Within the broad range of urban pest control activities, the control of ground-dwelling spiders (eg; funnelwebs) has involved serious misuse of pesticides. This has been largely manifest in the 'balnket-spraying' treatment, using very stable, sometimes very toxic, organochlorine insecticides. However, these insecticides are no longer approved for spider control and their use has been banned in many countries of the world.
Control of ground-dwelling spiders relies on direct contact of the spider with the insecticide. Treatments that attempt such direct contact are likely to be more time consuming and may miss less obvious burrows and spiders. This procedure is preferable to complete coverage of the area as many useful creatures will be preserved.
Because pest controllers are often emloyed in ground-dwelling spider control and in order to afford the client some 'peace of mind', it is essential that some advice been given in relation to the prevention of bites. Advice given may include:
1) Wear gloves when gardening and handling soil
2) Wear sensible footwear when walking outside, particuarly at night, when most ground-dwelling spiders are active.
3) Where extensive excavations, landscaping, digging or gardening has occurred nearby, be alert for disturbed ground-dwelling spiders, which may enter buildings.
4) Don't leave toys, clothes and other such articles on the ground, particuarly overnight. Wandering spiders may use them as a temporary resting site.
5) Be alert for wandering male funnelwebs during the warmer months. It is their mating season, and they may wander into yards and buildings in search of a mate.
6) Be alert for wandering ground-dwelling spiders following long periods of very wet weather. Burrowing spiders have particular preferences so extremes of weather may cause them to wander more than usual.
7) Be alert for wandering ground-dwelling spiders following the widespread application of insecticides. Where spiders are not directly contacted (and 'wetted') by the insecticide, they may be disturbed and wander more than usual.