Pest Control – Brown Recluse Spiders

 

Brown recluse spiders, or Loxosceles reclusa, belong to a family including eleven indigenous US species and are also, due to a marking on their backs, known as violin or fiddle-back spiders. Because other spider family members have a similar marking, the violin shape isn’t the brown recluse’s most distinguishing feature. The thing that sets the brown recluse apart from other violin marked spiders is that brown recluse spiders only have six eyes instead of eight.

Chocolate brown/tan and measuring about .25 inches with a leg span of about 1 inch, the brown recluse’s reputation is a lot larger than its actual physical size. Brown recluse spiders mate in June or July at which time the females deposit 20 to 50 eggs, in a spherical-shaped case. Over their two-year life spans, female brown recluse spiders deposit 2 to 5 batches of eggs.

Well established in the South and Mid-west, brown recluse habitats are expanding into northern areas

Established in mid-western and southern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas, brown recluse spiders make the occasional appearances in Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wyoming. Although brown recluse spiders are rare in these areas, they may be transported in cargo boxes and similar items from a locale where brown recluses are common.

Brown recluse bites dangerous, with physical damage

Living in caves and rodent burrows in the wild, brown recluse spiders can become pests when they take up residency in attics, under furniture in storage areas, in cracks and walls, as well as in woodpiles and other yard debris. Non-aggressive by nature, brown recluse spiders avoid humans, making their homes in dark, undisturbed places. Brown recluse spiders only bite humans as a defense when trapped or threatened. Typically this happens when someone is searching for things in an attic, moving stored items, or cleaning up woodpiles and other yard debris. Accidentally blundering into their nesting areas, humans can fall victim to brown recluse bites.

Initial bite not painful but may cause flu-like symptoms and in rare cases, death
While the initial bite from a brown recluse isn’t seriously painful, no more than a stinging sensation in most cases, brown recluse spiders inject a venom that can cause systemic flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include fatigue, nausea, chills, fever, joint pain and other more serious symptoms, such as jaundice, bloody urine and convulsions leading to death in rare cases.

Brown recluse venom contains tissue-killing neurotoxins
Because brown recluse venom contains cytotoxic neurotoxins, brown recluse bites can cause necrotic lesions that take a long time to heal. Generally, around seven hours after a brown recluse bite occurs, a small blister appears on the skin that will continue to grow. Depending on the amount of venom injected, a brown recluse wound could be as small as a dime or as large as 8 inches in diameter.

Destroying the blood vessel walls around the bite site, the tissue surrounding the bite site turns black and eventually sloughs off. Decayed tissue around the bite site can leave deep depressions in the skin and cause scar tissue to form, with healing often taking six to eight weeks or as long as a year in some cases. Due to the lengthy healing process, victims risk secondary infections as well.

Other cases of mistaken identities

Brown, medium in size with chevron patterns on their abdomens, hobo spiders, from Western Europe were introduced to the Pacific Northwest some time before the 1930s via Seattle’s international port. Unlike brown recluse spiders that naturally avoid humans, hobo spiders have been spotted running across floors in homes.

Also, many bites previously attributed to brown recluse spiders are now being acknowledged as hobo spider bites. Although hobo spiders are now taking the heat for causing the most cases of serious venomous bites in the Northwest, in many cases, hobo spider bites do not result in necrotic lesions as no venom is injected into the skin.

Ways to get rid of Brown Recluse Spiders

While brown recluse spiders aren’t known for large infestations by definition, as they tend to live in out-of-the-way places, away from other living beings, should you see more than one spider per week, you may want to contact a trusted pest control company.

The best way to avoid brown recluse spiders in your home and on your property is to make your home unattractive to all spiders and other pests, as well. Preventive measures include:

  • Excluding spiders and their prey by sealing or caulking all cracks and crevices around the foundation of your home and any points of entry in your home.
  • Be careful where you are reaching with your hands, so you don’t come in contact with one accidentally.
  • Eliminating all clutter from the interior and the exterior of your home.
  • Cleaning storage areas and attics regularly.
  • Regularly vacuuming and sweeping, as well as keeping all food items stored properly and food prep and dining areas wiped down and all food contained or deposited in closed trash containers.
  • Removing all debris, dense vegetation and woodpiles from the exterior of your home.

Cut to the Chase: Contact The Bug Lady

Cut to the chase and contact NWA Ladybug Pest Control to ask about our Four Seasons approach to pest control. Convenient scheduling and our innovative Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system use many different techniques and materials to keep your home pest free all year-round. Contact NWA Ladybug Pest Control  for a free pest inspection today!

