The Poisonous Spiders
June 20, 2019
Spiders are generally known to be very gentle and meek and would love to keep to themselves. You probably did not even know that we are all within 3 feet of a spider in our homes. That is how secretive they are; they just blend in the environment while secretly helping us out with killing the real insects and pests that matter.
There are around 45,700 species of spiders worldwide. While most of these spiders are peaceful, some are poisonous and can be dangerous to humans. In the United States, there are two venomous spiders that should be kept in check. They manage to invade homes, hiding in dark areas of the house. When disturbed, whether accidentally or on purpose, they can bite and release a powerful venom. The spiders we are talking about are the black widow spiders and the brown recluse spiders. These are the spiders that we can all consider as pests in our homes.
The Black Widow Spiders
The black widow spiders are one of the three venomous spiders that can be found in the United States. In all of North America, they are considered the most venomous. It is said that they are 15 times more poisonous than the fearsome rattlesnake. Only the females bite. Though the black widow’s poison is very potent and can be very painful, it is not life-threatening to adult humans. For children and the elderly, however, it be may cause death. If you accidentally run into a black widow spider, and it bites you, seek immediate medical attention. If possible, catch the same black widow spider that bit you, dead or alive. Present it to your healthcare provider. This would allow the healthcare provider to make an informed decision on the type of care and treatment that you need. But immediately after the bite, wash the area of the bite with soap and water. After that, put a cold compress on it.
The female black widow has a shiny black body with a red hourglass marking on its abdomen. These red hourglass markings serve as a warning to other predators that they are poisonous, and thus cannot be eaten. They are about 1.5 inches long. The male black widow, on the other hand, is about half the size of the females, lighter in color, and has either red or pink spots on their backs.
The black widow spider’s name is derived from the fact that they kill their male counterparts after mating. The female would then preserve the dead male until such time that their offspring would emerge and feed on its carcass. The female black widows can live up to three years, while the males can live up to a year, that is if they are not eaten.
The diet of black widows consists of other insects and arachnids. They use their webs to capture their prey. Mosquitoes, flies, ants, termites, and roaches are food for them. Once these insects get trapped in the web, the black widow then approaches it and covers it in silk. It then bites into it to release an enzyme that would liquefy their prey. Black widow spiders only eat their food in liquid form. How do you get rid of the black widow spider? Here are some tips:
- Seal off all cracks, openings, and holes by using a caulking gun and sealant. These are possible entry points for the black widow spiders. Fill in any holes and cracks around the holes, cables, walls, and faucets.
- Clear away plants and tree branches around your home. If you have ivy plants, clear them away. Black widows always like to live in plants. Cut or trim shrubs, grass, and plants.
- Avoid the use of outdoor lighting. Light attracts the bugs, the spiders’ natural prey. When bugs are around, the black widows follow because it is obviously a food source.
- Invest in weather stripping and put it around the windows and walls. These can be used as potential entry points by these spiders so it is best to cover them up.
- Remove clutter. These are potential hiding spots for black widows. Black widows like to remain undisturbed and clutter provides them with a place to hide. Storage boxes, woodpiles, the back of the closet, under the furniture, and shoes that have not been worn for a long time are some of the places they can hide.
- Before wearing your shoes, check the insides. You would not know if black widow spiders are hiding there.
- Vacuum around the house. Move your furniture a bit so you can vacuum the area where it stood. Seal and dispose of the vacuum bag outside your home and make sure nothing in the bag can find its way back again.
Brown Recluse Spiders
The brown recluse spider is another one of those venomous spiders in North America and the most common of the brown spiders. Physically, they are identified by their violin-shaped marking on their bodies. They only have 6 eyes, which is very unusual for spiders who usually have 8, and these 6 eyes are arranged in three pairs.
Both the brown recluse spider and the black widow spiders have almost the same behaviors and habits. The brown recluse is by nature shy creatures thus their name. And just like the black widow, they hide in dark places. They are nocturnal or forage for food at night. They also only need to mate just once a year to be able to produce 150 eggs yearly.
If you are bitten by a brown recluse, go see a doctor. Their bite is not fatal, but some develop severe symptoms. People who are bitten by the brown recluse often have small red marks on the skin, but heals immediately.
Fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and sweating are the symptoms of their bites. When bitten, go to your health care provider. As much as possible, bring the spider that bit you along with you to the hospital. This will allow the doctor to make an informed decision about the type of treatment to give you. Prior to going to the hospital, wash the bite area with soap and water, and then put a cold compress on the bitten area for about ten minutes.
Here are some of the things you can do to keep brown recluse spiders out of your home:
- Seal cracks and openings by caulking. These could be used as entry points for the brown recluse spiders. Remember that these spiders are small enough to sneak into these holes.
- Clear away plants around your house. Brown recluse can live in these plants. Cut off shrubs, decorative grasses, and plants, especially ivy.
- Since outdoor lighting attracts bugs, avoid using them as much as possible. Spiders thrive in places where there are plenty of insects. They would soon follow where there are bugs to eat.
- Wear gloves when gardening. This will protect your hands in case you run into a brown recluse spider.
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The Hobo Spider
The size of the hobo spider is about 10 to 14 mm in length and are brown in color. Its abdomen has V-shaped patterns that are pointing towards the head. They can be found in the United States, among other places. They are also known as funnel web spiders because the webs they construct resemble that of a funnel and they capture their prey at the bottom of the funnel. The hobo spiders are aggressive, but not to humans; they try to avoid us. Still, when they get disturbed they can bite, and their bites are painful and can cause tissue death on the site of the bite. To avoid getting bitten by hobo spiders:
- Check your shoes before wearing them. They might be hiding there since they like dark places.
- Get rid of clutter. Spiders like places with lots of clutter because it provides them with undisturbed hiding places. Where there are lots of clutter, the spiders would follow.
- Regularly wash your curtains. Preferably after 1 or 2 months. Since curtains are generally undisturbed, spiders like to hide in them. Just make sure that when taking the curtains down, hold them away from your body to avoid any spiders that might be hiding in it.
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