Spiders, Ants and Rats…All found in your home and all potentially dangerous

There are a variety of common pests that are attempting to get inside your home. As the leader in Pest Prevention, our board-certified entomologists and trained technicians know how to identify all the pest species that may try to take up residence in your home. Here are a few of the common pests we treat in homes and the risk they present to you and your family:


Throughout the south and southeast, the only venomous spiders are black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders. In Florida and east Georgia, brown recluse spiders are not common. The brown recluse thrives from Atlanta to the eastern portion of Texas and into Oklahoma.

The brown recluse has a poisonous bite that causes skin loss with underlying tissue death. The venom’s effects are generally localized at the site of the bite. Usually, a burning sensation develops and lasts for 30 to 60 minutes. During the next eight hours, the reddened area enlarges and a pus-filled blister forms in its center. Within 12 to 24 hours after the bite, a systemic reaction may occur, characterized by fever, malaise, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

The black widow avoids light and is usually found in dry, undisturbed places outdoors such as woodpiles, under stacked stones, boards or building materials, in boxes or crates and in trash piles. The black widow is not aggressive unless disturbed. But that’s the problem. Because they are so reclusive, hidden away in dark corners and under objects, it’s easy to accidentally “disturb” them. The biggest threat posed by black widow spiders is their bite. Pain is usually immediate, but black widow bites are not always felt. Symptoms of a black widow bite include fever, increased blood pressure, sweating and nausea.


Ants are never fun to have around but for the most part, they are harmless. However, the red imported fire ant bite can cause severe pain. These ants originated in South America and were introduced to the U.S. between 1933 and 1945. Today, they infest all of the southern states from Florida to Texas and into the Carolinas.

All fire ant colonies should be avoided. They have the potential to deliver many painful stings as they provide protection for their colony. When a fire ant stings, they must first grab the skin with their jaw for leverage, then curl their abdomen to insert the stinger. The venom causes a burning sensation and can be extremely dangerous to people who experience serious allergic reactions.


Rats and mice are very common in the southeast. They tend to enter homes in search of food and shelter and will eat any kind of food. They also contaminate 10 times as much food as they eat with their urine, droppings and hair. In addition, they are known to carry at least 35 different kinds of diseases, including bubonic plague, murine typhus and bacterial food poisoning. These diseases can be spread to humans directly, through the handling of rodents, contact with rodent feces, urine or saliva, and rodent bites. Diseases carried by rodents can also be spread to humans indirectly through ticks, mites or fleas that have fed on an infected rodent.

Rats can squeeze through holes half an inch wide and mice can get through holes one-quarter of an inch wide, taking up residence in your attic, the crawl space under your home or even where the dryer vent leads to the outside. Rodents are generally nocturnal animals, with peak activity occurring shortly after dusk and again prior to dawn. Inside occupied structures, they often become active within about 30 to 60 minutes after human activity subsides.