Spiders are consistently reported as one of the number one phobias. More people are afraid of spiders than just about anything else. Our customers certainly aren't big fans of having these creepy crawlies cruising around their places of residence. Check out our collection of pictures and information on some of the more common spiders that we are contacted about.
Bugs Description: There are many genera of Wolf Spider, ranging in body size from less than 1 mm to 5 inches. They have eight eyes arranged in three rows. The bottom row consists of four small eyes, the middle row has two very large eyes, and the top row has two medium-sized eyes. They depend on their eyesight, which is quite good, to hunt. Their sense of touch is also acute. Because they depend on camouflage for protection, they do not have the flashy appearance of some other kinds of spiders. In general their coloration is appropriate to their favorite habitat.
Bugs Habits: Wolf Spiders are nocturnal and will be out hunting for food, making it easier to find them. They are robust and agile hunters with good eyesight. They live mostly solitary lives and hunt alone. Some are opportunistic wanderer hunters, pouncing upon prey as they find it or chasing it over short distances. Others lie in wait for passing prey.
Although their reputation would lead one to believe otherwise, the bite of the wolf spider is not fatal. Wolf spiders also do not bite unless threatened or provoked. In most cases the wolf spider will first retreat or rear up on its legs, exposing its large fangs.
Bugs Description: The keys to the identification of the Hobo Spider will be the eye arrangement and the pattern of darker "fishbone" or chevron stripes on their upper abdomen. The 8 eyes are in two parallel rows of 4 ocelli across the front of the cephalothorax, with both rows forming straight lines. This has become a very common spider in homes especially in basements, crawl spaces, and other lower areas of the structures.
Bugs Habits: It is a member of the genus of spiders known colloquially as funnel web spiders. Individuals construct a funnel-shaped structure of silk sheeting and lie in wait at the small end of the funnel for prey insects to blunder onto their webs. It can be a fast running and fairly aggressive spider, biting with less of a reason than most other hunting spiders need.
Black Widow Spiders
Bugs Description: The body of the female black widow is about ½ inch long, glossy with a nearly globe-like abdomen. The abdomen has two triangular red spots on its underside arranged in such a way that the spots look like an hourglass.
Bugs Habits: Black widows are shy, preferring to build their webs in a dry protected location where their prey is likely to travel. Outdoors they can be found among rocks and wood piles, under decks, in hollow stumps, rodent burrows, beneath benches, etc. They prefer basements, crawls spaces, and garages in structures as well as other protected areas. Females often eat the males after mating, thus giving them their rather morbid name. Females produce a neurotoxin poison, and do bite if disturbed or handled roughly. Each year several deaths are attributed to the bite of black widow spiders a result of anaphylactic reactions. However, in most cases, the bite is no worse than a wasp sting.
Brown Recluse Spiders
Bugs Description: Brown Spiders have 6 eyes, arranged as 3 pairs in an arc across the front. Most spiders have 8 eyes, and no other groups have the eyes placed in the same pattern as the Brown Recluse spiders. The name "violin" or "fiddleback" comes from the dark violin-shaped pattern on the top of these spiders, and it often is very distinct.
Bugs Habits: Recluse spiders build irregular webs that frequently include a shelter consisting of disorderly threads. These spiders frequently build their webs in woodpiles and sheds, closets, beds, garages, cellars and other places that are dry and generally undisturbed. They seem to favor cardboard when dwelling in human residences, possibly because it mimics the rotting tree bark which they inhabit naturally. They also have been encountered in shoes, inside dressers, in bed sheets of infrequently used beds, in stacks or piles of clothes, behind baseboards and pictures, and near sources of warmth when ambient temperatures are lower than usual. Human-recluse contact often is when such isolated spaces are disturbed and the spider feels threatened. Unlike most web weavers, they leave these webs at night to hunt. Males will move around more when hunting, while the female spiders tend to remain nearer to their webs.
