Phoenix, AZ: In news of the weird and down right horrifying; a leading arachnologist has confirmed that spiders, do in-fact, crawl on you while you sleep. The average person will swallow several a month, and that’s not even the worst part.
How Many Spiders Do We Swallow In Our Sleep?
Brian Lofton, the lead arachnologist at The University of Phoenix in Phoenix, AZ, claims that during an average night’s sleep, some two or three spiders crawl across your face, neck, and body; depending on the level of infestation in your home.
With a dozen or so spiders parading across your face in a given week while you slumber, it’s inevitable that you’ll swallow a few here and there, said Lofton in a public statement.
“As you sleep, you become a virtual playground for these creeping pests just mere minutes after you fall asleep; inhaling several spiders, swallowing at least two or three during any given month.”
There’s one surefire way to tell if you have spiders crawling on your while you sleep. Lofton continued, You’ll really itch; especially your nose and ears!
While spiders are drawn to the moist and humid areas of the nose and mouth, they will also spend each night laying eggs in your nasal cavities and ear canals. It’s imperative that you blow your nose first thing in the morning after waking. If not, you’ll be overrun with spiderlings as they feast on your brain matter.
It gets worse, Lofton added,
If you are dealing with a trap-door spider infestation; these spiders may make your nasal cavities and ear canals their permanent home. These spiders construct intricate cork-like trapdoors made of spider silk and either earwax or nasal mucus.
Experts agree, to avoid swallowing spiders in your sleep, it’s recommend you take precautions, like professional spider control.
*** Update: The Horrifying Truth About Swallowing Spiders In Your Sleep
The truth is, according to this report, we do not swallow spiders, or rarely any other insect while we sleep. Spiders do not munch on brain matter and will not build a trap-door over your nose or ear cavity. Gotcha!
For those living in spider infested areas, the first thing that comes to mind when we see a spider is, â€œIt’s gonna kill me!â€ The reality is that most spiders can’t kill you. One of the common venomous spiders around is the brown recluse. This spider is easily confused with the wolf spider, but we are here today to make sure you know just what kind of pest you’re dealing with.
Their Basic Stuff
These spiders differ substantially in size and color. Measuring from ½ an inch to 2 inches in length, the wolf spider is much larger and more robust than the brown recluse which measures from a ¼ to ¾ of an inch. The wolf spider is also a darker shade of brown and gray, with tan and a mixture of colors and markings, while the brown recluse is one solid color either a light brown or tan. The legs will sometimes be a little lighter than the body, but in general the same color.
Brown recluse spiders are some of the few species to have only six eyes, seeing as the wolf spider has eight. The brown recluse has 3 pairs arranged laterally and the wolf spider has 3 rows of eyes in the center of its head. Shining a flashlight on the eyes of a wolf spider will cause a glow, which is a great identifying trait. This trait is a quick go to for identify the arachnids.
The Dark Mark
Their main physical difference is the violin shape on the brown recluse’s cephalothorax. Both these spiders are made of two principle body parts. The cephalothorax is the head part where the legs actually extend out from. The abdomen is the bottom â€œbuttâ€ part. The brown recluse has the violin marking on its cephalothorax and the wolf spider has random lines and marks on its abdomen, causing easy confusion with the spiders’ marks.
Other Fun Facts Between Friends
Using its great eyesight the wolf spider is a good and agile hunter. The brown recluse uses webs to hunt. They both like to hide out in garages, basements, and other dark and dry places. Neither of these guys are aggressive, but in contrast both are shy and will only bite if disturbed. Another tip for easy detection of a wolf spider is to check out its back carefully. Wolf spiders carry their spiderlings on their backs until the little guys are ready to hit the big world on their own.
While the wolf spider may be scary looking, it is definitely not as dangerous as the brown recluse. The brown recluse has an extremely poisonous bite and has been known to cause severe reactions in people. So if you’ve identified a brown recluse keep your distance and an eye on it. If either of these two species of crawlers is too much for you too handle be sure to call the spider control guys at Bulwark Exterminating.
Brown Recluse vs Wolf Spider
¼ to ¾ inches
½ to 2 inches
Uniform brown color
Various tan, brown, gray colors
Poisonous bite; may be severe
Bite is non-threatening, may cause slight reaction
Has violin-shaped mark on cephalothorax
Spiderlings commonly on back (abdomen)
Builds webs for prey
Hunts for prey without webs
Found from central Texas to Georgia, and Nebraska to Indiana, including Kentucky and Ohio.
