Beware of Those Itsy, Bitsy Spiders!

— Written By Bill Hanlin and last updated by JoAnne Gryder

BlackWidow brown recluseNow is the time of year when folks are hauling in wood for fires or bringing out decorations that have been stored for the year. Sometimes residents may come into contact with spiders that are trying to stay out of the way. Harmful spiders find undisturbed places an ideal place to make their homes.

The two most common poisonous spiders are the brown recluse and black widow. Both of these spiders like places where they rarely come into contact with people. These places include not only attics and basements, but also the backs of closets and woodpiles.

Most people are familiar with what a black widow looks like. The female is about the size of a quarter, shiny black with a red hourglass on her abdomen. The poison from the black widow attacks the nervous system, although it is rarely fatal. Symptoms from a black widow bite include cramping, abdominal pain and tremors.

The brown recluse is a smaller spider, about the size of a dime. One identifying feature of a brown recluse is the violin shape on its back. Bites from brown recluse spiders are also rarely fatal, but they can be very painful. In some cases, poison from the spider causes the skin to turn black and the wound heals very slowly. If either the black widow or brown recluse bites you, it is advisable to seek medical attention.

Both spiders are not aggressive and will only bite in self-defense. In order to avoid becoming a victim of these spiders, use a little precaution. Closely examine any item that has been left undisturbed for any length of time.

Other spiders will also invade your home when the weather turns colder. The most common house invader is the wolf spider. Although they are large, hairy spiders, their bites are usually no worse than a bee sting. Since wolf spiders eat other insects and are considered beneficial, the best thing to do is to scoop them up with something other than your hand and put them outside.

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