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I noticed this spider outside my garage tonight, and I'm curious if anyone can help identify what type it is.
A few details to help:
I live in central Indiana, United States. I saw it for the first time at night. It's body was roughly 3/4 inches (might be slightly bigger). Each brick in the picture is about 2 1/8 inches. It seems to have a black velvet like texture. It was sitting on a gas pipe that leads into my house. It was under a bush.
Sorry the pictures aren't great. Being under a bush and trying to use a flashlight made it a bit harder.
This looks like a black lace-weaver, or Amaurobius ferox. Based on the size you described it seems as though this one is an adult female. These spiders avoid bright spaces and if they feel cornered they might bite you.
For pictures of it you can look here https://www.arkive.org/black-lace-weaver/amaurobius-ferox/ and for more information you can look here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaurobius_ferox
How to Identify a Spider Bite and Treat It
Feeling a sharp sting and then finding an unknown spider bite can be a disturbing experience. If you know which symptoms are dangerous, and the basics on how to treat dangerous spider bites, you will be one step ahead.
Learning to identify a spider bite is important so you can know the risks and how to treat the bite. Some spiders can cause tissue necrosis, paralysis, and even death. But others can hardly break the skin and they don’t have venom toxic to humans. This is one reason an unknown spider bite can be unsettling you simply don’t know what you are up against until the symptoms appear.
Shaking out your boots and gloves before you put them on and checking sleeping bags before you climb in are always a good idea. Don’t get caught off guard, and if you do- don’t panic. Just find the spider, seek medical help if needed, and treat the bite.
Help identifying spider found in central Indiana US - Biology
Sometimes many heads are better than one when it comes to solving a problem. Wade Hutcheson, my Extension colleague in Spalding county, gets plenty of calls from the citizens of his area asking his help in identifying various holes in their landscapes. Wade is certainly familiar with several of the common causes and culprits but he posed a general question to the other metro Atlanta agents recently.
“How do you folks answer questions about what’s digging holes in a yard? Sometimes the holes are grapefruit size, sometimes golf ball size. Some holes are deep but some are described as shallow. Sometimes there are piles of dirt and sometimes not. Rarely do my clients see a creature making the hole. If moles, ground bees, chipmunks, and the neighbor’s dog are ruled out, what’s left?
SOIL SUBSIDENCE? My radio work makes me a keen listener to the descriptions my callers use when they describe landscape holes to me. After they tell me a little about their hole, my first question is this: “Is there any dirt mounded on top of or scattered around the hole?”
If loose dirt is present, I have to conclude that some yet-to-be-determined creature put the soil there. If there is no soil around the hole, it probably was caused by soil subsidence from a trash pit or rotted stump or decomposed root underneath.
Stumps are often covered up by a builder as they grade a lot before construction. Five years later, termites have had several nice meals underground and not much wood tissue is left. A heavy rain collapses the soil above the hollow, making a hole that mystifies a homeowner who never knew the stump was there.
Likewise, tree roots don’t live forever underground. They often die due to drought. When they decompose, the hole is often oblong but shallow. Obviously, the only thing to be done when the soil subsides is to fill the hole with topsoil, plant grass if necessary and go about your business.
WHAT IF SOIL IS PRESENT? If soil is piled around the hole, a creature did the deed. Since animals and insects of different sizes can make holes in the landscape, my second set of questions to radio callers is: “How big is the hole? What does the soil mound look like? Where is it located?”
From then on it becomes a matter of matching the hole to the probable excavator. Since spring is a common time to notice different landscape holes, I’ve prepared a table to help you diagnose your own hole situation.
THE FOLLOWING TABLE LISTS VARIOUS HOLE DIMENSIONS, SOIL CONDITIONS AND HOLE LOCATIONS, FOLLOWED BY THE CREATURE RESPONSIBLE
12 – 36 inches in diameter, thoroughly plowed three inches deep, in flowerbed: armadillo
6 – 10 inches in diameter, no mound, scattered in lawn: skunk or raccoon
6 – 10 inches in diameter, mound four inches high, near garden or barn: groundhog
2 inches in diameter, no mound, scattered in lawn: squirrel digging acorns
2 inches in diameter, small mound one inch high, under a shrub, log pile or concrete slab: chipmunk or rat
2 inches diameter, small mound, in lawn with markedly raised grass nearby: mole
1 inch diameter, no mound, next to hosta: vole
1 inch diameter, soil thinly scattered around hole, edge of the yard: cicada killer wasp
1 inch diameter, two inches high and made from balls of mud, near creek: crayfish
One-fourth inch diameter, mound two inches high & wide, several in middle of the lawn: ground bee
No hole , mound two inches high & wide, several in middle of the lawn: earthworm
As well diggers might joke, their work involves lots of deep thinking! I’m hopeful my table will help you solve landscape hole puzzles without a great deal of thought.
