I am concerned about spiders in my home, what do I do?
As autumn progresses, people will be moving their winter clothes to the front of the closet or out of storage boxes and putting summer clothes away. Many homes, more than a few years old, may have infestations of brown recluse or black widows. Both of these spiders feed on crickets, silverfish and other small insects, so eliminating their food source can help.
The two spiders can inhabit different areas of the home. Brown recluse like to live in attics, basements, the backs of closets and clothing. Black widows prefer storage boxes, corners, and other out of the way openings around the home. Don't take chances with these spiders, the bite of a black widow can be deadly and the bite of a brown recluse can cause long term misery and disfiguration.
When moving clothing out of boxes or the backs of closets, it is a good idea to wear long sleeve shirts and light gloves. Rubber gloves to wash dishes are a good choice as they cover your wrists over your sleeves.
Although it may be a lot of work to turn every sleeve and pant leg inside out, the hassle is less painful and detrimental to your health than a bite from one of these spiders. The other option is to wash all of your winter clothes, including jackets and coats. Be sure to dry on as high a temperature as the clothing will tolerate without ruining the clothes.
Whether you find spiders in your closet or not, a good preventative in older homes is to treat the backs of closets and cracks of the home with an insecticide labeled for indoor use. It is best to spray the inside of the home on day when you can open windows for ventilation. If applying an insecticide yourself, be sure to follow the label instructions. Pets and children should be outside while treating and waiting for the product to dry, which is about 30 minutes. The other option is to allow a professional to treat your home for insects.
For more information contact the OSU Extension Center, 14001 Acme Road, corner of MacArthur and Acme Road in Shawnee or 273-7683.