Everywhere except the North Pole Area including most of Greenland, Northern Russia, and North Alaska.
One of the most feared spiders in the United States, also has the worse reputation. I’m referring to the Brown Recluse spider, and unfortunately this bad reputation is well deserved.
The Brown Recluse is dangerous. The Brown Recluse is very venomous. Yes, it bites and one of these Brown Recluse spider bites is very painful and may result in disfiguring skin ulcers. Although rare, these bites can even lead to death. It’s because of the dangerous outcomes of the bites, many homeowners are very cautious when is comes to any spider that even resembles that of a Brown Recluse.
This fear, has lead many of homeowner to jump to conclusions when it comes to the possibilities of a dangerous Brown recluse entering the home. “If it’s a brown spider, it must be a brown recluse, right?” Not exactly.
As this blog is dedicated to pest management professionals, it’s important to touch on the most effective methods most in the industry use to control the Brown Recluse spiders. For those in the industry, it’s no secret that the Brown Recluse is very difficult to control. These spiders avoid contact with the pesticide sprays, for the most part, because they walk elevated on their toes.
Residual pyrethroid insecticide sprays, like Demon®, Demand® CS, Suspend®, TalstarOne®, and Tempo®, appear to offer the best control. Apply this insecticide to the exterior of a home’s foundation, and in the eaves, closets, storage areas, and rugs. Insecticidal dusts, like Tempo® Dust (cyfluthrin), should be applied in wall voids, attics, and inaccessible crawl spaces as well. Dusts penetrate places that cannot be reached by sprays, and often provide longer control.
These Brown Recluse control methods are effective, but only to a certain degree. When it comes to controlling these spiders permanently, sanitation is the key. Clutter in the home and yard must be cleaned up, and webs need to be continually cleared to keep new spiders from continually coming back. Communicating this to your customers is key for long term success in dealing with these dangerous spiders.
Last night I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed when I stumbled upon a supposed â€œUSA Spider Chart.â€ The chart, which is shown below, has numerous false and erroneous spider accusations; something the spider must be well acquainted with by now. One such error happened to be that the Hobo Spider is a deadly and dangerous spider, grouped together with the Black Widow spider and the Brown Recluse spider. See for yourself:
THIS INFORMATION IS WRONG! The Hobo spider that is found in the United States is not deadly, and is not as dangerous as the Black Widow or Brown Recluse. Let’s clear up this common misconception about the misunderstood Hobo spider.
Are Hobo Spiders Dangerous?
Many of us cower in fear at the thought of a spider. If there is even an inkling that the spider might be lethal, we’d run screaming the other direction looking for the nearest flamethrower to take the spider out. It is misconceptions, like that of the Hobo spider, that lead many of us to feel the way we do about spiders.
It was believed for a long time that Hobo spider bites can leave a necrotic (rotting flesh) wound that progresses over several daysâ€”similar to that caused by a Brown Recluse spider bite. In the study entitled The Misdiagnosis of Spider Bites, the venom from a Hobo spider was shown to not produce necrosis in humans, and in didn’t even produce necrosis in rabbits; which was believed to be the case after an earlier study on rabbits was released decades earlier.
Additionally, the study found Hobo spider venom was not deleterious, harmful, dangerous, or toxic to ANY vertebrate red blood cells.
It’s important to note that the Hobo spiders mentioned in the studies and in this blog post are the Hobos that are commonly found in the United States. Hobo spiders found in Australia can have a nasty bite.
How The Hobo Spider Myth Got Started
It’s believed that the Hobo spider myth started after the spider’s venom was injected onto a rabbit decades ago, and it caused necrosis of the rabbit’s skin. The above mentioned study proved the rabbit’s necrosis to be false, as the more recent study performed with up-to-date technology caused no such necrosis. The study also suggests that human related Hobo spider bites do not cause necrosis.
I searched medical literature on Hobo spider bites, looking for instances in which a Hobo spider has caused necrosis or death, and found very little. I did find one case of a verified bite by a Hobo spider that resulted in a necrotic skin lesion, and this was in a person who had a pre-existing medical condition which can also lead to necrotic skin lesions.
