The two most common venomous spiders known to this area of the United States are the Black Widow and Brown Recluse.
The Bite of the Black Widow
Unlike other arachnid bites, the bite of a black widow appears as two clear puncture marks. Black widows have very strong fangs and are easily able to stab through human skin to inject venom into their victims. This venom contains a powerful neurotoxin that will begin radiating pain in the location of the wound before spreading to the chest, other limbs, abdomen or even the entire body.
Only female black widows bite and, in some cases, their bites are rather harmless. This is due to the fact that they are able to acutely control the release of their venom, deciding how much to release per bite – if at all. Furthermore, symptoms from the bite may take a few hours to even begin to show. However, this does not mean that a black widow bite should be taken at all lightly. Depending on the amount of venom released, and the health of the individual bitten, these bites can cause extreme health complications and even death.
The Bite of the Brown Recluse
The jaws of brown recluse are not very strong, and, as such, the spider’s pinchers will struggle to penetrate human skin in the absence of counter pressure. However, this is not unlikely to occur when in contact with a brown recluse. The elusive arachnid prefers to remain hidden, and most encounters with them are accidental when picking up a box or toy, moving an old piece of furniture, etc. In these cases, your hand or arm may unintentionally come in direct contact with the spider, causing them to strike out in defense. This added pressure of your hand against the spider is enough to allow them to bite through your skin, injecting their venom into your blood stream.
These bites are very painful, although unlike the bite of the black widow, the pain is localized and accompanied by a stinging sensation. These bites originally develop into a blister before eventually splitting into a lesion and, in severe cases, can cause skin necrosis – destruction of the skin tissue.
Both of these venomous bites, as well as the bites of other arachnids can cause the following symptoms:
- Rash, blisters and/or bumps
- Radiating pain
- Headaches or dizziness
- Nausea, vomiting, or extreme stomach pain
- Muscle pain
- Sweating, fever, or chills
- Intense chest pain or tightness
- Difficulty breathing
What to Do If You Are Bitten
Depending on the species of spider, these bites can be extremely serious. As such, if you are bitten, it is important to attempt to identify the type of spider (if it is safe to do so) in order to properly inform medical professionals about your particular situation.
In the case of both the black widow and brown recluse, it is recommended that you seek medical treatment immediately as both bites can be fatal in extreme cases. While waiting for medical assistance however, you can take the following steps to reduce the effects of the bite and put yourself in the best position for survival in the case of a serious reaction to the venom:
- Stay calm and notify others that you need treatment
- DO NOT attempt to remove the venom
- Elevate the bite area if possible
- Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling
If you find that your home has unwelcome venomous visitors, we recommend that you call in the professionals right away. Dealing with these types of arachnids can be dangerous and should only be handled by trained technicians with experience with these types of pests so that the issue can be treated quickly and effectively. Call us today if you suspect you may have an arachnid issue in your home.
Mehta, F. (2018) What Happens After a Black Widow Spider Bite?, Medical News Today. Medically Reviewed by G. Whitoworth. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313647(Accessed: April 2020).
Venomous Spiders (2018) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/spiders/default.html (Accessed: April 2020).