The climate of Georgia (and the southern United States in general) provide the ideal environment for several species of spiders. The humidity and subtropical conditions provide just the right setting for these pests to thrive. Almost all species of spiders found in the United States pose no threat to humans. In fact, of the 38 known species of spiders in Georgia, only 2 are harmful to humans. Here are 10 of the most common spiders found in Georgia and the threat they may pose to you and your family.
Black widow spiders are black and shiny in color with a prominent red hourglass shape on their back. They are most often found around woodpiles and can easily access your home by hitching a ride inside on your firewood. They are also found in common places around your home where they can be undisturbed like eaves, empty boxes, and even shoes that are stored away and never worn. Black widows can be harmful to humans if bitten. While males rarely bite, females have been known to be aggressive especially when they are guarding their eggs. Black widow bite symptoms include fever, elevated blood pressure, nausea, and sweats. Death is uncommon after a black widow bite, especially if treatment is received quickly. In fact, there has not been a black widow related death in the United States in over 10 years.
Brown recluse spiders are light to dark brown in color (hence their name) with a signature dark brown violin shape on their backs. They are commonly found outdoors in debris and woodpiles. If they are found indoors, they are usually found underneath furniture, inside storage bins, and in dark recesses like baseboards. They are often found hiding out in closets, attics, and crawlspaces. Brown recluse spiders will bite when on the defensive. These bites are very painful and often leave an open, ulcerating sore that must be treated by a medical professional. Other symptoms include fever, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping.
Common House Spider
House spiders vary in color but most are yellow to brown in color with elongated abdomens. They are most often found inside homes (hence their name) usually in ceiling corners, under furniture, and inside closets, basements, garages, and crawlspaces. When outdoors, they are often found around windows, under eaves, and near light sources. While they can be a nuisance to have in your home, they don’t pose any threat to humans. Because of the low humidity and fewer insects in modern homes, house spiders are becoming less common in houses and more likely to be found in garages, sheds, barns, and warehouses.
Wolf spiders are typically dark brown in color with pale markings or stripes. Their legs are long and spiny and most have hair on their bodies. When indoors, wolf spiders typically stay on or near the floor, especially along walls and under furniture. They often come inside on firewood. When found outside they are usually found under firewood piles, leaves, yard debris, and stones and will often hide in these places during the day. While wolf spiders can bite, these incidents are rare and they don’t pose a significant threat to humans. Wolf spiders are unique in that they don’t capture their prey in webs but rather by chasing them down using their speed.
Crevice spiders have similar shapes and coloring as brown recluse spiders and are, in fact, often mistaken for them. While they do have the same light to dark brown coloring and similar body shape, they do not have the signature violin-shaped markings that the brown recluse has. They are often found in corners and crevices which is where their name comes from, typically located in ceiling corners, along baseboards, and in window frames. They can be beneficial to homeowners as they eat common household pests like flies, roaches, beetles, and wasps. While they can bite if threatened, this is very rare and they do not pose a significant threat to humans.
Yellow Garden Spider
The yellow garden spider is a large, black and yellow spider that is known for spinning large circular webs. Females are black with bright yellow patches on their abdomens. Males are smaller with less yellow coloring on their abdomens. They are typically found outdoors in sunny areas with plants on which they can anchor their webs (hence their name). Garden spiders don’t pose a threat to humans (other than the chance of walking through their sometimes significantly large webs) but they do produce venom that is harmless to humans, but helps to immobilize prey like flies, bees, and other flying insects that are caught in the web.
Orb Weaver Spider
Orb weaver spiders can vary in size and coloring but are often mistaken for brown recluse spiders. They are known for creating distinctive sheet webs with an escape tunnel at the rear. These webs can be up to 3 feet in diameter. Many orb weavers are brightly colored, have hairy or spiny legs and a relatively large abdomen. Orb weavers are typically nocturnal spiders and many species will build or do repair work on their webs at night. Orb weavers do not pose a threat to humans. They will bite if cornered but the bite is comparable to a bee sting.
The lynx spider is bright green in color, resembling the color of a plant leaf. They will also sometimes have orange on their legs and black dots, as well. Their legs are covered in long black spines. They are very quick in movement and are able to jump large distances to capture their prey. They are often found in open fields, especially those with tall grass surroundings. The lynx spider can be quite useful in agricultural management. They will bite if on the defensive but they do not pose a significant threat to humans.
