Itsy Bitsy Spider Season
And, even more specifically, the Brown Recluse.
Winter is coming and we naturally think we will see a lot less of these 8 legged arachnids. Unfortunately, with our nice warm houses, they will just move inside. So, if it crawls and has more legs than you, it probably wasn’t invited in!
There are many poisonous spiders in Texas, but there are more and more reports of people who have been bitten by a Brown Recluse. Relatively few spiders are able to pierce the human skin but the Brown Recluse is one of them.
We’ve got a really good image for you and here’s some important information.
The Brown Recluse is light brown in color. It is about ½ inch in length, has a violin shaped marking on the body and is sometimes called a “Fiddleback” spider due to the unique markings. It received its name because of its color and reclusive behavior.
These spiders make an irregular and sticky web that is used for shelter rather than for trapping insects. They are remarkably resilient and can survive 6 to 12 months with no food or water and have an average life span of 2 to 4 years. In laboratory conditions, they have lived as long as 7 years. And most importantly, they are extremely poisonous.
You don’t really have to get up close and personal to examine it so after killing it is the best time to verify if it is in fact a Brown Recluse.
They are not an aggressive spider, but they bite when they are trapped, like if you roll over on it in your sleep or put your foot inside a shoe. Their favorite spots are warm dry locations such as dressers, underneath couches, tables, behind baseboards. They hide away in boxes, sheds and near furnaces and water heaters.
There was a test done by putting a Black Widow with a Brown Recluse in a jar for about a week. The two spiders lived peacefully until a beetle was placed in with them. Three days later, the Black Widow and the beetle were dead. The Brown Recluse was alive, less 4 of its 8 legs. The spider can live several months missing even this many limbs.
The Brown Recluse’s venom is a cytotoxin that attacks the cells of flesh and produces necrosis or dead tissue in humans. Though fatalities from the venom are rare, the reaction to it depends on the amount of it and the individual’s sensitivity to the toxin. The bite is not usually felt, but a stinging sensation may develop shortly after, followed by intense pain. The reaction, however, may not occur until an hour or more after the bite.
The bitten area will first develop a small white blister and enlarge to the size of a silver dollar as the venom attacks and kills the tissue in the affected area. Eventually, the tissue will die and leave a sunken, ulcerated sore. The healing process is slow, generally six to eight weeks. If bitten, call a physician or go to the emergency room immediately. If possible, exterminate the spider and take it along for identification purposes. Though no antitoxin is available, prompt medical treatment can prevent a severe reaction and minimize the extent of damaged tissue and eventual scarring.
For a better chance of avoiding the bit of a Brown Recluse, shake out unworn or stored shoes and clothing before wearing, check bed linens and wear leather gloves when working around potential habitats.