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Spiders are familiar to almost everyone. They are found virtually everywhere. They are commonly associated with water, soil, leaf litter, and low, dense plant growth. Only a few of the over 2500 U.S. species may be found in human habitations.

Spiders, like insects, belong to a larger group of animals known as Arthropods. Spiders differ from insects in several ways; as a group spiders are recognized by their two-segmented bodies, eight legs (insects always have six), and 4-8 simple eyes. In addition, spiders always lack wings and antennae. Hence, spiders are more closely related to ticks, mites, daddy-longlegs, and scorpions than to insects.

One interesting attribute of spiders is their production and use of silk. It is produced by a set of special glands located near the tip of the abdomen; it is secreted as a liquid which hardens when exposed to the air. Spiders use silk to capture prey (webs and traps), build shelters, wrap egg sacks, and for locomotion (draglines and parachutes).

Spiders hatch from eggs which are bundled together in sacs. The female may carry the sack with her or tuck it away in a secluded spot. The young spiders (called spiderlings) are miniature replicas of adult spiders, and they grow through a series of molts. Most spiders live for 1-2 years. Since spiders are cold-blooded invertebrates, their activity is greatly reduced or even curtailed by cold temperatures.

Spiders are beneficial to man. They are predaceous and feed on a variety of live prey including insects, centipedes and even other spiders. In fact, in many habitats spiders are the dominant group of predators and frequently outnumber all other predators combined. Some spiders use special webs or snares to capture their prey, while others actively stalk or ambush their prey.

Spiders lack jaws for chewing. Instead, they have fang-like pinchers and special poison glands. This poison is used to subdue the prey by injecting it through the hollow fangs. Then, a unique enzymatic saliva is used to predigest the muscle and internal viscera of the prey so that it can be sucked up by the spider.
Termite and Pest Control
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