IPM Spider Control Strategy – Tips on reducing spider-conducive conditions, products of choice and service documentation
By: Bob Cartwright, Ph.D., Technical Manager, Syngenta
With a wide range of insects entering the home as nuisance pests, winter can be a challenging time for homeowners. Among these invaders, spiders are a common reason homeowners seek a pest management service. Spiders can become a nuisance when they enter our customer’s homes, and require a solid plan to keep them outside where they belong. Implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) spider control program by reducing spider-conducive conditions can help insure successful control, resulting in happy customers.
This article features the four steps of an IPM spider control strategy, tips for reducing spider-conducive conditions, products of choice, and ideas of ways to document service effectiveness back to the customer.
IPM steps for spider control
- Thorough inspection and monitoring
- Species identification
- Use of non-chemical methods
- Selective use of insecticides
Spiders are attracted to their food source (primarily insects). Their search for prey leads them to structures, either indoors or structural perimeters. To survive, spiders also need shelter and homes provide ample opportunities for spiders to set up residence. In some climates, moisture is a critical factor that encourages spiders to dwell in or around buildings. Eliminating the conducive conditions presented by food, shelter and water is an important part of a long-term spider management strategy.
Here are some tips for reducing spider-conducive conditions, particularly food and harborages:
- Home Lighting -Manage outdoor lighting to reduce insects attracted to lights around doors, windows and soffit vents. Position lighting to minimize lit surfaces close to windows or doors, so that spiders and insect prey are not directed to entry points. Spot spray with a residual, such as Demand® CS insecticide, on lit surfaces and around the base of light sources.
- Exclusion - Spiders find entry into structures around doors, windows, utility piping, soffit vents, weep holes in masonry and other openings. Where possible, seal these entry points by caulking, repairing vent components, replacing weather-stripping, and by placing screen or air-permeable material in weep holes. Many PMPs now offer services that include pest entry point reduction as part of their overall management program.
- Reduce clutter - Spiders and their insect prey thrive with the multitude of harborage opportunities afforded by cluttered storage areas such as garages, storerooms, attics, or laundry rooms. PMPs have little control over clutter but can encourage the home/business owner to improve the situation. In pest management, clutter is our enemy, and organization is our friend.
- Web removal - Removing webs with a vacuum or a “Webster” can be a very effective procedure for reducing spider problems. Not only does web removal eliminate the unsightly web itself, many spiders are removed in the process. Web removal is a quick means to show the customer that your service is having an effect.
- Sticky Traps - Use of sticky traps for monitoring and control of spiders is extremely helpful in managing spider problems. For some accounts, sticky traps are useful for monitoring before and after service to document the effectiveness of your service to the customer.
Demand CS & Demand EZ: Products of choice for spider control
Many PMPs turn to Syngenta’s Demand CS and Demand EZ insecticides for optimum spider control. Both products feature iCAP technology™, a proprietary technology that encases the active ingredient, lambda-cyhalothrin, in microcaps. These capsules feature many cross links so the active ingredient is released in a slow, controlled manner. The microcaps can also maintain their shape longer, ensuring that the product stays on the surfaces where it’s needed, even when exposed to outdoor conditions. These elements help iCAP technology provide PMPs with longer residual control, in addition to a host of other benefits. Click here to view a video highlighting the powerful properties of iCAP technology.
Directions for using Demand for spider control
Demand can be used to control spiders as a spot spray, a crack and crevice application, or a perimeter exterior banded application. Use 0.015%-0.03% (0.2 oz Demand CS – 0.4 oz Demand CS) per gallon of water) for most situations, but for clean-out/severe infestations, 0.06% should be used. Because of the limited contact that spiders have with treated surfaces, application technique and placement are important. Applications should be directed primarily at areas where spiders live or rest, rather than areas they transit. Areas to target for effective control of spiders include: