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Spring brings spiders out to play
A banana spider is harmless. (Photo Provided)

After only a few months of cold weather and green-less scenery, the annual approach of spring brings the anticipation of so many different aspects of the season. With fondness, we look forward to the smell of freshly cut grass, the cool breeze when we open our windows, and sitting outside with a nice glass of tea.

Unfortunately, we tend to forget about the biggest annoyance of warm weather: bugs. And when the bugs start coming out, that includes spiders, the scariest of them all.

Of course, there are good spiders, like the ones in "Charlotte's Web" and Spider-Man. However, people are probably more likely to freak out when they see a spider than when they see a June bug.

According to Harry Melvin of Enviro-Tech Termite and Pest Control in Carbondale, there are 10 to 15 varieties of spiders in Southern Illinois, but the only ones that are really worrisome are the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow.

When spring arrives, there will naturally be more spiders because their prey is out and about.

"They're there because there's a food source," Melvin said, "whether it's ants or other spiders, roaches, or flying insects."

This is one of the keys of managing the spider population.

"You eliminate the food source; you start to control the spiders," Melvin added.

If spiders have a limited diet, they'll start feeding on each other.

One of the big reasons for an increased insect population has been milder winters.

"It just doesn't get cold enough to kill anything," Melvin said. "Mother Nature plays a big part in controlling the insects."

Along with dealing with the food source, there are several other methods of control that are available to be used.

"Treatment-wise for spiders, you just don't spray because liquids don't do a lot of good," Melvin said.

"The biggest thing we do is use dusts, aerosols, the glue boards, which are pre-made of a pheromone scent that will attract the spiders into them and they get stuck on it.

The glue boards are an especially good tool, since they provide an example of exactly what type of spiders are in the residence.

Good preventative measures include making sure areas where spider webs accumulate are swept clean: in corners, on ceilings, and around lights, which is where the food sources gather. When egg sacs are found, it is especially important to get rid of them as well.

Also, when getting down boxes from the attic like summer clothes, make sure to shake them out well and leave the boxes outside. Spiders love areas where they will not be disturbed.

As odd as it may sound, having a few spiders is actually not always a bad thing. After all, they eat some of the other pesky bugs.

"People will see a brown spider, and they'll have tons of them, and they'll say 'oh, it's a brown recluse'" Melvin said.

"But you've got a lot of good spiders, you've got banana spiders, you've got wolf spiders, these are all good spiders. If they bite you, it's not going to hurt you."

If it is a brown recluse, that's a different story.

"Really, those need to be treated professionally," Melvin said.

Of course, if it is a brown recluse, their bites can be serious, but not as deadly as people might think.

"Just because you get bit by a brown recluse doesn't mean your leg's going to rot off either," Melvin said.

"It depends on the person and how much venom you get, just like a snake bite. You can actually get bit by one and not have a problem. It depends on the person."


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