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CALIFORNIA IN BRIEF : OAKLAND : Tarantulas Trigger ‘Arachnophobia’

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Tarantulas have invaded hillside homes in Oakland, Concord, Walnut Creek, Antioch and Blackhawk, sending panicked residents to the phone to call exterminators. “It’s ‘arachnophobia.’ People are really upset. We’re getting calls like: ‘I’m on the kitchen table and I’m not getting off until you get here,’ ” said Chuck Bradshaw, manager of Clark Pest Control in Martinez. Unlike its European relation, the black widow, whose bite attacks the central nervous system, a bite of a benign U.S. tarantula is no worse than a bee sting, Bradshaw said. But not everyone is confident of his advice to just shoo the hairy, eight-legged creatures outdoors. “They’d just rather have a gun,” Bradshaw said. Entomologists blame the population boom on the weather. Heavy spring rains fueled the insect population and unseasonably cool weather tricked spiders into beginning mating.


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