By Dr. Dina Richman, Development Manager
There are more than 2,000 species of spiders commonly found in the United States, but only a few indigenous species cause harm, including the black widow and brown recluse. Despite their usually harmless nature, the stigma and fright caused by spiders mean that control is an important service provided by the pest management industry.
Consider the following questions, to offer customers an integrated approach to spider control:
• What species is involved? If the target pest is one that inflicts poisonous bites, ensure that technicians are suitably protected from contact with the adult spiders. Any control products should be non-repellent to avoid exacerbating the problem by causing dispersal of infestations.
• What is the true source of the problem? Often, spider webs in the occupied areas of a home or office are merely the tip of the infestation iceberg. Make sure that basements, crawlspaces and unused storage areas are inspected to evaluate the true extent of the infestation.
• Why are spiders present? Spiders are predators feeding on other arthropods. Often, their presence is an indication of other pest problems. Eliminating conditions conducive to these pests will lead to more sustainable control of spiders.
• Can physical control be used to achieve effective results? Sometimes feather dusters or vacuum cleaners are good first steps in control. Although the use of appropriately registered insecticides is useful to extend the effective control period, they should always be combined with non-chemical approaches to support an integrated pest management (IPM) approach.