Arachnids

There are two spider species along with two scorpion species that are considered common pests within Georgia. These spiders are somewhat harmless, and only attack humans when feared, while their bites are can be very painful and fatal in some cases.  Fortunately, the scorpion species found in Georgia are less deadly than their counterparts located elsewhere in the U.S.  

Spiders and Scorpions

From L-R: The red marking of the black widow spider is evident here. Close inspection of the brown recluse spider reveals a fiddle shape on the ventral surface near the head.

The black widow spider (Latrodectus spp.) has a characteristic red, hourglass shape on the ventral surface of its abdomen, which makes this spider easily identifiable to most persons. This spider feeds on insects, along with the brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa), which is a poisonous, more rare pest in Georgia than the black widow. This spider can be identified with a violin shape on the dorsal surface of the cephalothorax (head and middle region).

From L-R: The southern devil scorpion is pale-colored, while the striped bark scorpion is tan colored with noticeable stripes along its dorsal side.

The scorpions shown here are approximately 2 inches in life, including the tail and have a painful bite when feared or handled, but are otherwise innocuous. The scorpion feeds on insects, small animals, such as rodents, and spiders. There are two species that are common to Georgia, which are the i) southern devil scorpion (Paravaejovis spinigerus), also called the southern stripeless scorpion or the plain eastern stripeless scorpion, ii) and the striped bark scorpion (Centruroides vittatus). The former is found in the Piedmont region and the mountains of north Georgia. It is even colored.

The striped bark scorpion is found in the Coastal Plain and sandy soil areas. It is darkly striped on its dorsal surface with a triangle-shaped head. The striped bark scorpion is the most common scorpion encountered in the U.S.

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Pest control

Spiders are best managed by eliminating their food sources, webs and by applying dusts or sprays into their habitats.

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The elimination of their breeding sites as well as exclusion techniques are effective for controlling scorpions, however, insecticides provide some protection.

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