It’s no secret that summers in New Orleans are hot and sticky. It’s one of the country’s most famous environmental attributes, along with winters in Wisconsin being cold, and the skies in Washington state being overcast.
This summer however, has been unusually dry in addition to our record high temperatures, with the New Orleans area experiencing record lows of precipitation. This has made gardening especially very difficult, as hot and dry climates tend to make plants more susceptible to disease and infestation.
Additionally, the unusual dry weather changes how insects, arachnids, and other pest animals behave as their sources of food are removed or altered. We in the pest control industry know to expect swarms of spiders and termites in the last months of this summer.
We thought we’d explain why that might happen, and offer some tips about avoiding damage to your property or garden from the expected higher numbers later this summer.
Why the influx of spiders?
In order to understand why spiders swarm, you have to know about spiders in general. They prefer to live in warm, moist, and dark places, which the southern states like Louisiana offer in abundance.
This means that spiders are typically found in brush piles, underneath potted plants, in crawl spaces, in wood piles, or underneath garbage cans. They also tend to make their way into houses, where they live in dark corners, especially storage areas & laundry rooms.
Spiders are very afraid of humans and will almost always run away if they are disturbed. Most in our area, with the exception of the brown widow, brown recluse, and black widow, are not dangerous to humans.
To really understand spiders, however, you have to realize that they are predators, and a very specific type of predator at that.
Most predators that we think of, such as bobcats or foxes, are hunters. They stalk or hound their prey until they move in and make a kill. Spiders, on the other hand, wait.
Our famously scary-looking & aptly named wolf spider being the prime exception, most spiders spin webs, wait for insects to be caught in those webs, and then kill and eat their prey. This means that spiders have to live where their prey lives.
In a situation like this summer in the New Orleans area, insects are disturbed from their normal patterns because of the lack of food. This means that spiders are also moving, which isn’t common behavior for them.
That’s what makes it seem like spiders are swarming in very hot and dry weather. We at Fischer Environmental can offer tips and help with controlling insects that will, in turn, control where spiders go.
Is Louisiana expecting fall termite swarms?
In the same way that a dry summer means later swarms of insects and spiders, it also means that termite swarms are expected in the fall. This is because the lack of moisture means that they have to move around to find sources of food. Since the houses we live in tend to offer the kinds of things that termites are after, they might end up trying to infest your home.
We can help with pest reduction, but there are also steps you can take on your own to prevent termite infestation. Make sure your home is good repair, because termites thrive off of rotting wood and can easily gain access through unsealed or cracking siding.
Keep your attics and crawlspaces well ventilated and dry. Like spiders, they thrive in a dark, moist environment. Finally, make sure to use proper downspouts for your rainwater, rather than letting it just soak everything, which offers termites exactly what they want.
Bug swarms are annoying to deal with, but with a little forewarning and planning ahead, they can be dealt with quite easily. Contact the environmental management experts at Fischer Environmental for a free inspection today and make sure your home is safe!
Filed in: Pest Control