The trapdoor spider is a large, hairy spider that can range in color from yellowish brown to reddish brown to black. They have powerful jaws and sharp fangs. Trapdoor spiders get their name from the burrows they construct with a cork-like trapdoor made of soil, vegetation and silk. They spend most of their lives underground and usually hunt at night. Trapdoor spiders are not aggressive and, in fact, are often timid when confronted. They can bite but this is rare. They do not pose a significant threat to humans.
The hobo spider is light to medium brown in color with a down the center with an oblong abdomen. Hobo spiders build funnel webs that open at both ends with one end expanding outward into a broad, slightly curved sheet. Mating season is from June to October and the wandering of males in search of a mate brings them in to much more contact with humans than females. Therefore, male hobo spiders are responsible for more bites than females because of this increased contact with humans. Their bites, however, do not pose a significant threat to humans. Hobo spiders can be found in almost any habitat. They are commonly found in places with holes, cracks, or crevices. They are terrible climbers and are rarely found above ground level. They prefer dark, moist environments like basements, crawlspaces, and window wells.
Contrary to popular belief, Granddaddy Longlegs are not, in fact, spiders; they actually belong to a group of arachnids known as harvesters or harvestmen. The predominant feature of harvesters including the granddaddy longlegs is legs that are exceptionally long in relation to their body size. Harvesters are usually seen around harvest time – hence their name. Just in North America alone there are about 150 species of granddaddy longlegs. They use their extremely long legs to catch their prey rather than building webs. Granddaddy longlegs are not poisonous or venomous and do not pose any threat to humans.
Whether they are dangerous to humans or not, most people would prefer to keep spiders out of their homes as much as possible. The best way to prevent spiders from taking up residence in your house is to get rid of any areas where they can hide. Spiders are more common in the fall and winter as they make their way indoors in search of food and warmth. Keep your garage, attic, and basement clear and decluttered. Try not to leave shoes and clothing on the floor. Seal any cracks and crevices around your home. Consider enclosing your crawlspace and sweep down any cobwebs that appear. As always, if you suspect you have a spider problem, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify the type of spiders you have and provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment and prevention plan.
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It is estimated that termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage in the United States annually. While they primarily feed on wood, they can also damage books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filters. They can wreak havoc on trees and shrubs and are particularly fond of plants that are in bad health. Termites can infest buildings at any time. This can be particularly troublesome when buying or selling a home. A termite inspection and report are usually required as a condition of sale of a home.
Types Of Termites
There are several different species of termites but the two most common are drywood and subterranean termites. Formosan termites are the most prevalent species of subterranean termites in the southeastern US. Drywood termites don’t cause the extensive damage that subterranean termites do. Drywood termites cost property owners hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and repairs each year; subterranean termite damage is in the billions. This is due in part to drywood termites having smaller colonies, so it takes them longer to cause damage. Drywood termites are also more visible than subterranean ones – they tend to kick their dried feces out onto surfaces as they eat, making them easier to spot. Subterranean termites keep their droppings inside their tunnels so they are more likely to go unnoticed. Subterranean termites can also have multiple colonies near a home which can all feed on the same home at the same time, exponentially increasing the number of termites infesting the structure.
Termites destroy homes by eating wood and wood products. They have special enzymes, bacteria, and protozoa in their guts that allow them to digest cellulose (organic fibrous material in wood and plants). The largest subterranean termite colonies can eat up to a pound of wood per day. This damage, however, often goes unnoticed for many years. Because they slowly eat away at the wood inside your home, often without your knowledge, termite damage often severely impacts the structural integrity of your home. Termite colonies can take 3 to 5 years to fully mature. While there is no accurate way of calculating the exact age of an infestation, there are ways to make accurate predictions of their age. It can take anywhere from 3 to 8 years for termite damage to show up depending on the size of the colony.
Signs Of Damage
When signs of termite damage surface, there has often been an infestation for years with extensive damage already sustained. Some signs of a termites in your home include:
- A hollow sound made by tapping on wood with a heavy object
- Painted walls that bubble and peel
- Small entry holes where they tunnel through drywall
- Subterranean termites can leave dirt on the wall where their bodies have come in contact with soil
- Buckling ceilings and walls
- Appearance of water damage
- Maze-like designs in wood structures
- Mud tunnels on foundations
- Seeing swarms of termites, especially in spring
Significant damage from termites can have an effect on the structural integrity of your home and can even cause ceilings and floors to collapse. Termites can also ruin furniture, carpeting, and flooring.
