Spiders are fascinating creatures to some, and the worst nightmare for others. But regardless of which side of the fence you’re on when it comes to these arthropods, you do not want to wind up nursing a spider bite.
There are almost 4,000 species of spiders found in the United States, but of these only about 60 species are capable of causing harm to humans, according to entomologists with the University of Minnesota Extension.
A tangled web
It’s no secret that some spiders bite, but not all suspected spider bites are what they seem. Research cited by the University of Minnesota Extension shows that ticks and other insects cause more than 80 percent of bites attributed to spiders.
Because a spider bite shares many of the same characteristics as other insect bites – swelling, irritation, itching and sometimes pain – it can be hard to properly determine whether or not it was a spider that bit you.
A true spider bite will have two puncture marks, and there is usually only one bite. Because a spider bites as a last resort, it is typically only able to bite once before it is killed by whatever has threatened it.
Most spiders cannot actually bite a person. Their fangs are not capable of breaking through human skin. Even those spiders that are able to bite may not inject venom, and some people do not even realize they have been bitten.
Know what bit you
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are three types of venomous spiders that are a cause for concern in the United States: black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders and hobo spiders.
Black widow species are found across the United States, but are more common in the Southern and Western portions of the country. Symptoms of a black widow bite include a sharp initial pain, which then spreads throughout the body as the neurotoxin travels.
Brown recluse species are typically found in the Midwest and Southern portions of the U.S. While their venom is dangerous, a brown recluse bite only occurs when a counterpressure is applied – like if you pulled on one of your shoes and trapped the spider between the shoe and your foot. A brown recluse bite initially causes a stinging pain and typically only hurts at the bite site. Bites usually develop a small, white blister and may develop into a lesion that destroys tissue.
Hobo spiders are found in the Pacific Northwest. They do not bite unless provoked or threatened. A bite may not be noticed initially, however it can develop into a moderate to severe wound that is slow to heal.
Typical signs of non-venomous spider bites include itching, pain at the bite site and a rash or blister.
Signs of more severe bites include muscle pain, headaches, difficulty breathing, nausea, fever and high blood pressure. If you suspect you have been bitten by a black widow, brown recluse or hobo spider, call a doctor and seek medical treatment as these bites can be life-threatening.
Pest management professionals are trained to know the best methods to keep them outside of your home, holding those nightmares at bay. If you suspect spiders in your home and are concerned about the safety of your family, call Terminix®for a free pest estimate.