Although not exactly the poster children of the bug world, spiders are a valuable part of our ecosystem. They help to manage the pest population and a few well-placed webs can help keep a home free of flying bugs.
However, this doesn’t mean that all of them are safe to have around. In fact, in Southern Louisiana, there are several species of spiders that are downright dangerous. We at Dugas receive many questions about spiders from our customers, so we put together a brief guide to the ones you really need to watch out for.
One of the more common poisonous spiders, the Brown Recluse is a large, brown spider with an hourglass pattern on its back. It loves to hide in dark places, and is typically spooked by the presence of people.
Many young Brown Recluse may be difficult to identify, as they may not have their hourglass pattern yet. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean their bite is any less dangerous. Further adding to the confusion, there are many other spider species who mimic its look. If in doubt, leave it alone!
One of the most feared spiders in the world, the Black Widow’s bite is extremely poisonous. While it can cause necrosis and illness in adults, it has been known to kill small children and infants.
Fortunately, the Black Widow is pretty easy to spot. It’s all-black body stands out in the arachnid kingdom, and the bright red hourglass on its belly also signals danger to anyone who would come near it.
Typically, the female Black Widow is the one sporting the red hourglass, but the completely black male is still something to be feared. If you encounter either gender of Black Widow, extreme caution should be utilized, as their venom is fast acting, and the spiders themselves are known for being aggressive. In short, get the heck out of there!
While not as venomous as its more famous cousin, the Brown Widow is still nothing to take lightly. Its venom is also extremely toxic, but it additionally shares the trait of markings that are relatively easy to spot.
A Brown Widow will have a bright orange hourglass on the underside of its belly, and its feet will typically bear orange stripes. They can be slightly larger than their Black Widow counterparts, but fortunately don’t share nearly the mortality rate because they cannot deliver the same amount of venom.
What to Do
First off, avoid putting your hands and feet into any dark areas that a spider may be hiding. Spiders love to nestle in dark areas, like shoes. They can be easily surprised when you accidentally put your foot into their new home. Also, be careful when reaching into dark areas that you cannot make out clearly, as you might accidentally put your hand into a sticky Black Widow web.
Second, know what to look for. While any spider can technically bite, and some of them may cause some swelling, it is traditionally the fiddleback family, or in this case, the hourglass family that is considered extremely poisonous. They are easy to spot due to their markings, and should be avoided at all costs.
If you do get bit, remain calm. The venom of all three spiders can act pretty quickly, but getting excited about it won’t help things, as this will just increase your blood flow. Immediately put the wound under ice or cold water, and call for medical assistance.
Poison Control would be a good place to start, and if the victim is young, 911. Remember, a spider’s venom is fast-acting and doesn’t require a lot to poison someone substantially, so be careful and use your head if you think you were bitten.
It is important to remember that not all spiders are poisonous, and that when we encounter them, they are probably more afraid of us than we are of them. As a bit of comfort for those with arachnophobia, spiders don’t actively seek out people for confrontations.
Of course, you should be aware that if a spider thinks it needs to, most will defend themselves. Dugas Pest Control can answer just about any question about the spiders of South Louisiana, and if you are concerned about a burgeoning spider population on your property don’t hesitate to call us! We also offer free consultations to put your mind at ease today!