Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Giving the Cold Shoulder to Indoor Pests

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

The mornings and evenings have been a bit brisker lately and with that briskness I’ve seen a few more insects and spiders trying to make their way into our home.  This is a common thing as they are trying to escape the cold and survive.  One of the spiders you might find in your home, at least with more prevalence right now, is the hobo spider, otherwise known as the aggressive house spider.
Photo courtesy of Utah State University
Spiders, while not my favorite thing (and I’m a bug guy!) often cause unnecessary concern among people.  There are a few things to keep in mind if you do find a spider inside.  First, spider bites are rare.  Generally, their fangs are small and lack the musculature to pierce the human skin.  They typically only bite if threatened or if trapped in clothing, shoes, etc.

There is also no conclusive evidence that hobo spider venom causes necrosis in humans; and a large body of scientific research that proves it does not.  The most common cause for necrotic lesions (wounds not healing) in the West is a bacterial infection called MRSA.  MRSA and other bacteria can enter the body through punctures which could include a spider bite, as well as many other more likely wounds.  If a wound from any bite or scratch becomes inflamed, or if soreness persists, medical care should be sought as secondary infection that enters the body through the wound may need to be treated.
As far as keeping spiders and insects out of your home at this time of year, there are a few things you can do.  First, check your screens and doors for tight fitting seals and no holes.  If there is a hole in your window or door screens they will find it.  Also, keep shrubs, trees branches, wood piles and other outside debris away from your home.  These are havens and homes for insects and spiders so as you clean up around the yard you also diminish future infestations of insects and spiders coming inside. 

If you want to prevent having to prepare eviction notices to all these little creepy-crawlies when they enter your home you can also spray for them around the perimeter of your home.  There are several sprays out there at most hardware or home and garden stores that should do the trick for you. 

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