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The Votes Are In, Spiders Win

Spiders Voted Scariest Pest in Orkin’s First-Ever “Scariest Pest Halloween Poll”

Results from Orkin’s first-ever “Scariest Pest Halloween Poll” reveal spiders, one of Halloween’s quintessential icons, are the scariest pests of 2009. According to Orkin experts, the pests people consider (and voted) the scariest are not necessarily the most dangerous.

From October 1 – 23, the Atlanta-based pest control leader invited people to vote online at for one of six spine-chilling pests. Following are the scariest pest rankings and percentages from the online poll:

  1. Spooky spiders (30 percent)

  2. Hair-raising rodents (27 percent)

  3. Creepy cockroaches (23 percent)

  4. Terrifying ticks (10 percent)

  5. Freaky flying/stinging insects (6 percent)

  6. Menacing mosquitoes (4 percent)

Similar to plastic spider rings and cotton web decorations that run rampant this holiday season, most of the 3,500 spider species found in the United States — even if they bite — cause little harm to humans.

However, the following few spider species rank among the most dangerous pests in North America because of their potentially harmful and even deadly bites:

  • Black widows

  • Brown widows

  • Brown recluses

  • Hobo spiders

According to Ron Harrison, Ph.D., technical director for Orkin, Inc., the few dangerous spider species like the black widow and brown recluse are so well known that people overlook the great benefit spiders provide. “Their food sources — moths, flies, cockroaches, bees and other bugs — are the same insects that pester us. Because of that, their presence in or around our homes is a good indicator that we have a larger pest issue that needs attention.”

Harrison does not ignore the fact that most people consider spiders scary, or that they should protect themselves against spider bites.

He offers these tips to make homes less attractive to spiders:

  • Target their food source. Contact a licensed pest management professional to first control the insects that are attracting spiders to your home.

  • Sweep, dust, clean and remove clutter to make areas uncomfortable for spiders, which often like to hide.

  • Seal off potential entries like cracks and crevices, spaces under doors, holes in screens, etc.

Harrison also warns that homeowners should understand the risks posed by rodents, cockroaches, mosquitoes, ticks and flying/stinging insects. Although not voted the scariest, these pests are some of the world’s most dangerous because of the diseases they can carry and health threats they pose.

Following are Harrison’s rankings for the most dangerous pests:

  1. Blood-Suckers: Mosquitoes top Harrison’s list as they pose a significant danger to public health throughout the world — transmitting West Nile virus, malaria and yellow fever. Harrison warns that ticks — associated with Colorado Tick Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease — are actually the number one transmitter of disease in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 28,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease were reported in the U.S. in 2008.

  2. Creepy Crawlers (including poll-topping spiders): In addition to eliciting a scream, rodents can transmit numerous diseases — including Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and LCMV — through their urine, feces and bites. Cockroaches can cause more than the chills, transferring pathogens from the decaying matter they live and breed in to food and food-preparation areas. With their cast skins producing allergens, cockroaches have been proven to cause allergic reactions and even asthma.

  3. Stingers: Some species of flying and stinging insects are known to protect their nests aggressively and inflict painful stings on intruders. Stings from yellow jackets, hornets and wasps can cause swelling, become infected easily and also aggravate skin conditions and allergies.

According to Orkin, Halloween’s cold weather often sparks an increase in activity from the creepy crawlers, but whatever the season, people should protect themselves and their homes from these scary and potentially dangerous pests. For more facts about frightful pests, visit

About Orkin, Inc.

Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin, Inc. is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Asia. With more than 400 locations, Orkin’s almost 8,000 employees serve approximately 1.7 million customers. The company serves homeowners and numerous industries including food and beverage processing, foodservice, hospitality, healthcare, retail, warehousing, property/facilities management, schools and institutions. Learn more about Orkin on our Web site at Orkin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rollins, Inc. (NYSE: ROL).

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