1 in 3 homes are affected at some stage by termite activity. If you put all the costs of damaged caused by floods & fire each year, termites still caused more financial cost.
What is a spider?
Spiders have been on earth for about 300 million years and they haven't changed very much. They didn't have to. They were and still are very successful at what they do.
A spider has two sections to its body with a waist between. It has four pairs of walking legs. Usually six to eight eyes and no antennae or wings. They make and use silk webs. They can inject poison and suck up liquid.
One of the reasons that spiders have been so good at what they do, is that they use their webs in many different ways. (By the way, spider webbing is twice as strong as steel, weight for weight!)
Baby spiders, or spiderlings can use trailing webs to travel to different areas, like parachutes.
Most female spiders use their webs to catch their prey, such as flies, mosquitos or other small insects. Male spiders use their webs for mating.
Methods of Catching Prey
The main method of catching prey is by stretching a web across two or more points of anchor and waiting for flying insects to become ensnared. More ingenious methods include:
* The Mouse spider uses a double sided trapdoor and springs out to grab any prey that wanders too close. The Brown trapdoor spider can hold shut its burrow lid with a force equal to 140 times its own weight!
* The Angler spider sits on a tree branch and uses a line of web with a sticky globule on the end. She uses this by spinning it in circles and fishes for her supper
* Many kinds of Jumping spiders make use of their very powerful forelegs to pounce upon their prey
* The Net Casting spider uses a webbed net which is thrown by the first two pairs of legs over its prey
* The Ant-Mimicking spider fools ants into thinking that he is one of their own kind by keeping one set of legs tucked in. Any dawdling ants pay the price by becoming a tasty meal
First Aid Treatment of Bites
A pressure bandage is used for Funnel Web bites, applied between the bite and the torso. This is used to slow down the movement of the venom. A plastic bag filled with water and a little ice is best for Red-back and other spider bites because it is a much slower acting venom.
Caution! Do not apply a pressure bandage to Red back spider bites as this will only increase the pain.
Sexual Identification: The easiest features to identify spiders of the same species is the difference in body size. The male is usually much smaller, with slender body and longer legs and palps. The males do not usually spin webs except for mating purposes. Biology: All spiders belong to the class Arachnida, have eight legs and two body sections; the cephalothorax and abdomen. The cephalothorax is a combination of a head and thorax found in insects. Palps (sensory organs) and fangs are at the front of the body.
Respiration: Spiders breath through tiny holes in the sides of their bodies (Spiracles) and/or lung books. These allow air to be taken in and conveyed through small tubes directly to internal organs. Always seen on the ventral surface of the abdomen, lung-books can be seen on the Sydney Funnelweb spider as prominent orange-red plates behind the junction of the legs with the body.
Senses: Most spiders have three or four pairs of eyes, on the top and sides of the Cephalothorax. Each eye is a simple lens. The arrangement of the eye patterns makes an identification process for families and genera. The bodies of spiders and other arachnids are covered with spines used for touch and taste. They can even hear through spines on their legs!
Reproduction: Courtship of spiders is usually protracted, mostly by the male. This involves gently stroking the female with his pedipalps when in close range. Web spinning spiders drum on the threads of the web, as in a serenade. The female spider seems to be intoxicated by all this attention and becomes inactive.
The male reproductive organ is located in the pedipalpi and conveys seminal fluid to the spermatheca of the female. After fertilization, the male is often caught and eaten by the female, ensuring that she is well nourished and a caring mother.
Life Cycle: The egg sac of the fertilized female spider is a round tough mass of silken threads enclosing hundreds of eggs. The eggs hatch inside the egg sac and the young spiders (spiderlings) moult before they emerge. Once emerged they are dispersed by ballooning in the air by producing a thread which is carried by the wind. They go through a succession of moults until they reach adulthood. Any limbs that are lost during moulting or fights with other spiders are replaced by new ones.
Their life cycle is usually less than 12 months for webbing spiders, but some ground-dwelling spiders may have a life cycle of many years.
Dangerous Spiders: There are nine Australian Spiders whose venom ranges from extremely toxic to resulting in painful bites. Common sense and awareness will safeguard most people from the danger of attack. These spiders are as listed below:
SYDNEY FUNNELWEB-(FEMALE) Similar in appearance with a stockier body than the male. Lives in web-lined retreats in moist, cool locations. The female although less toxic than the male, has caused fatalities, mainly amongst the young, old and sick population.
SYDNEY FUNNELWEB-(MALE) The most dangerous spider in the world is the male Sydney Funnel Web. It has killed three children in under two hours. This spider is quickly identified by a glossy black body with long spinnerets. An aggressive spider which rears up when challenged. His venom is seven times as toxic as the female, yet is dangerous only to primates. Secondary identification is a pointed spur on each second leg and reddish black undersides.
HUNTSMAN Grey to brown spider with large very leggy body. Lives under bark during day and emerges during night. Walks sideways on occasion. Non-toxic and rarely bites. Is known to hide under sun-visors in cars.
RED-BACK This spider has a pea-shaped abdomen with a characteristic red or orange stripe. The male is much smaller and harmless. Makes untidy webs around rubbish and pot plants. Poison is much slower acting than the Funnel Web and bites causes severe pain with localised sweating. Is related to the Black Widow spider of the U.S.A. and the Katipo of New Zealand. Around 300 spider bites are recorded every year from the Red-Back with seven fatalities attributed.
MOUSE SPIDER Females often mistaken for Funnelwebs. Large glossy black bodied spider, with the male having a red forepart of the cephalothorax. Female lives in holes with double doors in the ground. Has blunted spinnerets and strong jaws. Toxic and painful bite.
BLACK HOUSE SPIDER Both sexes are dark brown to grey/black with body markings. Builds webs in dark corners of windows, verandahs, sheds or fences. Bite very painful with severe vomiting and nausea resulting. No fatalities recorded..
WHITE TAILED SPIDER A small dark brown spider with a characteristic white spot on the end of the abdomen. Usually encountered inside houses sheltering from the weather or introduced on clothing brought in from the clothes line. Bite is not usually painful, though may become very painful at a later stage. Ulcers may develop to a stage where necrosis of the skin occurs.
WOLF SPIDER Mottled grey and brown body with Union Jack appearance on cephalothorax. Carries young on its back. Makes web-lined holes in the ground. Moves rapidly when disturbed. Bite may be toxic and painful for a short while. Ulcers from bite suspected of developing necrosis of skin.
BROWN TRAPDOOR Brown to dark brown covered with fine hairs. Leggy spider with male having "Boxing glove" palps. Does not usually leave lid over hole. Painful bite.