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 Charter # 133




Spiders are predators paralyzing or killing their prey with venom. They typically feed by injecting a predigestive fluid into the body of their prey and then suck out the digested food.

Spiders can survive for long periods of time without food and also have been known to survive even whole house fumigation.

There are anywhere from 500 to 800 species of spiders in the United States.

Spiders have only 2 body regions, no antennae, no compound eyes and have 4 pairs of legs. The female lays her eggs either in a dark place or in egg sacs depending on the species. Both the black widow and the brown recluse have egg sacs. The young are called "spiderlings".

All spiders have poison glands containing venom. They use their venom to kill their prey and feed on the body fluid of their catch.

Most spiders can climb and hang by silk webs, and some can even jump.

Many spiders, especially young spiders, move long distances by spinning a web and letting the wind carry them and their web. This is called ballooning. The spider climbs to the top of a roof or fence post and releases a strand of silk into an air current. Some spiders are known to have been carried in this manner for distances of 60 miles and upwards to 5,000 feet.

Some spiders do not spin webs.

Males are usually smaller than females of the same species.

The most common spider found in the eaves of homes in California is the cellar spider.


There are two kinds of spiders that bite and can cause painful poisoning in humans, they are the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider.

Female black widows are black with a red or orange hour glass shape on the underside of the abdomen.

Black widows are present in every state in the United States as well as other countries with similar or warmer climates.

A female may produce four to nine egg sacs during a summer. Egg sacs contain 300 to 400 eggs which will hatch in about 8 to 10 days. Egg sacs appear white in color, but after a while turn pale brown.

After laying eggs the female is hungry and more likely to bite a human.

In some instances bites can be fatal.

A bite may cause pain at the site of the bite, general aching of the body, headache and nausea but in most cases symptoms disappear in 2 to 3 days.

The black widow web is an irregular, tangled, criss cross web woven of a coarse silk. Strand for strand it is stronger than steel, and is used for cross hairs in large telescopes in observatories.


Brown recluse spiders can be identified by the violin shape on the back of the thorax. Also they have six eyes while the majority of spiders have eight.

"Fiddleback spider" and "Violin spider" are other names of the brown recluse spider.

Some spiders may have a bite as toxic as that of a brown recluse, but because of the difficulty in obtaining venom, research on identifying these spiders is nearly impossible.

People are most commonly bitten in bed, dressing or cleaning storage areas.

Adult male and female brown recluse and immature spiderlings are capable of injecting venom which may result in serious lesion formation. If damage is severe, a skin graft is sometimes required.


Part of the  treatment is not only providing a residual barrier for the control of insects and spiders, but to physically
sweep down all accessible spider webs. This helps control in 3 ways:

  1. It removes the harborage of the spider.
  2. It forces the new spider to contact the residual barrier in order to get to the home.
  3. The technician will kill any visible spiders in the process of removing the actual web.

SPIDER MYTH: It has been widely reported that a black widow female eats her mate. Generally, these observations have been made under laboratory conditions which are not natural and may not represent what is normal. Actually males live longer when with a mate because he lives off of the food captured in the females web.


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Last modified: 03/18/10