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Spider invasion! More than just a nightmare

News 02-12-2015

At the end of November 2015, spiders have overrun a suburban neighborhood in North Memphis, Tennessee. Millions of arachnids suddenly appeared, building nests in trees and bushes along the road and in fields. Residents reported the little critters have also invaded their houses.

Spiders aren’t usually the type of insect to intentionally make their presence known to humans as they generally tend to keep to themselves, emerging from the dark on rare occasions. As can be imagined, it was a huge shock to residents of a small town in Tennessee when millions of spiders overran the suburb last weekend, creating webs and nests on the side of the road, in bushes and trees. News footage showed a half mile long silvery web along the roadside, which upon closer inspection was filled with spiders.

Residents have claimed that the spiders are everywhere and unfortunately for them, the efforts to remove the spiders, is proving to be a very slow process. Experts have said that America has few poisonous spiders and the spiders that are poisonous usually don’t travel in large numbers, so the influx of spiders in this suburb will not harm residents.

Gary Stephenson, Flick Anticimex Pacific Region Technical Manager stated, “Spasmodic spider infestations like this are unusual but do happen from time to time in many countries including Australia.  It is usually the result of floods or fires whereby legions of spiders are driven out of an area and thus deprived of adequate space for the spider population to share the limited area remaining at sustainable spider numbers, hence the concentration of webbing and spiders. When the numbers increase way out of proportion to the available prey, the spiders can become cannibalistic.”

Similar events have also occurred in Australia and the most recent one was surprisingly quite recently. Earlier this year in May, residents of Goulburn in NSW reported that it was “raining spiders” which lasted for approximately 30 minutes. One resident stated that it looked like his house had been abandoned and taken over by spiders. Another expert on the subject has reported that spiders climb onto vegetation and release what looks like a stream of silk that catches on the breeze and carries the spider aloft, spiders can travel this way for up to 3 kilometres. When many numbers do this at the same time, it can look like it is “raining spiders”.

With summer around the corner, there will be an increase in spider sightings and spider activity. Living in Australia, with many different types of poisonous spiders that make their home here, it is important to be aware of the best prevention methods to avoid spiders entering your business or home.

There are three main ‘groups’ of spiders from a control point of view, these are webbing spiders (eg: red backs and black house spiders) free range / wandering spiders (eg: wolf spiders, white tailed and huntsman) and ground dwelling spiders (eg: funnel webs, trapdoors, mouse spiders). Controlling web building spiders is easier than controlling wandering or ground dwelling spiders but the use of several preventative measures will reduce spider sightings. 

Some preventative measures you can take are: making sure garden beds are kept away from the edge of the house, keeping shoes off the ground to reduce hiding places, spraying around doors, windows and vents and spraying any webs you see with an insecticide.

Spiders are very interesting insects with many surprising habits and ways of living. However as interesting as they are we don’t want them hanging around our homes or businesses, so if you are experiencing spider problems in your home or business make sure to give Flick a call on 13 14 40 for a free quote to get your pest problems under control!

Updated: 13-05-2016

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