To say “it’s hot” is an understatement for most of us this summer, as a large majority of the US has been hit by a bout of extreme heat in recent weeks. More than 90 million people across the country are in areas on heat alert for dangerously high temperatures, according to CNN. And while there are many things to worry about in this type of weather — from dehydration to power outages — what you may not realize is that the extreme heat can also bring certain unwanted pests into your home. Read on to find out if you need to be on the lookout for a venomous spider in your home right now.
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If you’re retiring home to cool off when the weather warms up, you’re not alone. Experts say pests are also more likely to take refuge indoors during extreme heat. According to Orkins Ron HarrisonPests are naturally more active in summer, “but even pests have their limits in extreme temperatures.”
“The two things they look for in houses are food and moisture”, Bo Jenkins with ABC Home and Commercial Services across from CBS affiliate KBTX in Bryan, Texas. “Usually the weather changes from the high 70s to the mid 80s and 90s. Then we really see that the pest pressure is increasing.”
Pests like ants, roaches and mosquitoes are more active in the summer, according to Orkin — but spiders really love the heat. According to Spencer Pest Services in Greenville, South Carolina, outdoor conditions are actually “ideal for spiders” during much of the summer.
However, when things get out of whack, such as when the weather gets too hot, spiders look for a spot that offers the ideal environment. “Spiders love to hide, and most houses offer many of these areas,” explain experts at Spencer Pest Services.
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While there are a number of spiders that can invade your home during the extreme heat, there is a specific species to look out for. Taylor Reed of Mother Nature’s Pest Control in Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently told local CBS affiliate News on 6 that they’ve received a spate of calls this summer about brown recluse spiders in people’s homes.
According to Kansas State University Research and Extension, we are in the middle of the brown recluse’s peak active season, which runs from March through October. “Common areas that you find in your home are bedrooms, closets … at the top of the closet corners,” Reed said. “Your hot water closet is a very common area.”
According to Arrow Exterminators, a brown recluse’s venom is even stronger than that of a rattlesnake. This makes them one of the most venomous spiders in the US. “Most bites occur in the summer, when people encounter these spiders in attics, barns, basements, closets, and woodpiles,” Arrow Exterminators experts explain.
According to Orkin, brown recluse spiders usually bite when they feel disturbed or threatened. “Reactions to the bite of the brown recluse spider vary,” they say. “Depending on the bite site and the amount of venom injected, reactions range from mild skin irritation to skin lesions.”
Symptoms of the brown recluse spider bite can include fever, cramps, itching, nausea, and muscle pain. But “in extreme cases, bites from the brown recluse spider can result in necrosis or the death of living cells,” says Orkin. Thankfully, experts say there have been no recorded deaths from brown recluse bites — likely because they typically only release a “small amount of venom,” according to Arrow Exterminators.