Knoxville Pest Companies Respond To Spike In Spider Infestations

Knoxville Pest Companies Respond To Spike In Spider Infestations

Raishad Hardnett
July 18th, 2017


As temperatures continue to rise in East Tennessee, some pests are becoming more active.

Several Knoxville pest control companies say calls are flooding in this summer more than past years, especially for spider infestations.

Calls are ringing off the hook at Russell’s Pest Control company, where staff are now receiving 20 to 30 calls per week for spider problems alone.

“Spiders especially have skyrocketed this year,” said Brian Smith, service manager for Russell’s Pest Company. “It wasn’t as active last year. It was very hot, but very dry, and there wasn’t a lot of rain. We’ve had a good amount of rain this year.”

Across Knoxville, at least three pest companies report a rise in spider-related calls, including a venomous spider called the Brown Recluse.

The spider, identified by a violin-shaped torso, can be found all over the South, from East Tennessee to Oklahoma. Smith said they are usually more prevalent in the Midwest than East Tennessee, but multiple companies say calls are becoming increasingly more common.

One company, Dayton’s Pest Control, reported about half a dozen calls for Brown Recluse in the past month. Experts say that is not overly prevalent, but still more than usual for East Tennessee.

Last week, another Knoxville company, Frogg’s Pest Control, responded to a home littered with them.

“The Brown Recluse gets a lot of attention because of the severity of the bite,” said Smith. “Their venom can cause flesh and muscle to deteriorate.”

However, experts at the University of California Riverside found “90 percent of Brown Recluse bites are not medically significant, and heal very nicely often without medical intervention.” 

Smith said the spider is likely to live in more homes than many people realize, due to their secluded nature. Exterminating the spiders is tricky, however, because they hide in nooks and crannies, often making glue traps more effective than pesticides.

“We try to put a lot of glue boards, a lot of monitors out to try to catch those spiders because they are so reclusive,” Smith said.

Smith said Russell’s Pest Control is beefing up staff to handle the uptick in pest calls.

If you do find Brown Recluse in your home, your best move may be to call the professionals.

Are Black Widow Spiders Dangerous?

Are Black Widow Spiders Dangerous?

All spiders have venom, but the venom of the black widow spider is particularly potent. This is because the black widow takes down much larger prey than most spiders. They don’t just eat flies and gnats. These robust arachnids can take down and feed on caterpillars, beetles, scorpions, cockroaches, grasshoppers, and other large insects. But what is most impressive is that they will also take down mice, lizards, and even snakes. This is not a spider you want to tangle with.

Will a bite from a black widow lead to death?

A black widow bite can be fatal, but it is rare, especially in the United States where medical treatment for black widow bites is quickly accessible. It is, however, a bite that is usually unpleasant enough to make you wish you were dead. Symptoms may include severe pain in the bite area, as well as in the chest, belly, and back; muscle aches that start near the bite wound and spread through the entire body; chills, sweating, fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, and even shock. A bite from the black widow is especially threatening to those who have a heart condition because the venom often causes a spike in blood pressure. If you, or someone you’re with, is bitten by a black widow spider, seek medical attention immediately.

How do I protect myself from a black widow bite?

If you are away from home, the best way to protect yourself from a bite is to recognize a black widow spider web when you see one. These webs don’t look like those perfect webs you see as part of Halloween decorations. These spiders make a tangled web from strong fibers and usually place them in locations that are near the ground.

Bites from this spider usually occur when this spider is brought into contact with the skin. If you are at home, here are some ways you can protect yourself:

  • Be careful, or wear gloves, when flipping things over in your yard.

  • Be careful when opening boxes that have come out of storage.

  • Shake clothing before you put those items on, especially if they have been on the floor.

  • Shake towels before you use them.

  • Turn footwear upside down and give them a good shake before slipping your foot in.

  • Pull your bedding down and examine the sheets before you get into bed.

  • Reduce habitats in your yard by reducing clutter and ground holes.

If you’ve seen black widow spiders on your property, and you live in our Tennessee service area, you can trust the QualityPro Certified team here at Russell’s Pest Control to help protect you from an accidental encounter with these potent spiders. Reach out to us for quick assistance.