California Spiders

California spiders can be Beneficial Creatures in Nature

Spiders are beneficial in the sense that they feed on insects that can be harmful to plants and animals as well. Spiders are identified by the fact that they have eight legs, rather than the six that characterize insects.  Spiders fall into the classification of “arachnids”.

Are Spiders Dangerous to Humans?

In the US we have over 3000 types of spiders with only a small proportion of them being dangerous to humans and of concern. If you are bitten, it can be the result of a number of creatures other than a spider.  Mites, bedbugs, ticks mosquitoes, and fleas can also inflict bites on people.  Only a few types of spiders have the ability to generate a bite that will break a persons skin.

Spiders Let You Know When they Are at Work in Your Home

California spiders will work for you and rid your home, porch, or outdoor area or garden of unwanted insects. They announce their presence in the form of a web, where the live and hunt their prey.  Some people feel that spider webs in their homes are unsightly and unwanted. If so, and you don’t want to let the spiders be, then you can remove the webs.  If you want to put the spider to work outside your home instead, capture them gently with a paper cup, or towel and release them outside.

Tips to Find Spiders in Your Home and Outside

Outdoors you can find California spiders in a wide variety of places, usually somewhere close to the ground.  They can be found in and around flower pots, hanging baskets, planters or wood and rock piles. Also look for them under tarps, in power and water meter boxes, watering control boxes, and in protected dry crevices around and in buildings.  In your home you can sometimes locate them in dry storage areas, kitchen cupboards, hall closets and other dry and dark storage areas.

California Spiders You Should Watch Out For

Some spiders can give you poisonous bites.  Southern California is home to the brown widow (Latrodectus Geometricus), a sort of mottled brownish yellow.  In all of the state we can find the Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus)  You can distinguish the black widow by a red hourglass shaped figure on the underside of the female abdomen. (see photos on this page). The brown recluse spider is not typically a California spider. However, other recluse spiders do exist. They are known to have six eyes arranged in pairs, and are often difficult to identify. Fatalities from bites of these spiders tend to be vary rare; ofttimes not requiring any medical care.  Sometimes these spider bites can be of significance to old or very young persons or those already medically compromised and should be checked out by a medical professional.

Protect Yourself from These Varieties of California spiders

Teach you kids not to taunt or unnecessarily disturb spiders while in their webs, or disturb them in their nesting areas of cracks and crevices. At night before you go to bed check the bed and your sleeping area for any spiders.  Before putting on clothing or your shoes, give them a good shake to get any hidden spiders out.  When cleaning outdoors or in garages, and mostly unused storage areas wear gloves to prevent a California spider surprise!

References for Green Integrated Pest Management:

University of California Integrated Pest Management Program  http://ipm.ucanr.edu/

Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC)   http://www.birc.org/



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Jeff Ward

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