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Summer Is Spider and Snake Time
Warm weather can bring long, sunny days and hours of outdoor fun, but it also brings many critters and pests. While some of these are just annoying, others can be quite dangerous, like spiders and snakes. But some preventative measures and general precautions can go a long way to help protect your family from these scary and often venomous creatures.
As the temperature heats up, many insects become active. In turn, spiders also get busy, as they have more opportunities to score some juicy insect meals. While most spiders are harmless to humans, much of the south is home to two venomous spiders: the black widow and brown recluse. And, just like other spiders, these hazardous arachnids are much more active in the spring, summer, and early fall.
The black widow spider is a shiny black spider with an hourglass-shaped mark in either orange or red on its underside. They eat other spiders and insects they catch in their webs. Preferring dark, dry spaces, black widows can often be found in garages, barns, basements, trash, brush, and weeds. While a black widow bite is rarely fatal, they are very painful and unpleasant, to say the least.
The brown recluse spider can range in color from light to dark brown, and is typically less than an inch in size. It has long legs and a somewhat fuzzy abdomen. They hunt at night and prefer crickets, roaches, and similar insects. Like widows, they like dark, dry places like sheds and woodpiles. In the house, they can be found in closets, cellars, behind baseboards, and other typically undisturbed places. While their name implies they prefer to remain out of contact with humans and other creatures, they do get more active and visible in the warmer months. Bites from brown recluse spiders are less dangerous than black widows, but both can require medical attention.
Unfortunately, Alabama is home to over 50 species of snakes, and several of them are dangerously venomous. At the same time, there are many species that are completely harmless and can even be useful in controlling the rodent populations. However, if you’re like most people, if you encounter a snake, you’re not going to take the time to determine if it’s venomous or not. You simply don’t want it around.
Below you will find some tips for discouraging snakes from making your home their home. But it’s still useful for you to understand a little about snake behavior in the event you encounter one. First, snakes are not aggressive and do not want to bite you. But they are excellent at hiding and blending into the environment, so occasional snake-human encounters are almost inevitable. When outside, take care to reach into dark spaces like holes or woodpiles, or walk in brush or tall vegetation when you cannot see where your feet are landing.
Again, the majority of snakes you might encounter around your home are non-venomous, the ones that are venomous can be extremely dangerous. In suburban and rural areas in Alabama, copperheads are the most commonly encountered, while cottonmouth/water moccasins are frequently found near water. There really is only one thing you need to do if you’re bitten by a snake: get emergency medical attention as soon as possible. Venomous snake bites are rarely fatal, but the sooner you receive medical care, the better.
When it comes to any pests, cleaning and decluttering is job number one. Outside, get rid of trash, brush, woodpiles, and clutter. Caulk any openings or cracks, and having well-fitting screens on your widows or other entry points into your house. Keep your yard well trimmed and branches cut away from your home.
Inside, for spider control, vacuum and dust frequently, and remove cardboard boxes and other clutter from basements, closets, and attics. Sticky glue traps can help control spiders, too.
The most important step you can take to control spiders and snakes is to cut off their food supply. Without food, they’ll either die or move on to some more fertile hunting ground. As far as spiders go, controlling or eliminating other insects is essential. Snakes eat rodents and other small critters, so getting rid of mice and other small, uninvited guests is very important.
Of course American Pest Control can help you with a comprehensive treatment plan and service to protect your home from uninvited insects and rodents, and, in turn, the other unwelcome creatures who want to eat them.