Bugs Description: House spiders are the most frequently found in human dwelling places. Some of the more prevalent house spider species include the common house spider, the domestic house spider, the aggressive house spider and the brown house spider. Their exteriors and sternums are yellow or brown in color. Their abdomens are gray and marked with white, while their legs are brown and darkly banded. Males are smaller than females, measuring only four millimeters in length as opposed to the female's eight.
Bugs Habits: House spider webs are typically funnel-shaped and can be located in various places within a home, including windows, ceiling corners and above or beneath fixtures. House spider webs are large and constructed of thin silk threads. They serve both as dwelling places and as traps for prey. House spider prey is paralyzed by venom injection before being broken down by digestive juices. As a result, prey is liquefied to allow for consumption.
Bugs Description: As their name suggests, they are found outdoors and in gardens. Garden spiders are not aggressive and are more likely to retreat from than attack humans. However, in cases of extreme provocation, garden spiders may bite. Their bites are harmless to humans. They measure approximately one inch in length or larger and are often marked vividly in black and yellow.
Bugs Habits: Garden spiders are known as orb weavers due to their orb-shaped, delicate webs. Even garden spiderlings are capable of spinning these intricate structures without the assistance of mature spiders. The webs of garden spiders are notoriously strong, and may reach more than 12 inches in diameter. The garden spider uses its web to capture food. Although their eyesight is poor, garden spiders are extremely sensitive to vibrations along the strands of their webs.
Positioning themselves at the center of their web, garden spiders hang upside down, jump on prey and paralyze it with injected venom.
Bugs Description: The Jumping Spider family (Salticidae) contains more than 500 described genera and about 5,000 described species, making it the largest family of spiders. Jumping spiders have good vision and use it for hunting and navigating. They are capable of jumping from place to place, secured by a silk tether. Adults rarely grow larger than one inch. Some common house jumping spiders appear black with white markings along the abdomen.
Bugs Habits: Jumping spiders are known for their curiosity. If approached by a human hand, instead of scuttling away to safety as most spiders do, the jumping spider will usually leap and turn to face the hand.
Jumping spiders are a scopula-bearing spider, which means that they have a very interesting tarsal section. At the end of each leg they have hundreds of tiny hairs, which each then split into hundreds more tiny hairs, each tipped with an "end foot". These thousands of tiny feet allow them to climb up and across virtually any terrain. They can even climb up glass by gripping onto the tiny imperfections, usually an impossible task for any spider.
Jumping spiders are active hunters, which means that they do not rely on a web to catch their prey. Instead, these spiders stalk their prey. They use their superior eyesight to distinguish and track their intended meals, often for several inches. Then, they pounce, giving the insect little to no time to react before succumbing to the spider's venom.
Bugs Description: There are several species of Sac Spiders in the U.S., and for whatever reason they appear to be more inclined to bite people with less provocation. The bite from a Sac Spider is said to produce "instant, intense stinging pain", followed by swelling, redness, and then itching at the site of the bite. There likely will also be a necrotic lesion formed due to the injection of the cytotoxin venom of these spiders, and it has been suggested that many times, when Violin Spiders have been accused of biting people in areas outside their range, it could be the sac spiders instead that are the true cause.
Bugs Habits: The spiders are very common in and around homes, and as hunters are likely to be found wandering throughout the house, where they could end up in clothing or beds. They are common in vineyards and are then easily transported within the bunches of grapes to other areas.
Stinging Pests are not all that fun to come in contact with! During the Spring Summer and Fall they can be active and aggressive. We can find these critters inside homes as they over-winter around siding cracks and roof lines. It is not uncommon to find large nests in eaves & attics. Some of the common wasps and yellow jackets are listed in our library. Take a look... but don't get too close!
Bugs Description: Paper wasps are 3/4 to 1 inch long. They gather fibers from dead wood and plant stems, which they mix with saliva, and use to construct water-resistant nests made of gray or brown papery material.
Bugs Habits: They are social wasps. If you knock down the nest of the paper wasps they are more than likely to be rebuilt on the very same spot within a few days. Since they are social wasps, they feel an instinct to protect their nest. Because their nest is open it also may be available to predators, and one of the predators these wasps fear is ants. Ants would love to swarm over the nest and drag the big, juicy larvae out of their cells, to take back as food for their own larvae. Nests may house several hundred to several thousand individual cells, depending on the species. Typical nests around homes generally stay in the range of a couple of hundred or less. Paper wasps will over-winter and will reuse and add on to their nests in the following spring.