There is no central agency that monitors or tracks termite damage data. Many pest control companies report their data to state agricultural and academic experts but there is no system in place for uniform tracking across the country. Therefore, most damage cost estimates are based on estimates. It is estimated that:
- Approximately 600,000 homes are damaged by termites in the US each year
- $5 billion dollars are spent annually by US residents to control termites and repair damage
- At least $1 billion dollars are spent on Formosan termite control and repairs each year, although some experts estimate it is closer to $2 billion (according to the USDA)
One question many homeowners have is if termite damage is covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. Unfortunately in most cases the answer to this question is no. Homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover termite damage or removal because it can usually be prevented through routine home maintenance. However, you should always check with your insurance provider to see what you are and are not covered for.
Since insurance usually doesn’t cover termite damage and repair, what is the average cost to repair termite damage? The cost of repairs varies greatly from case to case and is dependent on a variety of factors such as how much wood the termites have eaten, how long the colony has been in the home, and where the damage was done inside the home. Repairs can often be more expensive than the original building costs, often in the thousands of dollars. In rare cases termite damage can be so extensive that the home is completely demolished. In addition to the structural repairs that have to be made, cosmetic repairs also have to be made. Termites can cause discoloration and other damage to sheetrock, flooring and paint which will also need repair or replacement. The cost of these will vary on an individual basis but some repairs will be more costly than others, e.g. replacing hardwood floors versus floor tiles. Exterminator costs also have to be factored in as the termites have to be controlled and eliminated before any repairs can be done. The costs will vary depending on your termite control professional but will usually include the cost of chemicals and baits, labor, and service and can vary based on your location and the type of termite treatment you choose.
Termites can be prevented with scheduled periodic professional inspections which can help identify signs of infestations earlier, keeping damage minimal and repair costs down. Any professional termite control plan should eliminate termites, prevent future termite infestations, and prevent termite damage. If you suspect you have a termite problem or want to have an inspection done to check for termites, contact us for a free estimate.
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With the increase in travel during the upcoming Spring Break season, the incidence of bed bugs will be on the rise. Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of; notorious hitchhikers that can travel with ease from place to place. They also don’t discriminate – bed bugs have been reported in accommodations ranging from 1 star motels to 5 star luxury resorts and everywhere in between, and have been reported around the world. Most home bed bug infestations occur after travel or are brought in by guests. So what can you do to make sure these pests don’t arrive uninvited after your spring break travels?
Do Your Homework
There are several resources out there that provide reports of bed bug infestations at hotels and other lodging facilities. The Bed Bug Registry is a free public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Established in 2006, the Bed Bug Registry has mapped more than 12,000 hotels based on over 20,000 reports from travelers. Other user-generated sites like TripAdvisor also offer reviews that include bed bug reports.
Know What To Look For
Bed bugs are small, only about 4 to 5 mm in size. They are the size of a standard pearl. They have flat, oval-shaped bodies that are red or brown in color. Before traveling, download the EPA’s wallet-sized bed bug identification card for reference.
Check Your Accommodations
Where do you look for bed bugs? Bed bugs are excellent hiders. They are nocturnal so finding them during the day can be a challenge. Always check your room thoroughly before unloading your luggage. Bed bugs are usually found within 20 feet of a host (usually a bed). Bed bugs are commonly found in the seams of mattresses, in the cracks of headboards, in baseboards, and in the folds of upholstered furniture. They can also be found in drawers and closets and even in the fabric of luggage rack straps. Be sure to check each of these places thoroughly and use a flashlight if possible. Leave your luggage outside the door while you check for bed bugs. Be sure to also check the sheets and mattress for small brown spots sometimes tinged with blood. This is a tell-tale sign of a bed bug problem.
Know What To Do
If you find evidence of bed bugs in your room, notify the front desk and hotel manager immediately. Request to be transferred to another room that is not above, below, or adjacent to the infested room as bed bugs can travel through cracks in the ceiling, walls, and floor. If you aren’t comfortable, request a refund and find other accommodations. Request that the hotel launder your clothes immediately. Place all your garments in a sealed bag and put them in the dryer again when you get home. Steam your luggage, as well.
Prevention Is Key
One way to avoid bed bugs is to take steps to prevent them in the first place. Pack a large trash bag with your luggage and store your luggage in it while in the room. Don’t leave any clothes, purses, or computer bags on upholstered furniture in your room. Keep all bags closed when not in use. Double check your bags and clothing before you repack. Once you return home, immediately unpack your dirty clothes directly into the washer and then dry them on high heat. Store your suitcases away from any living areas such as in the garage or the basement.
Call A Professional
Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to get rid of. If you suspect you have a bed bug problem, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and the appropriate treatment plan for your situation.
