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NEWS | Aug. 12, 2008

Entomology Flight provides tips to residents seeing spiders

By Tech. Sgt. Lawrence Allen 437th Civil Engineer Squadron Entomology Flight

Is there an increased amount of spiders in the neighborhood?

This is an all-too-common occurrence in the Lowcountry and even in military family housing on Charleston AFB. But don't be discouraged because there is a bright side to this dilemma.

Although some spider bites can cause an allergic reaction in some people, this is a very rare occurrence. Spiders are beneficial to humans because they feed on insects. Indoors and out, spiders help to control a wide variety of insect pests. Unfortunately, the majority of spiders seen and killed by people pose no threat to people at all. On the other hand, the fling teeth insects (mosquitoes and sand gnats) the spiders eat seem to keep you swatting continuously.

Most spiders -- including Black Widows, Brown Widows and others -- are more difficult to kill with pesticides than other household pests. According to most pest control professionals, unwanted spiders and their webs can be removed simply by vacuuming. In most cases, vacuuming and reducing the spiders' food source will be sufficient to control the problem.

Spider elimination includes prevention of entry, reduction of spider food and any condition that might encourage spider invasion or reproduction.

Here is a list of non-chemical control along with a little insect repellent that can help families enjoy the Lowcountry summers:
1. Use a cobweb eliminator or a broom to prevent formation of spider webs.
2. Eliminate or shield outdoor lights or bright indoor lights that attract the spiders' insect food source.
3. Trim weeds around the building foundation and remove debris to discourage insects and spiders from living next to a structure.
4. Seal openings and install screens and door sweeps to prevent spiders as well as other unwanted pests from moving indoors.
5. Use a vacuum cleaner or water hose to remove webs, spiders and their egg sacs.

For more information, contact the 437th Civil Engineer Squadron Entomology Flight at 963-5266.