 

 

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You might be Surprised by the Cause of Spider Bites

The Surprising Cause of Most ‘Spider Bites’
By Douglas Main, Staff Writer

 

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A funnel-web wolf spider, <em>Sosippus californicus</em>. This spider spins a sheet-like web attached to a narrow tube, or funnel. Sitting at the mouth of the tube, the spider waits to strike after feeling vibrations of prey crossing the web.
Pin It A funnel-web wolf spider, Sosippus californicus. This spider spins a sheet-like web attached to a narrow tube, or funnel. Sitting at the mouth of the tube, the spider waits to strike after feeling vibrations of prey crossing the web.

If the thought of spiders makes your skin crawl, you might find it reassuring that the chances of being bitten by a spider are smaller than you imagine, recent research shows.

Most so-called “spider bites” are not actually spider bites, according to researchers and several recent studies. Instead, “spider bites” are more likely to be bites or stings from other arthropods such as fleas, skin reactions to chemicals or infections, said Chris Buddle, an arachnologist at McGill University in Montreal.

“I’ve been handling spiders for almost 20 years, and I’ve never been bitten,” Buddle told LiveScience. “You really have to work to get bitten by a spider, because they don’t want to bite you.”
For one thing, spiders tend to avoid people, and have no reason to bite humans because they aren’t bloodsuckers and don’t feed on humans, Buddle said. “They are far more afraid of us than we are of them,” he said. “They’re not offensive.”

Not very scary

 

When spider bites do happen, they tend to occur because the eight-legged beasts are surprised — for example when a person reaches into a glove, shoe or nook that they are occupying at the moment, Buddle said.

Even then, however, the majority of spiders are not toxic to humans. Spiders prey on small invertebrates such as insects, so their venom is not geared toward large animals such as humans.

Many spiders aren’t even capable of piercing human flesh. Buddle said he has observed spiders “moving their fangs back and forth against his skin,” all to no avail. [Creepy, Crawly & Incredible: Photos of Spiders]

Only about a dozen of the approximately 40,000 spider species worldwide can cause serious harm to the average healthy adult human. In North America, there are only two groups of spiders that are medically important: the widow group (which includes black widows) and the recluse group (brown recluses). These spiders do bite people, and if they live in your area, you should know what they look like, Buddle said. But still, records show bites from these spiders are very infrequent.

 

spider-black-widow

The bite of widow spiders like the black widow is one of the only well-recognized spider bites in North America, with obvious, unmistakable symptoms, said Rick Vetter, a retired arachnologist at the University of California at Riverside. Signs can include intense pain and muscle contractions, which occur because the bite interferes with nerves in muscles.

Nowadays, deaths from the bite are rare thanks to widow spider antivenom. Before this was developed, however, treatments for black widow bites included whiskey, cocaine and nitroglycerine, according to a review Vetter published this month in the journal Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America.

Misidentified ‘bites’

 

Often, black widow and brown recluse spiders are misidentified, and reported in regions where they are extremely unlikely to actually live, Vetter said. For example, In South Carolina, 940 physicians responding to a survey reported a total of 478 brown recluse spider bites in the state — but only one brown recluse bite has ever been definitively confirmed in the state. Recluses are mainly found in the central and southern United States, according to Vetter’s study.

 

brown recluse spider

 

“I’ve had 100 recluse spiders running up my arm, and I’ve never been bitten by one,” Vetter told LiveScience.

The vast majority of “spider bites” are caused by something else, research shows. One study Vetter cited found that of 182 Southern California patients seeking treatment for spider bites, only 3.8 percent had actual spider bites, while 85.7 percent had infections.

 

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And a national study found that nearly 30 percent of people with skin lesions who said they had a spider bite actually had methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Other things that can cause symptoms that mimic spider bites include biting fleas or bedbugs, allergies, poison oak and poison ivy, besides various viral and bacterial infections, Vetter said.

In recent years, doctors have become better at identifying true spider bites, Vetter writes.

But spiders are still widely regarded as dangerous to humans, which is generally not the case, Buddle said.

Spiders are good at killing “nuisance insects,” which may be more likely to bite humans than spiders, Buddle added. “In the vast majority of cases, spiders are our friends.”

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Black widow spiders are common throughout Arkansas because the warm climate and urban settings provide an ideal environment for them. Widow spiders are very secretive. They occur in undisturbed areas and under debris. They rarely bite, but bites can be very dangerous. They possess a neurotoxic venom that can result in a serious medical emergency.

ECO-FRIENDLY SPIDER CONTROL:

The first step to ridding your home of these scary pests is to clean up. Make sure that all crumbs and food debris are gone, this will also help with ant control. Second, plug up any holes or cracks. Spiders can fit through even the tiniest of cracks in your home, find the spiders entry source and plugging it up will be a great step in ridding your house of these pests. And finally, trapping spiders is another eco-friendly method of extermination. Hiding glue boards behind appliances and other dark places will help to trap spiders and many other pests.

Got Spiders?

Contact the Bug Lady, Northwest Arkansas’ best eco friendly pest control alternative.