Thursday, September 19, 2013

More houses plus spider news

A crew is digging another hole for another house.  Sales certainly seem to be booming here this summer!  This will be a new home at Site 1259 on the corner of Shaded Cactus and Cole Circle.

The big triple wide house over on Granite Drive by the golf course is coming together.

We didn't take any photos of the other construction projects today.  While workers are very busy, the photos start to all look alike until a major cosmetic change takes place.  Thus, I shall revert to some nature news.

I love to watch the crazy grackles when the males stretch their necks as tall as can be to establish dominance.  We stopped to watch them this morning as we were in no hurry to go anywhere.  It was only 73 degrees with 20% humidity and it felt WONDERFUL to be outdoors.  Pretty reflection off the pond too.

This time of year, we need to carry a duster broom with us to every house we enter as the daddy-long-leg spiders are so abundant.  They really love these sheltered doorways.  Daddy-long-legs aren't poisonous and are really quite beneficial because they devour other insects....but they still give me the creeps and I prefer that they don't live on MY house.

This is not a daddy's web but I tried to get a picture of it anyway as it glistened in the sunlight. 

This line up of webs doesn't show up too well, but if you look along the edge, you see one web after another along the house and driveway.  

The spiders seem to be overly abundant this year so after these web photos, I decided to do some research on the internet with my friend Wikipedia.
Image from internet
Daddy-long-legs are araneomorph spiders which kill and digest their prey using venom. However there is no scientific basis for the urban myth that daddy-long-legs are the most venomous, poisonous or toxic spiders in the world.
Daddy-long-legs spiders have venom glands and fangs but their tiny fangs are fused at the base (uncate) however brown recluse spiders fangs are also uncate and they can certainly bite humans!  As far as Dr Mike Gray (senior arachnologist at the Australian Museum) knows, there is no evidence in the scientific literature to suggest that the venom of daddy-long-legs could harm humans. There is also not much scientific evidence to suggest whether or not they can bite humans, this seems to be part of the myth as well!!
However daddy-long-legs kill and eat other spiders, including Redback Spiders whose venom CAN be fatal to humans. Perhaps this is the origin of the rumour that daddy-long-legs are the most venomous spiders in the world. It might be argued that if they can kill a deadly spider, they must be even more deadly themselves, but daddy-long-legs only need to be quicker to bite, not more venomous.

That info still didn't satisfy my curiosity about why so many spiders this year so I called Wade Paupst from Sunstate Pest Control (by FAR my favorite recommended pest control service!).  

My first question:  Why so many spiders this year?

Answer:  Because we had an unusually wet humid summer, it caused billions of small insects to flourish....flies, gnats, little beetles, etc. which provides a fantastic food supply for spiders.  When food supplies are plentiful, all species become prolific.

Next Question:  Why doesn't the monthly spray eliminate the spiders on the house?   

Answer:  Spiders basically travel on the wind by spinning a web on a breezy day.  They land from one tree to another or one house to another without touching the ground.  Once on a building, they go about building their own condominium or conglomerate of fellow spiders.  Their food is basically small flying insects so they gather and spin webs high above to catch their food.  

The chemicals sprayed around the base of a house are primarily for insects.  Spiders (and scorpions by the way) are arachnids and have a different kind of nervous system so they aren't affected by the chemicals like insects are.  Insects walk through the chemical and then try to clean themselves thereby ingesting the chemical.  We try to eliminate scorpions by destroying their food source which is primarily crickets and roaches.  A light mist of chemical can be sprayed up above to kill spiders, but it isn't a good practice to spray air borne chemicals.

Wade tries to sweep away the webs from doorways as he sprays our houses but says it is rather hopeless this year because of the heavy population of the critters.  He purchases industrial brushes for sweeping the webs and says he has gone through five of them already this season.

Thank you, Wade!!  You are a wealth of information.  I'm sure this info will be useful to all our residents as they return to their web covered homes this fall.  

Next I had to google for spider cartoons.


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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:31 PM

    Do you have any information about the 5 homes that have been vandalized? Do they have any ideas who the culprits are?


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