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Spiders in New Hampshire

By Chris Williams on April 4, 2017.

Spiders are part of life; we have all seen their webs.  Most people can tolerate the sight of spiders, regarding them as simply other animals in the world. Other folks are not so sure and become nervous or scared when spiders are present.  Very few of us have actually had negative encounters with spiders. In fact, with the exception of about 4-5 species, most spiders rarely if ever interact with humans in a negative way.  Although most spiders are capable of biting humans, most of the venoms are relatively weak.  A spider bite in most cases results in a brief  stinging sensation where the two fangs puncture the skin, followed bye local itching, swelling, and discomfort. Every person reacts differently to foreign enzymes and toxins in the body, so the reaction can vary widely as well. Although the notorious Black Widow and her musician accomplice, the Brown Recluse or Violin Spider

have been identified in New Hampshire, very few are actually encountered.  Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders are predominately denizens more Southern states, say Arkansas.  Tarantulas are only found in captivity in our state.  All of the other spiders that could bite are actually harmless!  According the Web Site: Spiders. Us, we have more than 28 Species of spiders that live in New Hampshire!  Spiders have a vide variation within species and can be quite remarkable to watch in action.  Spinning a web, catching a fly from mid-air, jumping between rocks in the garden, and many activities that are more fascinating can be seen if one only looks in the back yard.

Spiders get around and do travel. Young spiders disperse after hatching, ending up in just the right spot to catch their preferred prey.  The majority of spiders in New Hampshire are quite happy to be outside in fields, the forest, woodpiles, bushes, trees, and shrubs.  If you can think of a habitat, a spider lives there.  We have spiders that can catch small fish while under water!  Spiders form a vital part of the ecosystem as predators, many spiders feed on other spiders!  Humans live in the ecosystem.  Our homes present a form of habitat that certain spiders may and do take advantage of. Roving hunters such as wolf spiders, jumping spiders, and sack spiders can not only gain access through small cracks and openings in windows, foundations, rooflines, and doors(etc.),  the tiny nymphal   spiderlings can actually go through most screens!  These occasional invaders can hunt for prey within a structure. Large numbers of these types of spiders may indicate an opening at ground level, or be the result of large  prey populations within the home.  Many species of spiders can be found inside a home but most will not thrive.  Three species of note do seem to prefer our company, but do not be alarmed they are harmless.  Number one on the list is the Common House spider (for the purposes of this discussion I will use the common names of the spiders), you know this one!  Little rounded body with long legs, messy web filled with flies and gnats, all around the back door lights, garage windows, cellar windows, under the hutch.  These spiders can show up anywhere but prefer high traffic areas, places where lots of food is.  They set up tangle webs, wrapping up and biting the prey.  Often egg cases will be hanging in the webs along with many dead insects.  Fecal drops from this spider will fall below the web, and may be hard to remove.  Number two on the list of spiders who will gladly live inside is the Cobweb spider, often called “Daddy Longlegs”.  These relatively large spiders have a tiny body with long legs, the front legs are very long, making the spider appear larger than it is.  The long legs help this fragile hunter wrap up prey a safe distance from the other legs and body. Cobweb spiders prefer darker areas, quiet corners, basements, crawl spaces, and places where people seldom go.  The webs are expansive masses of dusty debris, often littered with decaying bodies of the dead spiders past.  A fungus will attack the dead Cobweb spiders and the bodies turn a ghostly white, and appear fuzzy, yuck!  Basements or spaces with low light and activity seem to attract this spider.  This spider never bites humans and should not be feared.  Number three on the list is the Long Legged Sac spider.  An agile hunter, this species prefers living indoors.  Long Legged Sac spiders are largely nocturnal and are roving hunters.  Outside in summer, they hunt in bushes, trees, all over the outside of the house.  Once inside the population may remain quite happily all winter.  During the day Sac spiders rest in a small silken sanctuary, typically at the junction of ceiling and wall, behind pictures or curtains would do as well.  At night, Sac spiders run around searching for prey.  Wherever they go, they attach a drop line, like a mountaineer, in case they have to jump away.   Have you ever walked through a room and thought?

”I just walked through a spider web!”  Well, guess what?  You did walk through a spider drop line!  This spider will feed on anything it can catch and bite.  Due to the front facing fangs on this roving hunter, Sac spiders have been implicated in most spider bite incidents in New Hampshire, although it is nearly impossible to tell which actual species is responsible for a bite unless the actual spider is captured and identified.

Reducing spider populations is less complicated than one might think; it just takes some thought and action.  Using an Integrated approach will give the best results and use the least pesticides.  If we consider what spiders are doing, we can move shrubs, bushes, trees farther from the structure, creating a buffer zone of less hospitable habitat.  Tight fitting screens and door sweeps will also reduce invaders.  Re-directing lighting that shines directly on or near the structure, and limiting exterior lighting in summer months when gnats and other insects attracted to lights are in great numbers will also reduce spiders.  From a Pest Control standpoint, routine exterior treatments, ideally preceded by a good power wash to remove old webs will really help.  If you only spray, the webs and dead insects along with debris lodged in the webs remains visible and unsightly.  Even good pest control will not clean a house!  Spider populations inside structures can be controlled through a variety of methods, starting with good cleaning.  A shop vacuum in the cellar can suck up hundreds of spiders while removing those dusty webs!  Upstairs the crack and crevice nozzle is perfect for pulling spiders out of corners and ripping up those annoying   drop lines and cobwebs, all the while picking up dust and debris! At Colonial Pest Control Inc.  we try our best to advise and make effective treatments to  manage spiders and other pests. We offer a full range of maintenance and one time treatments, customized to each individual pest situation.  If you  think you have a spider or other pest problem, the first step is to contact the Professionals at Colonial Pest Control Inc..  We also handle rodents and wildlife issues including bats, and full exclusion work!

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Photo Credit : By Noah J MuellerOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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