Many ponds have more than one type of aquatic plant, and care must be taken to identify all the aquatic plants inhabiting the pond. Some pond plants may be beneficial to local or migratory wildlife, and therefore, may want to be encouraged or at least not eliminated. Click on whichever group of aquatic plants that you feel your specimen may belong to and work through the examples until you find it.
Aquatic plants are generally divided into four groups for management purposes. These groups are:
Algae and Other Plankton
Algae are very primitive plants. Some algae are microscopic (planktonic algae). Others are thin and stringy or hair-like (filamentous algae). While still others are large and resemble higher plants but without true roots (chara).
True floating plants are not attached to the bottom. Floating plants come in sizes from very small (duckweed) to over a foot in diameter (water hyacinth). Most, but not all, have roots that hang in the water from the floating green portions.
Submerged plants are rooted plants with most of their vegetative mass below the water surface, although some portions may stick above the water. One discerning characteristic of submerged plants is their flaccid or soft stems, which is why they do not usually rise above the water’s surface.
Emergent plants are rooted plants often along the shoreline that stand above the surface of the water (cattails). The stems of emergent plants are somewhat stiff or firm.
Identifying the owner of a nest can be tricky, but fortunately there are many good books available on the subject. By noting the above characteristics in your field notebook and perhaps taking a few photos, you can identify your nest at home by comparing it to field guides. Here are some resources to help you solve the mystery:
- Eastern Birds’ Nests or Western Birds’ Nests (Peterson Field Guides series), by Hal H. Harrison
- Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds, by Paul Baicich and Colin Harrison
Remember not to take nests from the wild it is always best to leave them where they are, even if you think they’re not being used.
What Bit Me? Identifying Bugs and Their Bites
Summer is the season of backyard barbecues, lazy beach days and nights around the campfire. But any time you’re outdoors, you risk contact with insects and arachnids that can leave you covered in stings and bites.
If you feel a sting this summer, consult this guide to help figure out what bit you – and whether you should consider seeking medical attention. Plus, learn how to prevent contact with some of summer’s most common (and most deadly) creepy crawly creatures. (As a warning: Some of the images in the slideshow above may be graphic.)
Bed bugs will hide in furniture and clothing, feeding on humans or animals every five to ten days, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Adult bed bugs are brown, 1/4 to 3/8 inches long, and have a flat, oval-shaped body – sometimes resembling an apple seed.
Bed bug bite marks resemble mosquito or flea bites – a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety and skin problems from excessive scratching, according to the CDC.
The good news is that bed bugs do not carry infectious disease. Bites can be treated with topical anti-itch creams or oral antihistamines. If you have bed bugs in your home, a professional pest control company should treat the infestation with insecticide spray.
Bees and Wasps
A day outdoors in the summer is often not complete without a visit from bees or wasps. Aggravate a bee or wasp and you may get stung. If you are, cover your mouth and nose and quickly leave the area: When a bee stings, it releases a chemical that attracts other bees, making the situation worse.
If you’re not allergic to bees or wasps, you simply have to remove the stinger, clean the sting site, apply ice and take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you feel you need one. But for those with bee sting allergies, an EpiPen (epinephrine) is often prescribed to avoid a severe anaphylactic reaction. A call for emergency care is also a must.
Poisonous black widow spiders are easily identifiable by their distinctive orange, red or yellow "hourglass" shape, according to the CDC. They love to hide in wood piles or in tree stumps across the United States, but they are most common in the South and West.
Two fang marks indicate a black widow spider bite, which can immediately cause muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, seizure and a spike in blood pressure, according to the NIH. If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately – antidotes are available.
Brown Recluse Spiders
Brown recluse spiders, also called violin spiders, have characteristic dark violin-shaped (or fiddle-shaped) markings and six equal-sized eyes (most spiders have eight eyes). Brown recluse spiders are usually found in workplaces with secluded, dry, sheltered areas such as underneath structures, logs, or in piles of rocks or leaves across the Midwest and southern United States, according to the CDC. Indoors, they can be found in dark closets or attics.
Although a bite from a brown recluse spider might be painless, the resulting wound is not. The bite area reddens, turns white, develops a painful red "bull's–eye," blister. The venom can be deadly in rare cases, so if you are bitten, seek medical care immediately.
Chigger is the common name for immature mites of the Trombiculidae family, which can be harmful to humans in the larval stage.
When chiggers bite, they attach to their victim’s skin for several days leaving itchy or painful welts behind. Similar to mosquito bites, chigger bites can be treated with over-the-counter itching relief medication, such as hydrocortisone, according to the NIH.