The funny thing is that mites, fleas, bed bugs, soft ticks, hard ticks, conenose bugs, and kissing bugs would be far more likely to cause necrotic-type wounds than a Hobo spider bite; pests that don’t have the same rap as spiders do.
As far as I can tell, this Hobo Spider myth got started by fear mongering arachnaphobs perpetrating more spider hate.
Identifying A Hobo Spider
If you are resident of the Pacific Northwest, you are very well acquainted with the Hobo spiderâ€¦ or at least you think you are. The fact is that most people in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah, in which the species is commonly found, refer to any big spider they see as a Hobo spider. As spider control professionals, we have found that many well-intentioned people call non-Hobo spiders as Hobo spiders. Giant House spiders are commonly confused for hobo spiders.
The truth is that Hobo spiders are very difficult to identify by the naked eye. Some people use a spider’s coloration to determine the species. The problem with this is that similar spider species often times overlap in their appearance with Hobos. Even experienced arachnologists have a difficult time identifying Hobo spiders, and rely heavily on hand lenses and microscopes to identify them.
True Hobo spiders are brown, with a large abdomen, and measure in length from 1/4th to 5/8 of an inch long. One of the easiest ways to determine if a spider is indeed a Hobo spider is to look at it’s web-building. Hobo spiders build funnel webs. To identify a Hobo spider with 100% accuracy, the spider in question must have its eyes and reproductive structures examined by an experienced entomologist.
The Brown Recluse spider is also known as a Violin spider because of the violin markings found on it’s back. Because of its extremely venomous and deadly bite, the Brown Recluse is one of worst spider pests. These bites are extremely dangerous. There have been reports of lost appendages and even death because of these painful bites. Spider control efforts must be taken to keep these spiders out of your basements, attics, and garages.
While the Brown recluse is dangerous, it’s a rather shy spider that will only bite when it feels threatened. Bites occur when a hand is placed unknowingly on a spider while moving boxes for instance; or when a spider is inadvertently trapped against a person’s body while getting dressed or crawling in bed.
The Brown Recluse spider is tan in color. Adult spiders are about the size of a U.S. Quarter. The spider has a violin marking on its back, long legs, and is covered with short hairs. They are common in the lower Midwest and the Southeast U.S. They are nighttime hunters that do not use webs to catch insects.
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Every boy growing up watched in amazement as Spiderman was able to shoot webs from his wrists; pulling endangered motorist’s cars off of bridges before they fell hundreds of feet into icy water.
Crooks and bad guys, even those with superhuman strength, were tied up by Spiderman’s webs. Wonderment filled our heads, as we watched all the many possibilities of spider silk.
I remember wishing I could shoot those powerful spider webs at a schoolyard bully or be able to effortlessly swing from my house to a tree branch.
A Century’s Old Question
Apparently I am not the only one who has wanted to unleash the secrets of spider silk.
For decades, scientists have been studying spider silk hoping to unlock its mysteries and apply this knowledge to real world application.
Scientists are now closer than ever to answering the question,
â€œHow does a spider spin a web of silk that is five times stronger, on a weight-to-strength basis, than steel; and how can we manufacture it?â€
The Strength Of Spider Silk
Spider silk is five times stronger, on a weight-to-strength basis, than steel with about 1/6th the density.
Here’s a real world example displaying the strength of silk:
An 1881 Tombstone, Arizona gun fight gave us all an idea of just how strong real silk is. George Emery Goodfellow, a doctor of the times in Tombstone, AZ was examining the deceased after a gunfight. One of the men involved had taken a couple bullets to the chest, but the Dr. Goodfellow couldn’t find a single drop of blood on the man. As he removed his clothing he found a silk handkerchief holding two smashed bullets. Although the man has still died because of the force of the bullets, the silk handkerchief stopped the bullets from piercing the man’s chest.
Solving The Mysteries of Spider Silk
Over the last ten years scientists have unlocked a few portions of the spider silk puzzle, and hope to replicate it. We now know the key proteins used by spiders to spin their silk. Unfortunately, scientists have been unable to translate this knowledge into a technique that would enable the industrial-scale manufacturing of synthetic spider silk that is as powerful as the real stuff.
