Experiments tested the ability of newly emerged spiderlings of a black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus Chamberlin & Ivie (Araneae: Theridiidae), to crawl through brass screen of various mesh size. The purpose was to determine whether immatures of these medically important spiders could be excluded from buildings. In horizontal orientation, black widow spiderlings were able to easily pass through mesh with openings of 0.83 mm and were prevented from passing in four of five tests with mesh of 0.59-mm openings. Spiderlings also readily pass through 0.83-mm mesh in vertical orientation. Our laboratory studies indicate that the mesh size sufficient for exclusion is too small for practical use in most cases, although there are some specialized situations where such small mesh might be useful. The results are discussed in regard to actual conditions found in typical commercial building situations.
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Vol. 102 • No. 3