Brown Recluse Spiders in Arizona

When most people think of spiders that can pose a threat to humans, they probably think of the black widow, which is infamous for its red hourglass marking and painful bites. But a different spider species, known as the brown recluse, can pose serious health threats, too. This spider is less familiar to many Americans because, as their name suggests, they prefer to remain out of sight. However, many homeowners encounter brown recluses more frequently in the fall months, as they enter our homes seeking shelter from the colder weather.

Identifying Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluse spiders are tan to dark brown in color, and between ¼ and ½ inches long. Like all spiders, they have eight legs and a round body. Most brown recluse spiders also have a darker, violin-shaped marking on their dorsum. They are found in the Central Midwest, from Ohio to Nebraska and south through Texas and Georgia.

Brown recluse spiders feed on small live prey such as insects. Outside, brown recluse spiders are typically found around rocks, utility boxes and woodpiles or under bark. Indoors, they can be found in any undisturbed area, such as inside boxes, among papers, in seldom-used clothing and shoes, under furniture, or in crevices such as baseboards and window moldings. Closets, attics, crawl spaces and basements are the most common hiding areas.

Understanding the Threat

Brown recluse spiders are not aggressive by nature, and typically run for cover when disturbed. However, these spiders are known to bite when they feel trapped. In many cases, a person is bit when they unknowingly disturb a brown recluse, for example, while moving storage boxes in a basement or putting on a piece of clothing that has a spider hiding in it.

Both female and male brown recluse spiders can bite and inject venom, making them a danger to humans. The bite is usually not felt, but results in a stinging sensation, followed by intense pain that develops as long as six to eight hours later. A small blister usually develops at the bite location, and the surrounding area may become swollen. Dead tissue around the bite may peel away leading to a deep, open ulcer that can take three or more weeks to heal, resulting in dense scar tissue. Restlessness, fever and difficulty sleeping are common symptoms.

The venom injected during a bite can lead to a severe allergic reaction, especially in children, the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions. If you suspect you or a family member has been bitten by a brown recluse spider, it is important to seek medical attention promptly.  There is no anti-venom available in the United States to counteract the poisonous venom of the brown recluse spider bite, but a doctor may prescribe pain medication and antibiotics to keep the bite from becoming infected. In severe cases, plastic surgery may be required to rectify scaring.

Preventing Brown Recluse Spiders

So what can you do to prevent brown recluse spiders from taking up residence in your home? To begin, inspect the outside of your home for any small openings or holes, paying special attention to areas where utility pipes enter the home. Seal any such openings with a silicone caulk to prevent spiders and other insects from gaining access inside.

Stack firewood at least twenty feet from your home and five inches up off of the ground, to deter spiders from hiding out in the wood. It’s a good idea to wear gloves when moving the wood, and inspect it carefully before bringing indoors.

Store clothes and shoes inside plastic containers and shake out all clothing that have been in a hamper, on the floor or in storage before wearing. Use extra cautionwhen handling items that are not used often, such as boots, baseball mitts, skates and gloves.

If you suspect you have been bitten by a brown recluse spider, seek prompt medical attention. If you suspect you have a brown recluse spider infestation, Bug Guardian Pest Prevention today.

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Preventing Pantry Pests in Arizona

From cutout cookies to gingerbread houses, holiday baking is a fun tradition for many families.  But there is one thing that can ruin the holiday cheer, and it’s not the Grinch. Pantry pests, or stored product pests that tend to gather around food stowed in pantries and cabinets, can quickly become a hassle for homeowners during the holidays.

A variety of critters fit into the category of pantry pests including beetles, ants, earwigs, weevils and pillbugs, but the most common species are the Indianmeal moth and merchant grain beetle. Fortunately, neither of these pests pose serious health or property threats, however, they can become major nuisances to homeowners due to their quick ability to infest an area in a short amount of time.

Pantry pests can infest common baking ingredients such as flour, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate and more. In some cases, they are also attracted to dried flowers and potpourri, which make decorations another susceptible breeding ground for home infestations. Merchant grain beetles are typically not found in grain products, but instead like to attack cake mixes, macaroni, cookies and chocolate. Indianmeal moths like to feed on dried fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, chocolate, birdseed, dog food, powdered milk, dried red peppers and candy.

Now, as the holiday season kicks into full swing, people across the country will begin running to the grocery store and digging into pantries for baking ingredients to make their favorite holiday treats. But, before rummaging through to find the spices and flour, consider inspecting all of the pantry items to ensure they are pest free. Here are some other tips to guard against pantry pests and help the holiday baking plans run smoothly:

  • Purchase proper storage: Invest in some Tupperware-type containers with secure lids. These will not only keep your pantry looking nice, but will also protect your food from pantry pests and even small rodents that may be looking for an extra meal. Anything made of plastic or glass works well, as long as the storage item comes with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Store seasonal décor: Dried foliage, potpourri and Indian corn should be kept in airtight containers during off seasons and unpacked outside prior to displaying them inside the home for the holidays.
  • Use a bay leaf: Add a bay leaf to canisters and packages of dry goods like flour, rice and other grains – the herb’s pungent scent repels many pantry pests.
  • Inspect the groceries: Most pantry pests are brought into the home from items that are already infested such as food in paper grocery bags, cardboard or plastic bags. On your next shopping trip, make sure to inspect the packaging of all items before tossing them into the cart. If a package is opened or shows the slightest sign of damage, do not purchase it. For products already in the home, visually inspect and sift through ingredients to ensure they remained pest-free while in storage.
  • Check the date: Remember to check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use. Occasionally sort through old items in the pantry and toss out anything that’s been stored for a long period of time.
  • Practice good sanitation: Do not let spills sit for a long period of time. Immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves, and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles. Also, consider periodically emptying the cupboards and cleaning them with soap and water to get rid of any bugs that may be hiding inside.
  • Seal cracks: Look for any cracks or holes where pests might be coming into your home especially around the stovepipes and water pipes. Also, eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains with a dehumidifier.

If you find pantry pests in your kitchen, discard the infested foods in outdoor trash bins and clean all of the shelves in the cupboards with a vacuum. If an infestation has already taken root, contact Bug Guardian Pest Prevention to inspect and treat the problem. A pest control professional can keep these pests from multiplying and contaminating other foods in your home.

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