Brown Recluse Spider Population Booming

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Putting on his shorts was the beginning of a traumatic experience for Austin Scott.

"It was probably about 5:45 p.m. on June 4th," Scott said. "I will never forget the time and day when it happened."

Nor will he forget the 61 days of frustration that followed that brown recluse spider bite.

Scott documented each day, and the four doctor visits, with a picture on Facebook. The pictures show the bite at all its stages.

Few people have as severe as a reaction as Scott. But this year, more and more people are being bitten and seeing those brown recluse spiders in their home.

"This is one of the worst populations I've seen and I've been at this for thirty years," said Michael Patton, President of Patton Termite and Pest Control in Wichita.

Patton says thanks to a mild winter, the brown recluse population didn't take the hit it normally does.

"We were getting calls in May about the presence of brown recluses throughout homes and normally we don't get those kinds of calls until August or September," Patton said.

With the hot and dry weather this summer, Patton says the increase isn't slowing down.

He says getting rid of a brown recluse problem in your home is not easy because of how the spiders are structured. Most sprays are ineffective.

"They are difficult to kill, they don't pick up and absorb insecticides in their feet pads like roaches will," Patton said.

That means you'll need special insecticides or powders such as diatomaceous earth. Professionals at local pest control companies are often best equipped to provide that service.

But he says a good place to start is placing sticky pad traps in key places in your home.

"It catches them while they are out looking for their prey and it tells you the numbers you have, what direction they are coming from, and the age of population," Patton said.

That's just what Scott has done and after his experience he has another suggestion.

"Don't leave anything on the floor like clothing and, if you do, shake it out," Scott said. "I do that with everything now."

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