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Camel Spiders

Summary: The camel spider is found mostly in very arid locations like deserts. Soldiers fighting in the arid lands of the middle east often report find camel spiders in their surroundings.

Deana; Ellensburg, WA asks: We've got a large spider that we call wind spiders. Other places they are known as camel spiders. Either way, they are so fast they really give me a scare. How do I keep them out of my house?

Dear Deana: This weird looking arachnid is not in fact a scorpion or spider at all but belongs to its own order called solifugid. This class includes spiders, mites, ticks, and true scorpions.The name Solifugae comes from Latin and means "flee from the sun". To escape the worst of the environment they sometimes make burrows under bushes, buildings etc.

The camel spider is a seasonal animal so life expectance is not long. The camel spider is not venomous in any way but those jaws can give a very painful bite.

They hunt mostly at night when the sun is down. They are shade-loving so often they will follow in the footsteps of a moving person leading to the myth that they pursue humans. Most species feed on termites, darkling beetles and other small arthropods.

If you know for certain you have camel spiders I can advise you to do the following:

  • Tighten door thresholds and around window screens
  • Caulk door and window frames and all wall penetrations
  • Remove vegetation and litter from the foundation, doorways and window wells.
  • Where possible, relocate building or area lights that attract the camel spiders at night.
  • Indoors, eliminate old cardboard boxes and other clutter that might provide hiding places.

Effective pesticide application for their control is very difficult. Indoor treatment is usually effective only if the pesticide contacts the spider directly. This means the pesticide application must be very thorough. Consequently, this may be a job for a licensed structural pest control company.

Extensive use of glue boards along baseboards and other areas where you are seeing the wind spiders may help. You will want to put out several dozen to ensure capture.

These have got to be the fastest small creatures on the planet. They are known to travel at ten miles per hour. (Athletes can typically run at 23mph.) No wonder you are freaking out. You know they are there, but you only get a glimpse as they duck for cover. Very creepy, indeed!

photo credit: <a href="David~O">David~O</a> via <a href="photopin">photopin</a> <a href="cc">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="Danny'>">Danny McL</a> via <a href="photopin">photopin</a> <a href="cc">cc</a>

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