The problem has always been fairly fundamental. While scientists understood the substances or proteins used by these ingenious spiders, they couldn’t figure out the mechanics of how spiders combine those proteins to make spider silk. When they tried it in their labs, they got inferior productsâ€¦ Until now!
It turns out that a key part of the answer to this complex question is really pretty simple. It’s all in the timingâ€¦ The timing of tiny globular structures.
Tiny Globular Structures
Scientist recently stumbled upon some unusual spider silk features, and a big part of the secret. These features happened to be tiny globular structures called “micelles” which when combined together formed larger and larger gel-like structures. These micelles happened to be the precursors to silk fibers.
Scientists now believe that they can take these micelles, and add some non-silk polymers to it to enlarge them and manufacture spider silkâ€¦ But there is still one challenge.
The Next Challenge
Spiders controlthe water content of the gel to prevent the proteins from crystallizing until they are ready to spin the silk fibers. If the proteins crystallized too soon, the process would fail. Scientists are still trying to unlock this last part of the spider silk puzzle and replicate the process that nature has provided.
Real World Applications of Manufactured Spider Silk: Inspired By Spiderman
Quick urban travel by rapidly firing thin strands of spider silk from building to building
Biomedical devices like artificial tendons and ligaments
Artificial skin for burn victims
Binding captured criminals with a webbing
Bomb stopping bulletproof vests
Biodegradable bottles and packaging
Blindfold an opponent with a thick blob of spider silk
A super strong spider silk polymer for high performance aircraft or motor vehicles
Super strong ropes, nets, seat belts, and parachutes
A massive web cast across a street or alley to snare rapidly-moving persons or vehicles
Spidersare amazing creatures, and so is the silk they spin. Let’s hope scientists can figure out the last few pieces of the spider silk puzzle, so we can all live out our childhood fantasies of becoming Spiderman!
President Barack Obama has earned an itsy-bitsy honor.
Another cool quirk that comes with being the President of the United Statesâ€¦ You get a spider named after you. After discovering 33 new species of spiders in the Southwestern United States, researches have named one after President Barack Obama.
This news coming just days after our 44th U.S. President was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.
The newly discovered species, which bears the commander in chief’s name, is called Aptostichus barackobamai. Good luck pronouncing that one, so we will just stick to calling the newly discovered spider the Barack Obama trapdoor spider. This spider is a type of trapdoor spider that is known for burrowing underground and protecting its layer via a trapdoor made of silk.
The 33 new species of spiders were discovered by Auburn University Museum of Natural History and department of Biological Sciences.
Why A Spider?
There are few details as to why this spider is named after president Obama. Many believe it is because the President is a huge fan of Spiderman in which he once graced the cover.
Not The First Species Named After President Obama
This isn’t the first time a newly discovered species has been named after the President. In 2012, a spangled darter fish was given the official name Etheostoma obama, because of the President’s efforts in the areas of clean energy and environmental protection. Then there’s the recently named and identified â€œObamadon,â€ which is a lizard from the Late Cretaceous era.
President Obama also has dozens of city streets and schools named after him as well. For the complete list, click here.
The Barack Obama Trapdoor Spider: Aptostichus barackobamai
Researchers describe the Barack Obama Trapdoor Spider as one of the most beautiful trapdoor spiders in which they have ever worked with. The spider has gorgeous tiger-striping on its abdomen and measures about 15 millimeters long. It also lacks the spines on its outermost leg segments found on most other trapdoor spiders.
Trapdoor spiders are seldom seen because they spend most their lives in underground burrows. As their name suggests, they build protective trapdoors made from soil, sand and silk, in which they hide behind. They will wait at their burrow entrances at night, until some unperceptive insect comes moseying by. The spider then jumps out, biting the unfortunate insect, and then drags it back into the bottom of its burrow.
Other Celebrities With Spider Names
You have officially reached celebrity status when you get a cool spider named after you! Along with President Obama, other famous people have officially reached celebrity status by being having spiders named after them. A few include: Stephen Colbert, Angelina Jolie, and U2’s front man Bono.
As a bug guy I think it’s pretty cool to have a spider named after you; but having spiders inside your home is completely un-cool, especially is they are the dangerous Black Widow or Brown Recluse spiders. If you are seeing spiders, get spider control from Bulwark Exterminating!