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GardenSMART :: Spring has Sprung... And So Have the Spiders!

Spring has Sprung... And So Have the Spiders!

By Amanda Klein, Northwest Technical Specialist, Entomology and Regulatory Services, Terminix International
Photographs courtesy of Terminix

Welcome, Spring! The season for blooming flowers, green grass, leafing trees, and… spiders? Yes, as the warmer weather allows for the abundant growth of our backyard gardens, it also is the signal all the insects have been waiting for! Time to dine and prosper. And with insects around, a spider is never far away. In fact, studies suggest that in one square meter of your garden you may find more than 130 spiders of various species!

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Orb weaver - Araneus gemmoides

Spiders are a vital part of a healthy ecosystem. They serve as a valuable food source for beloved backyard mammals and birds, they pollinate plants, and they eat harmful insects like mosquitos and many plant pests. Spiders consume more insects than bats and birds combined. They are extremely adaptable to their environment, which is why we tend to find them in such great numbers and why spiders are one of the most common structural pests in the United States.

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Grass Spider - Agelenopsis sp.

Spiders are probably the most misunderstood and feared creatures we find in and around our homes. In most cases, simply not knowing enough about them makes us feel helpless in protecting our homes from invasion. Familiarizing ourselves with spiders we most commonly see around the home is the first step in knowing how to keep them out!

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Common House Spider -
Parasteatoda tepidariorum

Web building spiders will construct their homes around areas where flying insects are most common, such as a light source or flowering plant. Most frequently encountered are the orb weavers, grass spiders, and appropriately named, common house spiders. These spiders tend to remain in one place and can easily be removed, relocated, or discouraged from entering the home.

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Daring Jumping Spider -
Phidippus audax

Wandering spiders are the most common offender of home invasion, as they actively seek roaming insects and can end up chasing a food source into a crack or crevice, which happens to be a part of your home. Among this group are jumping spiders, woodlouse spiders, and wolf spiders. These spiders will seek refuge from elements more readily than web dwelling spiders, and we often find them in homes after significant moisture or heat fluctuations.

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Woodlouse Spider – Dysdera crocata

Here are some suggestions on how to prevent these critters from finding their way into your space:

  • Change out bright exterior lights. Sodium vapor bulbs attract less insects and are less favorable to spiders.
  • Seal gaps around windows and pipes, and screen your vents.
  • Install door sweeps, especially ground level entryways, so insects and spiders are less likely to enter.
  • Move flowering plants further from home entrances to reduce the number of pests present.
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Wolf Spider – Arctosa sp.

Spiders often incidentally find their way indoors and don’t bite unless they feel threatened. Even so, most people probably prefer these fanged friends remain outdoors. Keeping spiders away can become an ongoing battle as summer approaches and spiders become more actively abundant; therefore finding the right pest solution is critical to long-term success. For more information on how to equip your home against specific pests in your area, contact Terminix.


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