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New Book Explores the Misunderstood Lives of Common Spiders

Filed under: New Jersey Spider Control,NJ Spider Control,Spider Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:07 pm October 27, 2017

New Book Explores the Misunderstood Lives of Common Spiders

24183849 - zebra jumping spider - salticus scenicus

It’s that time of year when spiders are out and about inside your home trying to find a mate, and one entomologist decided to write a book about our common house spiders to try and help us understand these misunderstood houseguests or ours. Dr. Eleanor Spicer Rice co-authored Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Spiders with biologist Chris Buddle, and it is set to be released in January 2018 by University of Chicago Press. Her journey of writing this book started with her being terrified at the sight of these creepy crawly arachnids while she was doing her research, but through the process her initial fear ended up turning into fascination once she began to understand the lives of these common spiders that live amongst us. “After I learned more about them and what they did in the world, I started to like them. And then I started to love them.”

One of her favorite common house spiders is the cellar spider (Pholcus phalangioides). The cellar spider is one of the many spiders feared across the country that lives in our homes and scares the crap out of us when we happen upon one. Dr. Spicer Rice, however, learned to love these creatures, respecting how they live and the actual good they do for us humans. Cellar spiders actually go around eating other spiders that live in our homes. In the dark cracks of your house these spiders will search for another spider’s web, placing its lanky legs on the threads once it finds one and make them tremble slightly to mimic the same kind of vibrations a trapped insect would make. Scientists call this act “aggressive mimicry” or their “death dance.” When the hungry owner of the web creeps out to eat what they think is a captured meal they quickly discover they are the actual prey. The cellar spider then tosses its own silk web over it, wrapping it up tightly and then eating it. But, they don’t stop there. After eating the web’s owner, to add insult to injury, they then eat all of the bugs that were already caught by the web of the eaten spider.

Spiders like the cellar spider have a bad reputation, but they have many traits that actually benefit humans. They act as a kind of natural pest control in many areas of our homes, with cellar spiders eating mosquitos and woodlice in addition to their spider brothers and sisters. Lynx spiders are a godsend to farms, where they roam around eating agricultural pests. They are also not quite the danger to us that we think. Most spiders have no interest in biting people, as opposed to other insects like mosquitos and ticks that feed on human blood. You might want to check out Dr. Spicer Rice’s book in the new year, and see how it changes your opinion of the spiders living with you.

What kind of spider do you see most often around your house? Are you afraid of the spiders in your house and why?



New Peacock Spider Species Discovered in Australia Are as Colorful as Their Namesake

Filed under: Spider Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:14 pm September 13, 2017

New Peacock Spider Species Discovered in Australia Are as Colorful as Their Namesake

Scientists have discovered a number of new species and subspecies of peacock spiders in Australia this year. While this species is already known for its colorful formations similar to a peacock’s feathers on its body, these new additions are making headlines with their new striking colors and patterns.

As with real peacocks, the sex of peacock spiders can be easily discovered, as the males are the ones with brightly colored patterns on their bodies, which are designed to attract the less flashy females to mate with them. Each new species has very distinctive coloring and patterns, and so are easy to distinguish from one another.

The Cristatus peacock spider’s back is covered with a pattern resembling the Union Jack, which should make it easy for non-scientists to recognize. This new species also has eight plumes of long white hairs sticking up from the back, somewhat like the plume of feathers that make up a peacock’s tail, which is a characteristic shared with no other peacock spider species.

Another new species discovered has been dubbed the Electricus spider due to the rather arresting pattern made up of parallel red lines on its back, which looks somewhat like a circuit board. The trigonus spider stands out amongst peacock spiders as having a white crown at the tips of its abdomen, a feature not shared by any other species of peacock spider.

The species that has caught the most attention is the Maratus personatus spider, also known as the “blueface” spider. The males of this species sport a distinctive bright blue mask on its back, which it uses court and lure females. Unlike other peacock spiders, which have a fan-like abdomen that they extend when trying to attract females, the blueface spider relies on the eye-catching blue mask with its white-colored banding to draw the ladies’ attention. These peacock spiders actually flap their fans; similar to the way a male peacock spreads his tail, and raise a single leg, which they wave at the females to get their attention. These spiders are quite the bright spectacle when it comes to their mating rituals.

Can you think of any other insects that use their bright colors to attract females? How do the males use these brightly colored appendages to catch the female’s attention?

