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It’s almost Halloween. Scary ghouls & goblins, wart-faced witches, and an abundance of spiders in webs come to mind. But ever wonder, “why spiders?”
Maybe just because they’re a bit on the creepy side and found in dark, frightening places. Or maybe it’s just guilt by association – even witches need cronies, like black cats, bats, rats and spiders. We naturally associate spiders with death, venom and abandoned places. Spiders have also been thought to have mystical powers because they can spin webs. In ancient times, this ability caused them to be associated with magic, and again witchcraft. Because of this, it’s natural to tie them in with Halloween.
Not all things associated with spiders are ghastly. For example, superstition has it that seeing a spider in your home could mean good fortune is headed your way – and the bigger the spider, the better your reward! But don’t take that wives’ tale to the bank.
Typically, this is the time of year – the transition from summer to fall – when spiders may be more active and prevalent. As temperatures outside drop, most pest and rodent activity ramps up inside your home. And spiders feed on other insects and pests, so they are inherently drawn to where those creatures are living.
In Texas, the most common spiders are American house spiders, wolf spiders, brown recluse, black widow and jumping spiders. All are arachnids with two body segments, eight legs and no antennae.
Of these, two are a venomous species of spiders – the black widow and the brown recluse. Both can be found indoors and outdoors throughout the state:
Neither the black widow nor the brown recluse spiders are aggressive but both will bite when accidentally trapped, disturbed, scared or threatened. Records show that bites from these spiders are very infrequent, and because of spider antivenin, deaths are rare.
Spider bites are often mistaken for other common insect bites, so try to identify the culprit if you can. Other things that can cause symptoms that mimic spider bites include biting fleas or bed bugs, allergies, poison oak and poison ivy, plus various viral and bacterial infections.
As with most pests, prevention is the best method for spider control. Here are a few things you can do:
Whether spiders cause a nightmarish web of worry at your home at Halloween or any other time of year, seek professional help to put your fears to rest.