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A ‘spider-y time’: Central Virginia pest control companies report uptick in calls

Notice bundles of translucent webs in the corners of your house or a spider swinging from your light fixtures? You’re not alone. Late summer and fall is spider season in Central Virginia, and local pest control companies are getting plenty of calls.

“It seems like the calls for spiders have been a little bit more than usual the last couple of weeks,” a representative for Green Pest Services told The Daily Progress. “This season every year is a pretty spider-y time.”

Other employees at pest control companies agreed: It’s a buggy time of year. That helps to explain why there might be more spiders around, as the predatory arachnids eat centipedes, ants and flies.

That’s why Denise Aranoff, vice president of marketing at American Pest, isn’t doing anything about the “little web” above her sink.

“They’re not hurting me, and they’re taking care of those fruit flies,” Aranoff said. American Pest operates in Maryland, Washington and Virginia.

Most spiders won’t hurt you. Upwards of 90% of spider species cannot bite, and the vast majority are not harmful to humans. While some houses might get wolf spiders, which aren’t often associated with webs, most will get smaller spiders.

“Those who do bite tend to have to chew on you for a while. It’s more of a defensive fight,” Joe Hicks, owner of James River Pest Solutions, told The Daily Progress. He called this season a “buggy” time of year, with a normal activity of spiders.

While wolf spiders are larger and harder to miss, most indoor spiders are “tiny,” Conrad Lions, Charlottesville branch manager at American Pest, told The Daily Progress. “They’re never going to hurt you, but think of all the good they do in keeping down the other insects.”

Alongside prime pickings for hunting, the increase in spiders in late summer and early fall may have to do with reproduction. Spider eggs start to hatch around the late summer months, before the weather starts to turn, Lions said. Small hatchlings make webbing and cast it in the wind, then float in the wind currents until latching on to trees, houses or sheds and repopulating.

“You’ll see a lot of baby spiders floating through the air,” said Chris, the representative from Green Pest Services.

Then, it’s “happy hunting,” Lions said. Spiders might set up in the bottoms of lights, where bugs tend to hang out. That’s why you’re likely to see webbing on street lamps and “caked” on the lights in parking garage decks.

Aranoff recalled sitting in her living room recently, when a small spider began to drop right over her head. “How is it that they know where to drop?” she asked before pointing out she was sitting right underneath a lamp.

Most pest control companies will de-web a house during quarterly service calls, removing webs with brushes treated with insecticide.

That’s the “proactive” nature of the pest control industry, which designs programs to be one step ahead of the game, Lions said.

“Right now it would be spiders, crickets and ants, and then later we’ll turn to rodents in the fall,” he said. “Unfortunately for people, spiders are one of the most feared creatures on the planet.”

Lions recalled having to power wash the outside of one house in Richmond to get rid of the webbing, which was too thick to remove with a brush. Although that one looked like a “haunted house,” most issues with spiders aren’t that bad, especially with quarterly services from pest control companies.

“There are always going to be uninvited friends that are going to be in the house,” Aranoff said. “We’re like your alarm and security system to provide monitoring, ongoing service so you don’t have an incident that will happen.


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