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Take out the trash regularly; keep your house spotless; store your food in airtight containers: these are just a few of the things you can do to prevent pests from coming into your home. So what attracts cockroaches to a clean house? Cockroaches are extremely versatile pests. They have a very wide-ranging diet and will eat just about anything you can imagine. They have highly tuned water-finding senses and are experts at hiding. All of these adaptations allow them to survive in just about any environment. Roaches also pose health concerns to humans. They are known to carry diseases and can trigger allergies and asthma. They are also extremely hard to get rid of once you have cockroaches in the house. But how do cockroaches get in your clean house?
Some areas are more prone to cockroaches than others. The southeastern United States, especially Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, are home to a large population of American cockroaches (also known as palmetto bugs). If you live in these areas you can expect to see these pests in your home despite cleaning on a regular basis. Unlike German cockroaches, American cockroaches aren’t associated with unsanitary conditions. They may enter your home through a gap in a window seal or through a door that is left open for a prolonged period of time.
Roaches come into your home in search of three things: food, shelter, and water. They have also developed the ability to use even the smallest of openings as an entryway into your house. They can come in through cracks in the exterior walls, dryer vents, or even the gaps between walls and floors. Perform a thorough evaluation of the exterior of your home and seal any entry points you find.
Roaches need moisture to survive and this search for water will bring them into even the cleanest of homes. Leaky pipes and faucets are one of the most common attractants for cockroaches and is one of the main reasons you often see them in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. They will also hide out under refrigerators and air conditioning units to indulge in their condensation, and even drink from pets’ water bowls when left out overnight. Roaches love places that are dark and undisturbed so you can often find them in basements, in the dark corners of cabinets, and underneath large appliances, especially those that use water.
Roaches will seek out food sources wherever they can find them. Despite your best efforts to keep your kitchen spotless, these resilient pests will make do with just about anything to eat. In fact, they have been known to feast on cardboard, wallpaper paste, book bindings, grease, leather, soap, and even human hair. They can often be found hiding out in stacks of cardboard in your attic and garage, books that you’ve stored away for extended periods of time, and even behind pictures that have been hanging on the walls.
While these areas may not be in need of repair or even in plain sight, they can attract roaches and need to be addressed to prevent roach infestations. Roaches have been known to hide out in the spaces between outside doors and floors. They can get into your home through window screens that aren’t flush with the frame or that have rips or tears in them. They can also get in around air conditioning units that don’t fit properly in windows, and into trash cans that aren’t cleaned regularly, even the ones in your bathrooms.
Roaches will come into your yard in search of the same things as your home: food, shelter, and water. You can harbor as many roaches in your yard as you do in your home. Any standing water in places like bird baths, flower pots, and gutters will attract cockroaches. Compost and wood piles provide food and shelter. Trash and recycling bins provide an excellent food source. Leaf litter, dense vegetation, and mulch or pine straw provides ideal hiding places.
Roaches are versatile pests that are extremely hard to get rid of once they get into your home. There are some roach prevention steps you can take to help keep them from invading your house:
- Seal any cracks around your home.
- Repair any water leaks.
- Remove any sources of standing water.
- Try not to overwater houseplants.
- Wipe down your kitchen counters after every meal.
- Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
- Wipe down your stove after cooking.
- Sweep daily and vacuum weekly.
- Keep firewood and compost as far away from your home as possible.
- Keep your grass and landscaping neat and tidy.
It can be frustrating to work hard at keeping your house clean and still have issues with roaches. If you have a roach problem or if you want to get a prevention program started before they become a problem, call a professional pest control company who can provide you with a customized pest control program using only the most innovative and advanced pest products and equipment available. Give us a call or request a free estimate to get started.
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For the first time in fifty years, the U.S. has its first known invasive tick.
The longhorned tick, first discovered in November 2017, has been found in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas. Professionals have had unsuccessful attempts to exterminate this particular species, leading it to be classified as an invasive species.
Normally an animal-attracted pest, the longhorned tick has been known to carry and transmit diseases like Lyme, spotted fever, and Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia (SFTS). SFTS symptoms include fever, vomiting, multiple organ failure, along with many other symptoms. Fortunately, of the ticks tested here in the U.S., no human diseases have been detected.
As always, use the normal precautions towards tick exposure:
- Utilize EPA-approved insect repellent.
- Wear clothing that covers skin, leaving as little as exposed as possible.
- Always check for ticks when hiking or walking through tall grass.
- If you think you have an issue with ticks around your home, call your licensed pest professional to schedule an inspection.
Continuing to follow these precautions will help to prevent tick exposure for you and your family members.
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