I have found not one, but two female and one male, brown recluse spiders in my home. Upon hearing about how dangerous they are, I immediately began researching via Google to find out just how serious the problem is. As it turns out, it’s not all that serious except that I have two cats that I would prefer not to contact them as the spider bite would probably spell very bad news for them. However, I did learn some interesting information I am willing to share as I am most certain that others may contact them also. There are a myriad of websites out there with bite identification and treatments. I found http://www.brownreclusespider.org/ most useful and the easiest site to navigate for that information and other information about poisonous spiders sharing spaces with humans.

The brown recluse spider is normally found in southern states framing the Gulf of Mexico’s northern shores though recently they have been on the move in areas of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware that I have heard of directly. The female is always larger than the male, looking much like a brownish gold spider with long legs measuring about an inch or an inch and a half. The males are considerably smaller and usually make a cocoon near the females on the hopes of mating. The cocoon looks like a puff of dirty cotton, while the female’s cocoon looks a lot like a very small bird nest with dirty cotton over and under it. They prefer dark places like bathrooms, where I found the first male and female spider, or closets and undergrowth shielded from direct light like a pile of leaves, where I found the second female. It is not unheard of for them to camp out in blankets, behind doors, in garages and other dark places as mentioned They are not aggressive spiders and will run to hide if approached with a fly swatter or other such object that may do it harm. They will run in small circles when threatened, but even then they don’t bite unless provoked or if they are pressed against your skins such as in clothes, blankets, towels, and other cloth or clothing. The chances of one attacking you is very unlikely.

The bite starts out as a small round red pair of bumps and turns into a ulcer as the skin hardens and begins to die. Once the entire process is finished, a doctor is able to remove the dead skin and fix any scars as a result of the bite. It is a painful bite, but is only lethal to very small children or the elderly, people who have compromised immune systems, and those who are allergic to venom such bee stings and such. Small animals such as dogs, cats, hamsters and such also run the risk of suffering fatality in the case of a bite. In those cases, the bite can be fatal and special care should be taken to get one bitten by the spider to an emergency room as soon as possible. It is suggested that shaking out one’s clothing and shoes will prevent bites from happening and remove the spider. While seemingly a very venomous and scary spider, the brown recluse prefers to dodge contact with humans by either running away or hiding. It is not aggressive at all, but it is also not docile like other spiders might be should a child pick it up and examine it.

There are more dangerous venomous spiders than the brown recluse spider that have homes in Pennsylvania. Black widow spiders, who also like dark places, are also dangerous but not the most venomous spider I have seen in Pennsylvania. While the black widow was once considered deadly toxic, it is considered to be dangerous in the same manner as brown recluse spiders are. The most venomous spider I have seen in my yard was the female mouse spider, a brown spider which is about an inch to an inch and a half long but with beefy and hairy legs. It has two black huge fangs directly under its highly visible eyes and requires anti-venom treatment to survive. While I have not seen any male of that species, the female mouse spider is also not aggressive and prefers to stay away from human contact though it will threaten by pushing its fangs outward and standing calmly where it is. The female mouse spider bite is extremely painful, according to information I have received, and its venom is fast working. These spiders are not native to Pennsylvania, so it may be more difficult to get anti-venom if bitten.

While it would seem that an exterminator might be the answer to a brown recluse spider problem, its resistance to most spray poisons renders this an unlikely means in which to control infestation problems that aren’t very serious. Spraying insecticides will kill the spider’s predators such as wolf spiders or daddy long leg spiders, often making small infestations worse. It is important to remember that each spider, no matter what it’s danger is, should be treated as though it has a purpose beyond being creepy. Some spiders are useful, such as garden spiders and orb weaver spiders, and are necessary predators to keep insect populations down. A mild winter can bring out a great number of insects and along with them comes their predators. It might also be useful to treat each spider as though it were poisonous in order to prevent any attack. While daddy long leg spiders are highly toxic, their inability to bite humans and a veracious appetite for other spiders make them useful spiders to have during a brown recluse plague.

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