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Homeowner's guide to spider control and spider bites [infographic]

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Updated: 1/17/2013 10:15 am

Nobody enjoys seeing bugs in their homes, but none get a bigger reaction than spiders. Spiders are not insects, but arachnids, more closely related to scorpions, ticks, and mites. However creepy they seem, spiders are generally very beneficial since they keep insect populations under control indoors and outdoors. Even so, these creatures are unwelcome indoors and it is not difficult to keep them, and other insects, out of your home.

Knowing more about spiders can help ease your fears and allow you to get rid of them safely. Not all spiders behave the same way. Some spiders can jump, some are very fast moving, and some are expert climbers. Some spiders actively hunt their prey, leaving the shelter of their webs, while others rely on their webs for to trap prey. Many people believe that spiders are aggressive, but they will only bite if trapped close to the skin or if they feel threatened. The majority of all spiders are virtually harmless to people, but brown recluse and black widow spiders are two spiders of medical significance, both producing potentially dangerous affects; these spiders are shy and found in very secluded places.

See this graphic for more information on spider bites, including identification and treatment information:

The easiest and most practical means of spider control is exclusion and good sanitation. Follow these steps to keep your home spider-free:

* Seal all cracks around windows, doors and foundations. Ensure that all screens are in good repair, and use good exclusion materials like caulk and foam, or even fine mesh or hardware cloth.

* Outdoors, keep yard free of piles of debris, long grass or weeds, and any other potential hiding spots that would make good shelter to spiders. Spiders love to live in woodpiles, so make sure you store your wood away from your home and keep it off the ground.

* Thick vegetation near a home can make good shelter for all types of insects, which in turn makes a great place for spiders to hang out. Keeping these trimmed and away from the structure can minimize the insects and spiders entering your home.

* Indoors, spiders often seek out secluded areas, like basements, storage spaces, closets and attics. It is really important to keep these areas free of clutter and clean up webs often. Vacuuming existing spiders and webs will discourage the establishment of more webs by frequently disturbing their environment.

If sanitation and maintenance isn't enough to control your spider population, you can choose to use products designed for spider control.

* Spiders are more difficult to control with chemicals because they do not groom themselves like other insects. However, some products do affect spiders, while controlling other insect populations. The reduced insect population will encourage spiders to find better hunting grounds.

* Pyrethroid-based insecticides with residual effects can help keep spiders away. Apply outdoors around the house and indoors where spiders are often seen. This will discourage spiders from establishing residence in these areas.

* Traps, like glue boards, can be placed in the spider-infested areas in your home. This can help you monitor your spider population and will also keep them from entering common areas.

Remember that the majority of spiders are harmless. If you see a few from time to time, it is probably unnecessary to employ chemicals to get rid of them. Always read directions before using any pesticide in your home.

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