The body of pesticide research on spiders is sparse with most studies using topical or residual applications to assess efficacy. Data on the effects of fumigation on spider survivorship are scarce in the scientific literature. In this study, we exposed adult male and female brown recluse spiders, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch & Mulaik, and female brown widow spiders, Latrodectus geometricus C. L. Koch, to a commercial fumigation event using sulfuryl fluoride directed at termite control. General consensus from the pest control industry is that fumigation is not always effective for control of spiders for a variety of reasons, including insufficient fumigant dosage, particularly, for contents of egg sacs that require a higher fumigant dosage for control. We demonstrated that a sulfuryl fluoride fumigation with an accumulated dosage of 162 oz-h per 1,000 ft3 at 21°C over 25 h (≈1.7× the drywood termite dosage) directed at termites was sufficient to kill adult brown recluse and brown widow spiders. The effectiveness of commercial fumigation practices to control spiders, and particularly their egg sacs, warrants further study.
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Vol. 107 • No. 5