PEST LIBRARY / SPIDERS
Spiders are ancient animals with a history going back millions of years. They have always been with us, an ancient source of fear and fascination. They are abundant and widespread throughout Ontario.
Their numbers in cottage country or waterfront properties can be astounding, particularly on the exterior. Wherever you are you are always close to a spider.
For the most part, spiders are harmless and generally beneficial by keeping the insect populations in check. Spiders are seldom aggressive and bite only when threatened or injured. Few spiders bite people and the venom of most is harmless. However, the bite of the black widow and the brown recluse can be quite dangerous. If spiders become a pest there are safe solutions for controlling them. Properties and structures near water tend to have more severe problems.
Spiders are the largest group of arachnids. There are more than 35,000 named species worldwide, including about 3,000 in North America, but probably most spider species are still awaiting identification.
These predators live almost everywhere – on the ground, under rocks, inside and underneath playground equipment, among grasses, on plants, in tree branches, in underground caves and even on the water. Spiders frequently stray into dwellings or other indoor habitats, or may be accidentally introduced on firewood, laundry that has been hung out to dry, and on flowers. Spiders will also sneak into our homes in boxes, clothing or furniture. In windows and near outdoor lighting, web-building spiders often construct webs because insect prey may be attracted at night by the lights and by air currents.
Spiders are easily recognized by the 4 pairs of seven segmented legs and (like all arachnids) have a cephalothorax and abdomen. But unlike scorpions, mites and daddy-long-legs, the cephalothorax and abdomen of the spider are separated by a visible waist or pedicel. The top of the cephalothorax is protected by a shield-like covering called the carapace.
Most species have 8 simple eyes, although some have less and a few species have none. Often the number and arrangement of eyes are important in identifying the different families.
Not all spiders spin webs. Some live in burrows, which they line with silk, while others have no retreat at all. All young spiders and some adult males release long silken strands, which they use like a parachute to ride the wind to other areas. This process is called ballooning.
Most spiders lay their eggs in silken egg sacs that are placed in the web, attached to leaves or twigs, or carried around by the spider until the eggs hatch. Spiderlings (as the young are sometimes called) resemble adults and are often cannibalistic. All spiders are predators and most feed on insects, although a few large species prey on small vertebrate animals.
Environmental Pest Control offers cottage living services that include spider control programs, prevention and treatment programs.
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