Golden Silk Made By 1 Million Spiders

Filed under: Spider Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:16 pm September 12, 2017

Golden Silk Made By 1 Million SpidersNew Jersey Spider Control

By now numerous scientists have figured out how to make cloth out of spider silk and it is even being used in clothes marketed to the public now. But did you have any idea that certain spiders could be used to make colored silk, specifically a rare golden silk? A rare eleven by four foot golden cloth made out of the silk from one million golden orb spiders from Madagascar was made Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, as well as a team of 70 people that were sent out to find all the spiders and another dozen handlers to actually extract the silk from said spiders, and put on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Simon Peers, a textile expert, actually recreated a small, 24 spider silking machine that was developed at the turn of the century by the French missionary Jacob Paul Camboué, which is capable of extracting silk from around 24 spiders at the same time without harming them. Speers and his partner Godley then sent a group of 70 people to collect golden orb spiders from countless telephone poles around Madagascar; a task that took around four years. The two were amazed when they stuck the spiders in the machine and gold-colored silk started coming out.

They had to find dozens of spider handlers to help them collect and then extract the silk from these spiders to create the beautiful golden cloth. This was not an easy task, as you might be able to imagine, since finding people willing to work with spiders is difficult when said spiders tend to bite them back. Once they extracted all of the golden silk from these spiders, they released them all back into the wild, where they are able to regenerate their spider-silk-milk in a mere week, letting the team actually collect and milk the same spiders over and over again. Godley commented, “We can go back and re-silk the same spiders,” he said. “It’s like the gift that never stops giving.”

This was incredible project, especially when you realize that this was done way back in 2009 and the years leading up to the cloth’s completion. It was the first cloth made entirely out of spider silk. We’ve come quite a long way in the field of creating fabric out of spider silk since then, but certainly couldn’t have if not for these pioneers.

Have you ever seen any silk cloth made from spiders? Do you think spider silk clothing is going to be the preferred fabric of the future?

Do Movie-Makers Use Real Spiders For Movies?

Filed under: Spider Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:07 pm May 3, 2017

Do Movie-Makers Use Real Spiders For Movies?

So have you ever wondered if the spiders that you see in movies are real or not? If they are real, then does that mean that the spiders have to be trained? Is it even possible to train a spider? According to Frank Marshall, the second unit director on the 1990 film Arachnophobia, spiders cannot be trained. Frank Marshall has some skill when it comes to training difficult animals. For movies like Indiana Jones, Marshall managed to train venomous snakes to act how he wanted them to. Marshall has showed his animal training skills in a plethora of other movies. These animals include everything from snakes to dogs. However, Marshall claims that spiders are a different matter entirely.

Arachnophobia was Marshall’s directorial debut, and after he spent a bit of time with the spiders he realized that they would not be so easy to train. This is when Marshall hired “spider wranglers” to work with the spiders on set. These spider wranglers had to handle more than one hundred spiders at one time. The six spider wranglers spent most of their time coaxing the live spiders into plastic containers.

For the movie five different types of spiders were used during filming, and none of the five spiders were anything like the hairy eight inch bird-eating spider that plays the lead spider in the movie. The filmmakers settled on a little known spider that is native to New Zealand. This spider is known as the delena spider. The delena spider was chosen after the filmmakers literally auditioned many different spiders. The filmmakers referred to these auditions as “spider olympics”. For the audition different spiders had to perform certain tasks, such as climbing up a wall, climbing onto a piece of string and climbing into glass. It sounds more like Fear Factor, only for spiders.

Do you believe that there are any spider species that can be trained to perform simple tasks? Which species would that be in your opinion?

What Is The Difference Between An Arachnid And A Spider? New Jersey Spider Control

Filed under: New Jersey Spider Control,NJ Spider Control,Spider Control — Tags: , , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 9:39 am January 24, 2017

What Is The Difference Between An Arachnid And A Spider? New Jersey Spider Control

Many people use the term “spider” and “arachnid” interchangeably, but do these words mean the same thing as everyone assumes? I personally have always assumed that an arachnid and a spider were one and the same thing. Actually, arachnids include a variety of different creepy crawlies that you probably had no idea were actually arachnids, but not spiders.

There are, in fact, eleven orders of arachnids. These include such bugs like scorpions, mites, ticks, harvestmen, psuedoscoprions, whipscorpions, solpugids, and last, but not least, spiders. Experts compare people’s confusion between arachnids and spiders in the same way that the relation between beetles and insects is misunderstood. Many people, even some experts, don’t realize that beetles are only one order of insect, the coleoptera. And obviously not all insects are beetles, just as not all arachnids are spiders. And that is the end of that.

Are there any other types of arachnids that were not listed in the article?

The Spider That Is So Venomous It Made It Into The Guinness Book | New Jersey Spider Control

Filed under: New Jersey Spider Control,Spider Control — New Jersey Pest Control @ 9:53 am January 17, 2017

The Spider That Is So Venomous It Made It Into The Guinness Book | New Jersey Spider Control

When I think of dangerous spiders I’d rather not meet in a dark alley the first ones that come to my mind are the black widow spider and the brown recluse. However, these two arachnids don’t hold a candle to the Brazilian wandering spider. They are so venomous that in 2010 the Guinness Book of World Records named them the most venomous spider in the world. Basically their ridiculously toxic venom can easily take out a human. Now, lucky for us, an antivenom exists, so if you can make it to a hospital soon enough, you might be lucky enough to survive their bite. Let me emphasize that even with the antivenom death is still a definite possibility. Thankfully, these spiders are located in the tropical South and Central Americas, so if you just stay away from those rainforests, you should be safe from the Brazilian wandering spider…unless it decides to wander up towards the U.S. that is…

What other kinds of spiders scare you to death? Have you ever been bitten by one and had to go to the hospital?

