Black Widow Spiders Can Hurt Humans
The black widow is the most venomous spider in the United States and one of the few spiders in the country capable of hurting a human. Black widows, part of the Latrodectus genus, thrive in the temperate climate of the south, but they are found throughout North America.
The female black spider has a very distinctive appearance: a shiny black body and a red or orange hourglass-shaped mark on the underside of the abdomen. Female spiders are about 1.5″ long. Males are about half the size and light in color with red or pink spots on the back. Black widow spiders have characteristic comb feet, or short, strong bristles on the hind legs.
All black widow spiders are reclusive. These solitary spiders only socialize to mate. Black widow spiders spin webs during the day and become active during the night. Like other spiders, black widows eat anthropods like caterpillars, ants, beetles, roaches, and scorpions. After prey is caught in the web, the spider injects it with digestive enzymes. The prey is consumed once it has liquefied.
Black widows build very irregular and tangled nests that may be located at ground level or under a protected ledge under wood piles or even under a porch. The female can often be seen hanging upside-down in the nest with the hourglass visible.
It is only the female black widow spider that is dangerous. Black widow venom contains latrotoxin and it may cause muscle pain, cramps, tachycardia, and hyperhidrosis. Black widow bites are rarely fatal, but the symptoms can last for weeks. Antivenom treatment can be used to relieve the pain.
Black widow spiders mate during the spring and early summer. Female black widow spiders are known to consume the male after mating, but this does not always happen. The female can produce many egg sacs throughout the summer. These sacs are protected until they hatch. Black widow eggs are gray, tan, or white and up to 15 mm in diameter. Each egg sac may have hundreds of eggs, but only a few dozen will survive. Spiderlings are cannibalistic and they will consume their siblings.
The spiderlings will go through several molts and spend the winter immature before maturing fully over the spring. The spiders look like adults except smaller and orange or white in color. Black widow spiders usually survive for up to 1 year, but they can live for up to 3 years.
If you have black widow spiders building nests around your home, contact Pest Defense Solutions today for a custom treatment plan to protect your family.
Bed Bugs Today More Resistant to Treatment Than Ever Before
The United States is currently experiencing a bed bug epidemic. These pests — once nearly eradicated after WWII — have re-emerged with a vengeance. Bed bugs in the United States are now resistant to oneonicotinoids, the most widely used insecticide, and resistance is on the rise. Bed bugs are the worst nightmare of travelers everywhere, who often pick up the bugs and carry them home in their luggage or clothing, only to experience a bed bug infestation in their own home. While they are not known to spread disease, bed bugs are a major pest problem in all areas of the world.
Bed bugs are tiny, flat, reddish-brown insects that may be up to 5 mm in size, or the size of an apple seed.
Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices, usually on and near beds. They may be found in mattress seams, sheets, behind baseboards and electrical outlet plates, and inside drawers. Bed bugs are known to live for up to one year without blood. These insects are usually active at night. While they cannot fly, they can move very quickly.
Bed bugs are very skilled at hitching rides on luggage and clothing. This is their primary means of spreading.
A female bed bug can lay up to 5 eggs a day or up to 500 over its life. Bed bugs may live for up to 300 days in ideal conditions. Bed bugs reproduce using traumatic insemination. Rather than using a genital tract, male bed bugs pierce the female’s abdomen with their genitalia and inject sperm through the wound. The sperm migrates until it reaches the ovaries. After mating, female bed bugs will attempt to avoid mating again and move farther away. This process of traumatic insemination increases the likelihood that bed bugs hitching a ride on luggage and people are pregnant females.
Females will carry sperm and produce eggs for up to 6 weeks. The female will lay eggs almost continuously as long as she has access to blood. A single pregnant female bed bug that makes its way into your home can lead to 5,000 bed bugs within 6 months.
Signs of an Infestation
- Bugs. You may see adult bugs about the size of an apple seed on and near the mattress. Search corners and seams of the mattress and box spring as well as cracks in the headboard.
- Case skins. Juvenile bed bugs shed their skin as they grow.
- Droppings. Bed bugs leave brown or black stains on porous surfaces after they feed.
- Stains on the mattress.
- Bites. You may notice bite marks that indicate a bed bug infestation. This is not the best indication, as the bites resemble bites from other insects. Some people do not have a reaction to bed bug bites.
The best way to eradicate a bed bug infestation is to work with a pest control professional. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and it’s necessary to combat them with a multi-stage strategy. Contact Pest Defense Solutions El Paso for a customized treatment plan to eliminate bed bugs from your home.