Only female wasps have a stinger, all of the members of the colony are females, and therefore all of them can sting. Males do not participate, but are created at some period of the colony life for mating only.
Bugs Description: A typical yellow jacket worker is about .5 inch long, with alternating bands on the abdomen while the queen is larger, about 0.75 inch long. Workers are sometimes confused with honey bees, especially when flying in and out of their nests. Yellow jackets, in contrast to honey bees, are not covered with tan-brown dense hair on their bodies and lack the flattened hairy hind legs used to carry pollen, and the yellow jacket’s waist is thin and defined.
Bugs Habits: Yellow jackets are social hunters living in colonies containing workers, queens, and males. Colonies are annual with only inseminated queens overwintering. Although adults feed primarily on items rich in sugars and carbohydrates (fruits, flower nectar, and tree sap), the larvae feed on proteins (insects, meats, fish, etc.). Adult workers chew and condition the meat fed to the larvae. Larvae in return secrete a sugar material relished by the adults. This exchange is known as trophallaxis. In late summer, foraging workers change their food preference from meats to ripe decaying fruits or scavenge human garbage, sodas, picnics, etc., since larvae in the nest fail to meet requirements as a source of sugar. This is why yellow jackets are known largely as pests that are capable of ruining picnics. Although they lack the pollen-carrying structures of bees, yellow jackets can be minor pollinators when visiting flowers.
Known to be aggressive defenders of their colonies, yellow jackets are otherwise not quick to sting. The sting of a yellow jacket is painful and each insect is capable of delivering multiple stings. Yellow jacket stings may induce severe allergic reactions in some individuals.
Bugs Description: The bald-faced hornet is 1/2 to 5/8 in long. It is black with white markings on the face, the thorax, the last few segments of the abdomen, and the first segment of the antennae. The wings are smoke-colored and the eyes are brown.
Bugs Habits: The nest of the bald-faced hornet can be found hanging from trees, bushes and buildings. A bald-faced hornet nest can grow to be as large as a basketball within a number of months. As many as 700 workers may live in the nest. Bald-face hornets will sting repeatedly if disturbed. Like other stinging wasps, they can sting repeatedly because the stinger does not become stuck in the skin.
While bald-faced hornets do prey upon other pests and can prove beneficial, their nests should not be permitted to develop near a home. Workers are protective and aggressive when disturbed.
Bugs Description: Mud daubers are long, slender wasps, with thread-like waists. The name of this wasp group comes from the nests that are made by the females, which consist of mud molded into place by the wasp's mandibles.
Bugs Habits: Mud daubers are rarely aggressive. They are also the main predator of the black and brown widow spiders. Black-and-yellow mud-dauber build a simple, one-cell, urn-shaped nest that is attached to crevices, cracks and corners. Each nest contains one egg. Usually, they clump several nests together and plaster more mud over them. Blue mud-daubers frequently appropriate old nests of black-and-yellow mud-daubers. They carry water to them and recondition them for their own purposes. The two species commonly occupy the same barns, porches, or other nest sites. Adults of both sexes frequently drink flower nectar. To capture a spider, the wasp grabs it and stings it into submission. The venom from the sting does not kill the spider, but paralyzes and preserves it so it can be transported and stored in the nest cell until consumed by the larva.
Bugs Description: They are very large wasps, and can reach up to 1.5 inches long. They have black abdomen with yellow markings on several of the abdominal segments and an orange tint to the wings.
Bugs Habits: Adults are seen in mid-summer when the food for their larvae is most abundant. Many Cicada killers may be seen flying over a lawn, but each female digs her own burrow that may be up to 10 inches deep and may extend another 6 inches horizontally. A pile of soil often surrounds the entrance. The male flies guard duty over the lawn, chasing away any potential predators. While cicada killers are beneficial in reducing cicada populations, they may cause lawn damage and are frightening to the homeowners because of their large size and massive population.
