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What do I need to know about spiders?
New Zealand is home to over 2000 species of spiders, most of which are harmless to people.
Three species of spiders in New Zealand that should be avoided:
- Katipo Spiders
- Redback Spiders
- White-tailed Spiders
The most infamous to New Zealanders is the White-Tail spider.
- Dark body with white around the end of the abdomen
- Juveniles and males have patches on their abdomen as well as white ‘tails’.
- Do not build webs
- Feed off other spiders
- Most commonly found under tree bark
- When found inside, often in bathrooms and laundries
- Hides in cracks and crevices when not hunting
- Main source of food is the Black House spider. A significant infestation of Black House spiders may result in an increase of White Tail Spiders
Reducing Black House spiders will assist in managing a White Tail Spider population
- Produce and live in webs suspended in the air
- Webs may be low down as with Katipo webs or up in tree tops
- Web is used as means for food capture
- Gain pest category as they produce webbing over the outside of buildings which can be unsightly
Ground Dwelling Spiders
- Spend their time on or under the ground
- May build nests in the ground
- Examples of these spiders are wolf spiders, black tunnel webs and vagrant spiders
- Mobile during breeding months and hide in dark crevices like rockeries, mulch and toys in the daytime
- Considered pests because their members include the most toxic spiders in the world
- Species in New Zealand are not deadly, but can inflict a painful bite
- Medical attention should always be sought following an unknown spider bite
Black House Spiders
- Despite their name their colouring is dark brown to black
- The main reason for their pest status is due to their webbing
- Their web is a ladder type web and usually has a tunnel in the centre
- Webs will be formed around doorways, windows, under guttering, along fences and in weather board overlaps
Black House spiders are the Main source of food for White Tail spiders.
A significant infestation of Black House spiders may result in an increase of White Tail spiders
Spider Control Tips
Some easy and effect measures to help reduce your spider population by managing the environment:
- Tidy yard areas
- Toys, shoes and other objects removed or put away inside
- Well maintained lawns and gardens
- Pruning of trees and shrubs close to the house or other structures
- Installing ‘yellow’ exterior lights will reduce insect attraction and reduce the spider population due to the reduced food availability
- Regular vacuuming removes spiders, eggs and webs