It is not uncommon to harbor a deep seated fear of spiders, but there are two really only two types we should be concerned with, the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider, which are both dangerous to humans. The black widow and brown recluse spiders are more common in the southern states of the U.S. Bites from black widow and brown recluse spiders may cause serious harm in some people and may require professional medical care and anti-venom medications.
When threatened both the black widow spider, the brown recluse spider bites in defense and does not bite humans instinctively. Neither the black widow nor the brown recluse spiders are aggressive but they will both bite when accidentally trapped, disturbed or threatened.
If a black widow or brown recluse spider is suspected, or if serious symptoms develop such as increasing pain or swelling, consult a physician.
The black widow spider is not an aggressive spider and typically is not interested in humans. The Black Widow is about .5 inches long and both the female and the male spiders have shiny, globular abdomens. They are sometimes brown. The females will carry the reddish hourglass shap on the underside of the abdomen. And some species will have the series of red spots on the underbelly.
The common name, brown recluse spider, pertains to only one species, Loxosceles recluse. The latin name of which translates “slant-legged recluse”. The venom from the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa, contains one or more factors which produce skin necrosis.
The brown recluse spider and ten additional species of Loxosceles are native to the United States. There are also a few non-native species have become established in limited areas of the country. The brown recluse typically located in the central Midwestern states southward to the Gulf of Mexico.
When looking at a mature brown recluse spider, the dark violin marking is well defined, with the neck of the violin pointing toward the bulbous abdomen. The abdomen of the brown recluse is uniformly colored, but color can range from light tan to dark brown, and is covered with numerous fine hairs that provide a velvety appearance. Their body is about 3/8 inches long and 3/16 wide.
Some Bites Will Occur
Even though most people will try to avoid the brown recluse spider, bites occur from time to time. This is when they spend their time hunting for food. For this reason many Brown Recluse spider bites occur while victims are sleeping. Often, bites occur when a person puts on a jacket or clothing that has a brown recluse spider inside, something that has been stored in the garage or outside area that is cool and dark. We always recommend shaking these items well to dislodge any unwanted guest.
The venom of most spiders acts only in the tissue in the immediate area of the bite, and with a few species, such as Violin Spiders and Hobo Spiders, that venom may be virulent enough to cause tissue to die and a small sore to appear. Black Widow venom is a bit unusual, in that it is a “neuro” toxin, and it affects the nervous system throughout the body.
All spiders do have some beneficial aspects for their existence and should be encouraged in your landscaping. But once they take up residence in your home it may be time to take action to eliminate them and discourage their reentry.