Bugs Description: They are large (1/2 – 1 inch long), robust insects that look like bumble bees. They differ by having a bare, shiny black abdomen compared to bumble bees which have a hairy abdomen with some yellow markings.
Bugs Habits: Carpenter bees are not social insects, i.e., they do not live in nests or colonies like yellow jackets and honey bees. Carpenter bees bore holes into wood to create a tunnel in which to raise their young. They attack decks, siding, landscape timbers, and even lawn furniture. They seem to prefer unpainted wood, but they will also attack painted or stained wood. The initial opening is straight into the wood and is cut in an almost perfect circle. When the hole is about an inch deep, she turns and begins to burrow along the grain. A new gallery may be 6” long. Older galleries that have been re-used may extend several feet. It takes a female several days to make a 6” gallery. Entry holes are usually located in well-lit and sheltered areas, such as headers, roof eaves, porch ceilings, fascia boards, decks, doors, and window sills. Soft wood, such as California redwood, cedar, white pine, and poplar is preferred for nest building.
Male carpenter bees are very aggressive, but they have no stinger. Females have a potent stinger, but seldom sting.
Ants are the most common pest problem reported. These tiny scavengers will enter your home or business looking for moisture and an accessible food source. Moisture, sweets, and conducive nesting sites are common attractants. Check out our collection of pictures and information on these very small but difficult critters.
Odorous House Ants
Bugs Description: Odorous house ant workers are brown to black and 1/16 to 1/8-inch long. The best identifying characteristic is the “rancid butter” smell these ants produce when they are crushed, hence their name. When alarmed, the workers scurry around with their abdomens raised in the air.
Bugs Habits: Odorous House Ants often nest outdoors under stones, logs, and in the nests of larger ants. They can also nest indoors in wall or floor voids, and around heat sources. These ants travel in trails and prefer sweets, although they eat almost any household food. They usually invade structures during rainy periods after honeydew on plants has washed off.
Bugs Description: The carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylcanicus, is in the east and C. modoc in the west are the most thoroughly studied species in the U.S. They are among the largest ants found in the U.S., ranging from 1/8 to ½ inch long, the queens are slightly bigger. The workers of an established colony vary in size. They are commonly black; however, some species are other colors.
Bugs Habits: Carpenter Ants forage at night and they love sweets. Carpenter ants find their protein mainly in the form of other insects. As they tunnel their way through the wooden structures in the home they carve off a piece of wood with their mandibles and cast it aside as refuse. When the chambers they are in get too full of this refuse, they bore a slit to the outside world and push the refuse out of the chamber (that could be called housecleaning). The Primary Nest of the Carpenter Ant is almost always out of doors--in an old tree stump or in a hole left when a branch broke off of a tree or in a fence post or other substantial mass of cellulose material. This primary colony may be as far away from the house as 500 feet. Ants from the primary colony then make their way into the home involved with leaving a pheromone scent trail for other ants to follow. If conditions in the home are favorable--that is if there is a suitable void available and enough food present, a secondary or satellite nest may be established and larvae and pupae carried from the primary nest to this secondary nest to be taken care of there until they reach the adult stage. When infested with Carpenter Ants you will hear a frantic rustling noise caused by the ants that were disturbed by knocking on the outside of the wall.
Secondary nests can occur in any void space in the house or in any galleries that the worker ants have carved out. If there is a moisture condition caused by a leaky pipe or a malfunctioning roof gutter, or any other cause of a moisture problem, it is probable that the secondary nest will be located in or next to that affected area. Larvae and pupae, but no eggs will be found in the secondary nest. The trick is to knock on the door, wall, etc… and then put your ear up to it and listen.
There is a general rule that only about 10% of the members of a colony are out foraging for food at any one time. A Carpenter Ant colony must usually be over six years old and must contain at least 2,000 individuals before it will put off a swarm of alates (winged adult male and female ants). A colony that has been in existence for a long time may have 50,000 to 100,000 individuals in it.