Do All Black Widows Eat Their Male Mates? | New Jersey Spider Control

Do All Black Widows Eat Their Male Mates? | New Jersey Spider ControlBlack Widow Spider

Most of us assume that female black widows always eat their mates after copulation. However, female black widows don’t eat their mates that often, but that does not stop professional entomologists from writing about how females eat male widows after mating. There are even newer textbooks on the market that present this cannibalistic phenomenon as though it is a normal part of Black Widow behavior. It seems as though the authors of entomology textbooks are simply copying off of each other while not actually studying black widows in the wild.

For one thing, there exists many different species of black widow with some more prone to eat their male mates than others. There exists three different black widow species in the United States alone. However, not all black widow species are so innocent of murder. Every once in awhile the black widows that dwell in the southeastern region of the US may attempt to kill their male mates, but the males typically live to see another day. And as for the other two species of black widow that dwell in America, mate cannibalism has never once been observed. Now, black widow mating behavior is a different story in the southern hemisphere.

Are there any species of female black widow that exist in the world that consume their male sexual partners after every reproductive activity? If there are such black widows, then where on the planet can they be found?

HAZMAT Suited Firefighting Team Dispatched To Contain A Single Spider

Filed under: New Jersey Spider Control,NJ Spider Control,Spider Control — Tags: , , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:25 am December 19, 2016

After a spider was spotted in a shipping container a panic ensued. Ten different firefighters, all decked out in HAZMAT suits, were dispatched to the alleged location of the very important spider. So why all fear over a single spider that a person only claimed to have spotted? New Jersey Spider ControlLooking for New Jersey Spider Control Experts? Call us today for a free estimate!

Well, the arachnid in question was, after all, the Brazilian wandering spider. These spiders produce a venom that can ultimately destroy a human male’s ability to achieve an erection, so now you can understand the HAZMAT suits.

The BWS transmits a venom through its bite that will cause a painful erection that won’t subside naturally. Even after a few hours of avoiding treatment, the male genitalia can become completely nonfunctional. If that horrific scenario is not enough to make you cringe, then it must be mentioned that bite victims can straight up die from the venom’s resulting oxygen depriving effects on the human body. I think that it is great that people today are becoming less fearful of spiders and insect, but when it comes to humans’ relationship to the wandering spider, I don’t think humans will embrace this particular arachnid.

Are there any other arthropods that possess venom that induces sexual dysfunction?

How Salt Benefits Some Spiders

Filed under: New Jersey Spider Control,Spider Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:59 pm December 14, 2016

Humans can survive brutally cold winters with much greater success than every kind of bug species. Even if a grasshopper could throw on a parka and muffs it would still die from the extreme cold since spiders cannot regulate their internal temperatures, in other words, spiders are cold blooded. It has been commonly assumed that spiders could not alter their blood temperatures through natural physiological processes, like humans can. However, recent research is telling a different story.New Jersey Spider Control

According to a recently published scholarly article from NYU, a researcher discovered that insects can control their internal bodily temperatures indirectly by influencing the levels of salt present in their circulatory systems. The cold weather causes the insect’s blood to move into its gut, which will result in a fatal buildup of potassium in the spider’s internal structures, successfully killing it. It’s clear that without salt spiders would end up six feet under every winter.

Do you believe another factor is responsible for preventing the deaths of spiders during the winter?

Not All Male Spiders Turn Out To Be Bad Fathers | New Jersey Spider Control

Filed under: Spider Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 7:34 am December 6, 2016

Given all the different species of arachnid that exist, you would still be hard pressed to find an example of a spider species where the males care for their offspring. The vast majority of male spiders abandon their offspring immediately. You can contact us today for New Jersey Spider Control services!New Jersey Spider Control

The species of solitary spider known as M. Porreca is, so far, the only solitary species of spider that shows paternal care. These protective spider-fathers will risk their lives to protect the mother’s egg sacs from predators. In addition to offering protection, these fatherly spiders will even tidy up the nest and web every once in awhile.

Most of the time, after a male spider mates with a female, the male will go skittering away as quickly as it can in order to avoid being eaten by his female mate. This solitary spider, on the other hand, will build a nest on top of the female’s nest so that it can stand guard for its family. Entomologists are now learning more about the conditions necessary to make paternal care beneficial for spiders.

Do you think that the female has any benefits to gain by refraining from eating her male mate? Why don’t other spider mothers retain the father for particular duties?

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