Most spiders that you might see in your home are harmless. Spiders can be pesky and may even frighten you, but they typically pose little threat to any people or pets in the house. Unfortunately, one of the few species of spiders dangerous to humans is found in the Greater St. Louis area: the brown recluse spider. This arachnid is a medium-sized, venomous spider to watch out for on your property.
Why Are Brown Recluse Spiders Dangerous?
Brown recluse spiders typically do not bite humans or other animals unless they feel threatened or provoked. Like black widows, their bite is usually a defensive maneuver. However, if a brown recluse was nesting in a shoe or on a piece of clothing you put on, the sudden movement may excite them and cause them to bite.
These spiders release venom when they bite. In most cases, a brown recluse bite will become a red welt, first with fang marks, then slowly turn to look like a bulls-eye. The bite should usually heal after a few days or weeks without scarring. Sometimes, the bite spot will harden, turn white, and then black or blue as the tissue dies and the skin heals.
There can be more severe health problems associated with it on some occasions. Some people who have been bit have reported skin necrosis, where a lesion can form and takes the body months to heal. A scar is left behind even though the initial tissue has died. With these possible outcomes and symptoms of nausea, swelling, and muscle pain, you should seek medical attention immediately if you believe a brown recluse has bitten you or someone else.
Where Are They Found?
Brown recluse spiders live in dark, dry spaces. As their name suggests, they nest and build webs in secluded places that homeowners can easily miss. These spiders nest in hiding places such as attics, basements, crawl spaces, or even undisturbed boxes or paper piles. Outside, they often are in wood piles or under utility boxes. Although brown recluses prefer warmer climates, they have been seen as far north as Ohio.
What Should I Do if I Get Bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider?
It is crucial to seek medical attention if you, someone else, or a pet gets bitten by a brown recluse. Directly after you get bitten, you should clean the wound with soap and water, elevate it, and ice it. Painkillers like acetaminophen may help with the initial pain from the bite. If possible, find the spider that bit you, kill it, and preserve it in a plastic bag to give to a medical professional. They will be able to help determine that the spider was indeed a brown recluse, which will help them treat you.
How Can I Prevent Them?
As with any pest, there are preventative actions you can take to keep brown recluses out of your home. Keep corners of your home dust-free and sanitized by cleaning frequently. Try to keep clothes and loose papers off the floor, and use plastic storage bins rather than cardboard when storing items in the attic or cedar closets. Be sure that your windows are clean and the moldings are free of dust and webs.
When to Seek Professional Help
As with other household pests, if you find one, you’ll likely find more. Brown recluse spiders can infest a home quickly if a female is in the mix, as the queens can lay up to 50 eggs at a time. Brown recluses also have a longer life span than other spider species – they live an average of 543 days, though some have been observed living up to five years. With this in mind, contacting a professional pest control service is vital if you suspect you have multiple brown recluses in your house. It is even possible if you have a termite infestation that this will also attract brown recluses, who prey on termites.
PestShield is committed to keeping our customers’ homes safe and pest-free all year. Whether you have our in-wall pest control system installed or not, our expert team will help exterminate the pests and go through preventative measures to shield your home from a future infestation. We would love to help with all of our questions and pest-control needs, so do not hesitate to reach out to us today!