Bugs Description: Pavement ants are 1/16- 1/8 inch long with a dark body and lighter colored legs. They are easily identified by the narrow, parallel grooves on their heads and thoraxes.
Bugs Habits: Pavement ants are commonly found in metropolitan areas. They nest outdoors under flat stones, under sidewalks, along curbing, under concrete slabs, etc. They invade structures in search of food and are a particular problem in areas where slab-on-grade construction is prevalent. Inside structures, they nest in walls, insulations, floors, and near heat sources during the winter. They feed on insects, meats, seeds, and sweets, but they prefer meats and greases. They are slow-moving insects and are frequently observed in areas where they are prevalent. They forage in trails as far as 30 feet from the nest. Although they are not aggressive, workers can bite and sting.
Bugs Description: Pharaoh Ants are very small: workers are about 1/16 inch long. They range from yellow to light brown. They can be distinguished from the thief ant because they have a three-segmented club at the end of the antenna. The Pharaoh Ant is so small that the whole colony can exist under a wet mop in a broom closet, or in the light switch box on the wall.
Bugs Habits: Most colonies will be found inside structures such as homes, Infestations may be prominent in the kitchen and in the bathroom because of the presence of water. The pharaoh ant does not bite or sting. Pharaoh Ant workers forage in the evening and at night and often come from large colonies of 100,000 ants or more. When a forager (worker ant) finds a good source of food it returns to the nest, leaving a pheromone trail on the surface it is traveling on. It alerts the workers in the nest, who follow this pheromone trail directly to the food source. The Pharaoh Ant loves sweets. It is omnivorous, feeding on protein and grease as well as killing and eating small insects.
Description: The Argentine Ant is a relatively small ant (the workers are about 2.5 mm in length and the queen is about double that size), light brown to dark brown in color and have one node on their pedicel.
Biology: The vast majority of the eggs are laid in the summer months. They are very adaptable to surroundings. In a well established colony, there can be hundreds of queens and thousands of workers. The eggs that the queen lays will hatch in about a month. The larval stage takes about a month and the pupa stage about two weeks. Thus they can mature from the egg stage to the adult stage in about two and a half months. The workers as well as the Queens can enter a colony other than their own and will be well received instead of being killed.
Habits: Workers seem to invade everything; even food in a screw top glass jar is not necessarily safe from their pillaging. Another reason for the success of an Argentine Ant colony is that the vast numbers of queens mate in their nests and thus are not exposed to the dangers of the big outside world. The male, once it is mated, leaves the nest and soon dies.
Bugs Description: Acrobat ants get their name from their habit of raising their abdomen above their head, especially when they are disturbed. When they are viewed from above, the abdomen is heart-shaped. Most species are less than 1/8” in length. Many give off a disgusting odor when disturbed.
Bugs Habits: Outdoors, acrobat ants nest under stones, in stumps, in rotting logs, and under woodpiles. When they invade homes, they often nest in wall voids or in foam sheathing behind siding. Homeowners often find bits of foam around the outside of the home, next to the foundation. The ants also nest in wood that has been damaged by moisture, fungus, carpenter ants or termites. Acrobat ants normally eat insects and honeydew. They protect the aphids that produce the honeydew. If acrobat ants come into a home, they seem to prefer sweets and meat.
The acrobat ant workers enter homes in several ways. Sometimes they make a trail across the ground. Door thresholds and weep holes are common entryways. Workers can also follow tree limbs or shrubs that touch the house. They have even made their trails on utility lines. The ants can enter the home through the same opening that pipes or wires go through.
Bugs Description: Thief Ants are very tiny ants, workers are never more than 1/16- inch long. Thief ants are yellow to light brown and look much like Pharaoh ants.
Bugs Habits: Thief ants are often found in very large nests that have tiny tunnels connecting to the nests of larger ants. They habitually steal food and brood from the other ants’ nests; thus their name. When they do nest in structures, they usually are found in wall voids and similar protected locations. Thief ants feed on live and dead insects, seeds, and honeydew. They generally prefer food with high protein content.
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