Why the Brown Recluse Earns His Reputation as Dangerous

/ / Spider

Being from South Louisiana, you’ve probably grown accustomed to sharing your space with a variety of insects and arachnids. Most of these don’t pose more of a threat than an itchy spot or a little sting that will go away in a couple of days. However, some of the creepy creatures you share a habitat with are not so innocuous, and some of them will not stay outdoors where they belong.

The brown recluse spider is one of the few poisonous spiders indigenous to the region, and some might tell you that you don’t have a lot to worry about from this shy little spider. However, the brown recluse has gotten a reputation for being dangerous to humans (and pets) with good reason.

The Severity of the Poison

Brown recluse spider bites are not normally fatal in adults, but they do cause a severe reaction. Symptoms of a bite from a brown recluse include nausea and vomiting, muscle pain, severe pain and/or itching at the site of the bite, and/or muscle pain.

If untreated, the skin, subcutaneous fat, and tissue around the bite will most likely die (skin necrosis). Necrotized flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and can result in gangrene and the need to amputate a limb or cut out a significant portion of flesh.

Unfortunately, there is no test for brown recluse venom in the blood or tissue, and diagnosing a brown recluse spider bite is something best left up to medical professionals. If you’ve been bitten by an unknown insect or arachnid, and you experience any of the above symptoms, you should go to the emergency room immediately to avoid permanent damage.

Children who show signs of fever or nausea and have a red mark on their skin that looks like a bee sting or a minor burn should be taken to the hospital immediately, as children under 7 are especially susceptible to brown recluse venom.

brown recluse spider

brown recluse spider

Uninvited Guests

You might be thinking, “Well, I’ll just stay away from them.” Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. As summer turns to autumn, and the weather begins to turn cooler, brown recluse spiders start to look for warmer habitats. The brown recluse lives up to his name; he’s a shy little fella with a propensity for seeking out warm, dark places with a lot of little nooks and crannies where he can hide.

To a brown recluse spider, your attic, and the back of your closet are all prime real estate, especially come winter. So, though you may not be rolling around in the leaves or digging into his natural outside habitat, you might not be safe from a dangerous bite, even in your own home.

To prepare for winter and keep yourself and your family safe from a brown recluse bite, you might want to consider calling a pest control expert to come to your home and spray for spiders. Even if you aren’t comfortable with mild pesticides, you may want to ask a professional for advice on making your home less attractive to these pests.

Mistaken Identity

Finally, brown recluse spiders are dangerous because they’re so small and innocuous looking. We’ve all seen a house spider or a wolf spider running around at one point or another, and – while we might not have been happy about it – we certainly weren’t scared. Unfortunately, with bodies no bigger than 3/8ths of an inch in diameter and measuring smaller than a penny including their legs, brown recluse spiders can look to the untrained eye like a smaller wolf spider.

If you see an all-brown, small spider crawl out from under a box in your basement or out of one of your closets, you may have a brown recluse invasion. Call Dugas Pest Control immediately and avoid your home’s storage spaces until you have the place checked out for spiders.

 

Sources:

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/spider_bite_brown_recluse_spider_bite/page3_em.htm#brown_recluse_spider_bite_symptoms

http://firstaid.about.com/od/Spider-Bites/ss/How-To-Tell-Its-Not-a-Brown-Recluse_5.htm#step-heading

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215121557.htm

http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2008/1215-houseman-brown-recluse.php