs. You know their egg sacs are unique in that they are round balls and they have spikes on them like you see in the old cartoons -- the old mines."
 
He says each egg sac can hold upwards of 400 spiders and a black widow can lay 18 egg sacs in her life.
 
Another unique sign of a black widow is her web. "It's not that real artsy spider web we've become accustomed to seeing in our gardens with our garden variety spiders. They're pretty messy, dirty, they don't do a very good job of cleaning house. You'll find the remnants of their last meals from the last month."
 
But it's not just black widows you have to worry about, Ketchum says they get a lot of calls about spiders in general. "If you have spiders in on or around your home, you've got an underlying issue; so ants, cockroaches, maybe sod webworms -- things of that nature that they're eating."
 
That's where the professionals like Ketchum come in. If you see a spider in your home and want to get rid of it, grab the vacuum.  However, once you suck it up, empty the bag and take it out to the trash.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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