Fire ants are found all across the Southern United States. They’re not particularly harmful unless their mounds are disturbed. Then, they become aggressive, stinging humans or animals with their powerful venom multiple times.
Fire ants stings are painful, often burning and itching and sometimes causing painful lesions. A large number of stings can cause a severe toxic or allergic reaction and require medical attention.
Fleas are not just for dogs. They bite people, too, sometimes carrying infectious diseases along with irritation. To avoid fleas, use an insecticide on your pet and watch their skin for signs of flea infection.
Flea bites are typically harmless, but scratching them can cause irritation or infection. You can us a topical over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching or take oral antihistamines, according to the NIH. The only way to treat fleas permanently, however, is to eradicate them from your environment with insecticides or professional pest control.
Flies are usually just a nuisance, but their stinging bites can be dangerous, too, according to the CDC.
In the United States, one deer fly species can transmit the disease tularemia, a severe bacterial infection that can harm both humans and animals. Biting midges transmit a variety of diseases and can infect livestock with blue tongue virus. The bites of black flies, horse flies and stable flies can produce severe allergic reactions. Due to their large size and the intensity of their bite, horse flies are typically considered to produce one of the most painful fly bites.
Fly bites can be avoided with insect repellent or insecticides. Fly strips can also be used to prevent flies from entering your environment.
Sure, mosquitos are annoying. They’re also the deadliest animal in the world, causing more than 1 million deaths globally each year, according to the World Health Organization. Although deadly mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria aren’t common in the United States, stateside mosquitos can still carry West Nile Virus, which killed a record 286 Americans last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mosquito bites are easily identifiable by their raised red surface and maddening itch. To protect yourself from mosquitos this summer, apply insect repellent and cover up when you go outdoors. You should also remove any possible mosquito habitats, such as standing water, from your house and yard, according to the CDC.
Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei, nicknamed itch mites, according to the CDC.
The rash is typically seen on the sides and webs of the fingers, the wrist, elbows, genitals and buttock. Prescription lotions or pills are needed for treatment. Because scabies are contagious through touch, you should wash all clothes, towels and bedding with hot water to avoid transmission.
Tick-borne illnesses, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease, are on the rise, according to the CDC. Even if the ticks you come in contact with aren’t carrying disease, they still can prompt serious allergic reactions and pain.
To prevent contact with ticks, keep your arms, legs and head covered when you’re outdoors and use tick repellant with DEET on skin and clothing. After any summertime outdoor exposure, check your body for ticks carefully and don’t forget to check your pets as well, CDC experts advise.
Once a tick latches onto skin, it often moves to the warm, moist spots, like the armpit and groin, leaving red welts behind. If you find one on your body, properly remove it with tweezers, pulling the tick straight off the skin to prevent the tick’s mouth parts from breaking off in the skin. Then, thoroughly clean the area with soap and water.
If a tick carrying Lyme disease bites you, the first sign is typically a circular rash around the bite, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you see this type of rash on your skin, seek medical attention immediately. If not treated properly with antibiotics, Lyme disease can cause damage to the joints, heart, muscles and nervous system, according to the NIH.
Broadleaf Plantain has green, oval to egg-shaped leaves that grow in a rosette. They have thick stems that meet at a base and when the stems are broken, they reveal string-like veins that resemble those in celery.
They can produce a lot of seed so they spread across your property very rapidly. They also spread from one area of your lawn to another by hitching a ride when you mow your lawn.
If you only have a few plants they are easy to dig using a shovel. Best control is done in the fall using a herbicide that is labeled for broadleaf control like 2,4-D and several others.
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The yellow sac spider is common throughout the eastern United States, in particular from New England through the Midwest. It is normally an outdoor spider but will readily enter and breed inside homes and other buildings. The silken "sac" retreats are usually seen in corners along baseboards, along the ceiling, and beneath and behind furniture. Outdoors, the sacs will be found beneath the bark of trees and under items such as stones and logs. Sacs may also be found along soffits, beneath window sills and around door frames.
Insight Pest Solutions DOES NOT kill Honey Bees. In select markets, we have equipment to safely relocate colonies to local bee-keepers so they can continue their beneficial work.
General Info: Honey bee colonies are the only bee colonies that can survive to last many years. They are benefical to other animals and plants because of their role in pollination. This includes humans. They are very social instects. There are divided into three groups: the workers (female), the queen, and the drones (male).
- Length: 1/2″
- Region Found: Throughout the United States
- Residential Location: Nests can be found in tree crevices and sometimes in attics and chimneys.
- Random/Interesting Fact: In order for a new queen to become fertile, they eat a special diet of “royal jelly”.
- Identification: They are predominantly golden-yellow and with brown bands.