Feb 19, 2010
CONTACTS: Ed Bechinski, (208) 885-5972, email@example.com
Written by Marlene Fritz
University of Idaho Extension Publications Help Idahoans Manage their Concerns about Creepy, Crawly Critters
MOSCOW, Idaho—Western black widow spiders relish the dark corners of utility rooms and crawl spaces, but they’re just as likely to be found under rocks, low bushes or woodpiles in Idaho yards. Hobo spiders frequent household floors from mid-July to the first killing frost, but if there’s a spider on your ceiling or high on your wall, it’s probably not a hobo.
No human deaths have ever been attributed to spiders in Idaho, said Ed Bechinski, University of Idaho entomology professor, but the captivating critters often top the list of humans’ everyday fears.
“They’re people’s worst nightmare,” said Bechinski, lead author of University of Idaho Extension’s recently released publication, “Homeowner Guide to Spiders around the Home and Yard.”
“People’s reactions to spiders are grossly exaggerated in terms of the potential harm they can cause,” he said. Yes, do wear gloves when gardening or cleaning the garage and “if you’re ever bitten by a black widow or hobo spider” seek immediate medical attention to minimize the effects. But declaring “all-out” war on everything with eight legs is “totally unnecessary, for the most part.”
The informative 28-page publication includes life-size diagrams and color photographs of the overwhelmingly harmless “even beneficial” spiders that inhabit Idaho’s homes and gardens. It also includes detailed information on black widows and hobos and on the yellow sac spiders whose bites are likely less symptomatic but far more frequent. It even discusses brown recluse spiders, which Bechinski says don’t occur in Idaho at all.
The spider publication is part of a family of University of Idaho Extension publications on spiders and their relatives. Three other “Homeowner Guides” released last fall focus on pillbugs, sowbugs, centipedes, millipedes and scorpions, revealing their natural role and discussing how to manage or prevent their wanderings into homes. Readers learn that:
- pillbugs and sowbugs breathe with gills and can live to be relentlessly debris-recycling 2-year-olds
- centipedes run briskly by pulling forward with one side of their bodies while pushing backward with the other
- millipedes just creep along, because all of their legs move stodgily but steadfastfully in the same direction
- five species of scorpions skedaddle through Idaho and, although all of them can sting people defensively, none poses a significant threat to human health, unless those humans happen to be allergic to their venom
Co-authors include Frank Merickel, Dennis Schotzko and Craig Baird. Readers can download the four new “Homeowner Guides” by visiting http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edComm/catalog.asp and selecting first Pests and Pesticides, then Insects. While there, download other “Homeowner Guides” to bees, minor stinging insects, yellowjackets, bald-faced hornets and paper wasps.
In addition to downloading the spider publication for free, readers can order it by visiting the Web site or by calling (208) 885-7982, faxing (208) 885-4648 or writing firstname.lastname@example.org. The order cost is $5, plus shipping and handling, with Idaho residents adding 6 percent sales tax.