Spiders

Learn information about spiders in Houston.

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Spiders in Houston

Spiders in Houston play an important role as a predator to keep insect populations in check, and their presence may indicate that the real problem is an infestation of a food source. Most spiders prefer to live in out-of-the-way areas and are usually not seen.

Video: Black Widow Crawling On Hand

Much hype has been created about spiders, to the extent that many people are terrified of all spiders. Because of their ominous appearance they have been talked about and written about throughout recorded history.

Spider Bites

While all spider bites are poisonous to a certain degree, there are only 2 species in Houston and Texas that are considered life threatening: the Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) and the Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa). There are many spiders that are so tiny that they are unable to bite people and they feed on prey such as dust mites. More information in spider bites.

Spiders kill their prey with venom injected from their fangs, however, they cannot eat solid food. The spiders inject enzymes into their prey to pre-digest the contents and then the spider sucks out the digested food. All spiders need some form of water or moisture but can go for months without food.

First, most spiders can bite, but bites are limited to 2 small wounds that can be itchy and red with no other ill effects.

Second, there are only 2 spiders found in the Houston and Texas area that can be life threatening – The Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) and the Brown Recluse (Loxosceles recluse). The Black Widow can be identified by its shiny globular shaped abdomen with the characteristic reddish-orange hour glass marking on the underside. The good news about these spiders is that they prefer to live in out-of-the-way areas that are not usually frequented by humans (attics, eaves, crawl spaces etc.).

The typical way people have identified the Brown Recluse is by the violin shaped marking on the cephalathorax, however, there are several species of spider that have markings similar to the violin marking that are not the Brown Recluse. The true Brown Recluse spiders have 6 eyes, the other of those spiders have 8 eyes.

Video: Brown Recluse In Action

Also, there has been a lot of disinformation about the Brown Recluse. First, people can live in and around Brown Recluse spiders and never get bitten. One house in Missouri was found to have over 1200 Brown Recluse spiders and yet no one had ever received a bite. Secondly, the Brown Recluse spider bite is usually self limiting, does not develop into necrosis in 90% of the cases and often heals without medication. Many other arthropod borne disease are far more dangerous than Brown Recluse bites. For those people who are allergic to their bites, the results can be startling, including tissue necrosis and secondary infections.

Spider Types

There are about 35,000 species of spiders worldwide, which means it is difficult to find a spider and look at it and tell what it is unless you are somewhat of an expert on spiders or you have a microscope and good spider key to properly identify it. They can be found from the tropics to the Arctic, above the ground or deep underground, above water and beneath and 5,000 feet in the air.

Spiders are arthropods ( learn what are arthropods ), which means they have an exoskeleton and jointed appendages. They are in the same class as mites, ticks and scorpions. Spiders are arthropods that belong to the class Arachnida and the Order Araneae. They are differentiated from other arthropods in that they have 2 body regions (cephalathorax and the abdomen) and 8 legs. The first body region is called the cephalathorax (a fused head and thorax) and it contains 2 jaws, 2 palps and 8 or fewer eyes. The second body region is called the abdomen and is joined to the cephalathorax by a narrow waist called a pedicel. The abdomen is without segmentation to which 8 legs are attached.

Spiders can be basically grouped into 2 types based upon their habits: those that spin webs (Telarian) to catch their prey and live on or near the webbing and those that live without webs and overtake their prey (Hunting spiders). Telarian spiders include Orb Weavers, that make beautiful webs, funnel web spiders, and sheet making spiders. Other web makers usually make indistinct webs.

Many hunting spiders (Mygolamorphs) are ominous in appearance such as the Wolf spiders and the Tarantulas, but their bite is less harmful than a bee sting. However some people may be allergic to spider bites and will have a severe reaction. Hunting spiders include Wolf spiders, Tarantulas, Spitting Spiders, Crab Spiders, Grass Spiders and Jumping Spiders.

Life Cycle

After the male fertilizes the female, she begins to lay eggs. Some species will tuck the eggs away in safe areas while some species will carry the egg sacs with them. Spiders can produce anywhere from 2 to 3,000 eggs, depending upon the species. Most average about 100 eggs. Young spiderlings emerge from eggs and remain together for several days before dispersing. Most spiders mature within one year after going through several molts. Spiders can only reproduce in the adult stage, but venomous spiders can produce venom before becoming adults.

Spider Control Services

Read more about Spider Control services we provide. Gulf Coast Exterminators know how to get rid of brown recluse spiders and how to get rid of black widows. Contact us us for all your spider control / spider removal needs.

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