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Spider season is underway

Spider season is underway


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Entomologists say we're right at the beginning of spider mating season and males are on the prowl.

Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab Insect Diagnostician Ryan Davis says, "Between the end of August and early October, hobo spiders especially are a common one that can be found migrating into homes."

The hobo spider seems to dominate the overall spider population in Utah. Luckily, Davis says the hobo isn't dangerous.


Laying down a perimeter of pesticide is not the best way to deal with spiders.

Davis says many people, including people who work in pest control, confuse the hobo spider with the brown recluse spider that has a bite that could cause necrotic lesions in the skin. But new research suggests that the hobo doesn't have the same kind of venom the brown recluse does.

Still, even if it's not poisonous, most people wouldn't want them in their home. So what is the best way to keep the bugs at bay? As tempted as you may be to break out the bug spray, laying down a perimeter of pesticide is not the best way to deal with spiders.

"Spiders seldom come in contact with the chemical long enough for it to have a lethal effect on them," Davis says.

Besides, Davis says the legs of a spider are much longer so the poison stays away from most of the spider's body.

If you want to keep spiders out, one of the most important tools you'll need is silicone caulk.

"Go around the exterior of the house and look for cracks and possible entryways into the house for a spider. For a hobo spider, that can be something just a few millimeters wide," he says.

Make sure you pay close attention to the garage door, where the seal into your home isn't air tight. Davis says stop moldings can go a long way to keep bugs out.

What if the creepy little guys are already in your home? Sticky traps work very well.

"Hobo spiders, in particular, are not very well suited for climbing walls, so they tend to run along the baseboards where you can put sticky traps," he says.

Keep in mind, just because they're not good at climbing up walls, that doesn't mean they can't do it at all. Slick surfaces are trickier for the hobo, but Davis says they can climb up carpeted stairs and up bed skirts quite easily.

Many spider bites happen in bed, so he recommends people take off their bed skirts during spider season, and that they move their beds away from the wall by six to eight inches. Hobos also like to hide in piles of clothes. So keeping the house clean can deny these spiders of some of their favorite hiding places.

Of course, there are other spiders that may be a bigger concern to some people. Davis says the black widow still has the most dangerous bite. Luckily, they mostly don't come inside homes. They are attracted to other insects. So Davis recommends people change their white outdoor lights to a yellow, sulfur color which attracts fewer flying insects, thereby attracting fewer black widows.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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