Dugas’ Short Guide to Poisonous Spiders of South Louisiana

Dugas Pest Control provides spider extermination services to control spider infestations inside homes 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.

Brown Recluse Identification

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 that mimic its look. If in doubt, leave it alone!

Black Widow Identification

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. Its 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!

Brown Widow Identification

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 when you find a poisonous spider in your home

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!

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Why the Brown Recluse Earns His Reputation as Dangerous

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.

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

Be Careful of Black and Brown Widows in Baton Rouge

Dugas Pest Control provides spider extermination services to control spider infestations inside homes Summer is winding down, and cooler fall weather is right around the corner. As you get ready for sweater weather, bonfires, and corn mazes, you’re probably packing up the mosquito nets and repellant with a sigh of relief. However, if you live in South Louisiana, you should be aware that – though mosquito season is coming to an end – there are still pests around that can cause you real harm. In particular, you need to beware of the prevalence of black and brown widows in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area.

Poisonous Spiders Moving into Southern Louisiana

A local news piece on reported back in 2012 that brown widows were “on the move” following Hurricane Katrina. Cousin to the black widow, the brown widow was not always a problem for southern Louisiana residents, but after the devastating hurricane’s massive upheaval of natural habitats, the spiders began to migrate to more populated areas, and they continue to be present in and around Baton Rouge today.

Black widows, as you may already know, are indigenous to Louisiana and their presence is not news to most residents. Fortunately, neither spider is aggressive or particularly predatory. They prefer warm, dark places, and they will usually flee if given the chance, rather than standing their ground and attacking. However, if you accidentally trap one, and your hand or foot is in the way, it will not hesitate to bite you.

A Potentially Deadly Bite

Both black widow and brown widow bites have very potent neurotoxins in their bites. A bite from either a brown or black widow is not an automatic death sentence, but their poison will immediately begin rotting the flesh around the bitten area. Without immediate medical attention, you risk infection, gangrene, the need for amputation, and even death.

Children, senior citizens, and people with impaired immune systems are the most at risk for serious infection and/or death from a black or brown widow spider bite. So teach your kids how to identify these potentially dangerous arachnids, as well as how to avoid being bitten.

Identifying Black and Brown Widows

Most people know how to identify a black widow. They are about a half-inch long with a telltale hourglass-shaped red mark on the underside of their shiny black abdomens. A black widow will also sometimes have red spots on the top of its abdomen.

If you see a black, shiny spider that’s about a half-inch long with a round abdomen, don’t inspect closer; back away from it and warn others that you’ve potentially found a black widow nest. If it’s in your home or yard, call a pest control expert to have the problem dealt with.

Brown widows are slightly larger than their cousins and also have an hourglass on the undersides of their abdomens, though theirs is a lighter burnt orange color. Their legs are a very light brown with darker brown stripes at the joints, and their abdomens are a light, mottled brown. Brown widows can reach up to an inch and a half in length, and they tend to inhabit the same dark, warm environments that black widows do.

How to Avoid Them and What to Do if You’re Bitten

Try to avoid digging around or getting into dark, moist, warm places. Warn your kids about spider habitats and tell them to come to you immediately if they see a suspect spider. You can then evaluate the situation and call the professionals if need be.

If you or someone you love has been bitten, seek medical attention immediately. Keep the bitten limb elevated above the heart if possible, but do not apply a tourniquet, and do not try to cut or suck the poison out. Just get to the hospital or urgent care facility, and have a medical professional treat you as soon as possible.

If you’re concerned about dangerous spiders being in your home, contact Dugas Pest Control today for a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.fox8live.com/story/17588159/brown-widow-spiders-on-the-mov

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74149.html

http://animals.howstuffworks.com/arachnids/how-to-identify-black-widow-spiders.htm

http://www.countynewscenter.com/news/brown-widows-what-you-need-know

Common Louisiana Spiders – Knowing Your Arachnids

Dugas Pest Control provides spider extermination services to control spider infestations inside homes There are thousands of types of spiders around the world. These eight-legged creatures are both fascinating and frightening, and even in the cleanest home, you’re never far from one. Louisiana is home to a very wide range of arachnids, ranging from the impressive but not dangerous to the tiny but deadly. Understanding the different spiders you might encounter at home or out in the yard can help you determine whether you should call Dugas Pest Control for help, or if you’ve got a friendly helping hand in eliminating some other potential threats.

Common Spiders in Louisiana

There are several species of spiders that call Louisiana home today, either brought in by human migration or native to the area. However, the vast majority are harmless. Of course, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a harmless spider and one that does pose a danger to you and your family. Some of the spiders you might encounter in your home or yard include:

Brown Recluse About an inch long, the brown recluse is a dangerous spider, although they are not aggressive. Most bites are only painful, although a small fraction does result in tissue necrosis.

Black Widow One of the most infamous spiders in the US, the black widow features an easily identifiable red hourglass marking on its abdomen. Black widow bites can be very dangerous, and medical attention should be sought if bitten.

Brown Widow The brown widow is a larger relative of the black widow, and like its more famous cousin, its bite is poisonous. Also like its relative, the brown widow is not aggressive and usually prefers to flee rather than fight.

Other Widows – There are several other “widow” spiders, including the red widow. They are all recognizable by the hourglass marking on their abdomens, and all have similar bite consequences.

Yellow Sac Spiders – These spiders are easily identified by the pale yellow abdomen. While their bite causes pain and lesions, they are not lethal, and the spider only bites when threatened (not aggressive).

House Spiders These are the most common spiders on the planet, and frequently take up residence in houses, barns and other manmade structures. While they can bite, they are harmless.

Wolf Spiders Louisiana is home to several different species of wolf spiders, but all can be identified by their trademark hairy bodies. They are not aggressive, but will bite if threatened. Bites are not dangerous, though swelling and itching will result.

Jumping Spiders – There are multiple types of jumping spiders in Louisiana, and they vary in size dramatically. Most bites are inconsequential, but very large jumping spiders have bites that can cause pain (often as severe as a bee string), although there is no actual danger from the bite.

About Louisiana Spiders

Most of the spiders that call Louisiana home are harmless to humans. There are only a very few species of spiders worldwide that can be considered serious threats to human life. In fact, most spiders are actually beneficial creatures, as they help reduce the population of other pests that can have a detrimental impact on human life by spreading disease, waste and more.

Of course, it can be difficult to tell if a spider is dangerous or not. Most of them won’t sit still for you to inspect their abdomens for that red hourglass, and larger spiders can be frightening even if they’re harmless. The best defense is to leave the spider alone and contact a spider exterminator to ensure that your home hasn’t become a haven for dangerous pests that might do harm to your family. If spiders are a problem in your home, contact Dugas Pest Control to learn more about our available pest control options.