Florida’s warm and humid climate means the state serves as the home for a number of insects, including many varieties of spiders. In some cases, spiders can be beneficial to have around. However, some types present a danger to humans and small animals. Spider bodies, by definition, include two body segments and four pairs of legs - making eight total. Unlike other pests, like cockroaches, spiders do not have antennae.
From there, different species of spiders vary greatly in both appearance and the level of danger they present. On the harmless side, daddy long legs are a common houseguest in Florida homes. Despite their eight legs, these aren’t true spiders. They cannot spin webs and only have one body segment. Daddy long legs are often referred to as Harvestmen, due to their apparent annual appearance in autumn. During these few months, daddy long legs collect in swarms and move as one big mass alongside structures. The insects don’t bite and are actually good to have around as they feed on other common household pests. However, discovering more than the occasional one in the home can be a sign of an issue.
Two of the most feared types of spiders are the brown recluse and black widow. Brown recluses are not that common, and often suspected sightings of them are actually other non-harmful spider varieties. Nicknames for brown recluses include fiddlebacks, due to the violin-shaped marking on their bodies. These are venomous pests, but not aggressive. They prefer to hide away from potential threats. Outside, this may include under rocks in landscaping, but inside, they most often appear in storage areas or other low-traffic spaces. A bite from a brown recluse is rare, but in an instance where they feel threatened - may happen. Often, the reaction to those bites is mild. However, in certain cases, the spider’s venom causes serious skin damage or other negative health implications.
Black widows are also venomous, but generally don't bite humans unless provoked or attacked. They are known to build chaotic, irregularly shaped webs. Despite the name, black widows can be either black or dark brown, with only the females bearing the iconic red hourglass on their abdomen. Bites from a black widow can be extremely painful and can trigger a number of health issues, including fever and nausea.
Tarantulas are extremely rare in Florida as they are not native to the region. Those that have made their way here over the years aren’t aggressive or dangerous. It’s more common to run into a wolf spider, which is equally as frightening to look at. Unlike most other spiders, wolf spiders don’t rely on their webs to catch prey. They actively hunt other spiders and small insects but don’t often bite humans. In the rare occasion of a wolf spider bite, side effects are generally mild - although the bite itself can be painful.
The largest spider found in Florida is a type of huntsman spider, with leg spans on some females stretching up to 5 inches (12 cm). Like wolf spiders, they don’t spin webs as they actively hunt their prey rather than trapping it. Most active at night, huntsman spiders tend to stick to hunting prey rather than bothering humans. Bites can be painful but are rare and not overly dangerous.
A reasonable amount of spiders living in or around your home isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many spiders eat other household pests, preventing infestations. However, when spider populations escalate, it’s time to call in a professional pest expert. At Knockout Pest Control, we handle all pest issues the same way. Our method begins with a thorough inspection of the issue, including identifying potential entry points. From there, our experts consult with building owners to develop a mitigation plan that will resolve the issue. Lastly, we implement that plan and eliminate the infestation.
For those without an existing spider issue, there are still preventative measures you can take to prevent spiders from becoming an issue in the future. Keep trees and shrubs surrounding the home trimmed away from the building’s exterior. Avoid storing a great deal of clutter, and clean or remove any visible spider webs as soon as they are noticed. As with all other household pests, some of the best prevention comes from general cleanliness and regular pest inspections. Securing a team of local pest control experts for ongoing inspections is a smart idea for all home and business owners. These regular inspections combined with preventative treatments help to best limit any issues or identify them early enough to implement a solution before they escalate.
If you’ve got a potential active spider infestation, are dealing with any other household pests, or just want to be more proactive in keeping your home pest-free, then it is time to contact Knockout Pest Control!
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