If there is one pest that represents fall and Halloween, it’s the spider. You can’t go trick or treating in any neighborhood across California and not encounter a fake spider dangling from a porch, or costumed trick or treaters wearing plastic spider rings.
The reality is that fall is a high season for real-life spiders in and around homes. Spiders reach maturity during the fall months, and the wet conditions from this past winter’s rains and snows allowed for greater plant growth and provided spiders with an abundance of insects to feast upon.
And while spiders are beneficial to our environment, because they hunt and eat other less desirable insects, certain species of spiders can present a threat to people who unknowingly cross their paths.
One such species is the brown widow spider, which is slowly making its way up California with sightings as far north as Modesto, according to Ryan Neff, director of education for Clark Pest Control.
Spiders, including the brown widow, typically nest in areas that are not frequented by human activity. Popular spider hangouts include stacks of old newspapers, cardboard storage boxes (spiders like to hide under the folded flaps), rolled-up rugs, and infrequently used clothes and shoes in attics, closets, and crawlspaces.
Outdoors, brown widow spiders can be found under rocks and landscape features, as well as in the dark corners of sheds and garages.
“Brown widow spiders can nest in many locations in and around homes, and they can reproduce quickly,” says Neff. “They can inflict a painful bite, but will rarely do so unless their nest is disturbed.”
Even though most homeowners will never encounter or experience a brown widow bite, there are several things they can do to reduce a potentially unpleasant and unwanted encounter with an arachnid in their home:
- Remove clutter and debris inside and outside your home, including storage boxes, old newspapers, woodpiles, scrap lumber, and other potential hiding places.
- Inspect items taken from storage closely, and give them a good shake outdoors to dislodge spiders or other pests. And when removing items from storage, be sure to wear a pair of heavy work gloves.
- Store off-season or occasionally used items (garden gloves, boots, athletic shoes, baseball mitts, camping gear, sleeping bags, etc.) in tightly closed containers to deny spiders access.
- Seal cracks and crevices around doors, windows, and access holes for electrical conduits or plumbing, as well as on the foundation.
If you are experiencing a problem with spiders, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at email@example.com.