Spider Bite Guide – Know Your Spiders!

preppers will - spider bites guide  Spiders are everywhere and you are never more than 12 feet away from one. A single house and garden may have more than 80 species of spiders and it is estimated that there are more than 4000 species in the United States. While all spiders have venom, only a few spider bites are considered to be lethal to humans and pets. Even so, it is best to know more about the spiders that are a threat for us and to provide solid and valuable information on how to deal with these spiders.

We have to understand that all spiders are shy, timid creatures that only bite us when being threatened. These is why most bites occur by accident as people fail to notice the spiders, until is too late. The good news is that in North America, there are only a few species that have fangs large enough to pierce human skin. Even so, you still need to have a spider bite guide and know what to do if you are bitten by a spider.

Venomous spiders found in the United States include the black widow, brown recluse, and hobo spiders. They can be dangerous to people who spend time outside but these spiders occasionally find their way inside buildings and pose a risk to indoor people and pets. There are two types of spider venom. The first is cytotoxic (hobo spider and brown recluse) and the second one is neurotoxic (black widow).

Since it is difficult to identify a spider bite by a skin wound alone, in order to have a precise diagnostic it is recommended to capture the spider immediately after or during the bite and have it identified by an expert.

Spider Bite Guide for Dangerous US Spiders

The Black Widow Spider

Preppers will - black widow spider  There are 5 different “black” widow spider species in the U. S. and they are also known as Southern black widow (Latrodectus mactans), Northern black widow (Latrodectus variolus) and Western black widow (Latrodectus Hesperus). The black widow can be found throughout North America and most of the times they enter your home when firewood is carried inside. You can easily recognize a black widow as they have a shiny, jet black body, ¼ inch long. They have a very distinct, red, hourglass shape on the underside of their abdomen and the males are half as large as the females. Males are not poisonous or strong enough to inflict a bite. On a spider bite pain scale, where level 1 is not perceptible and level ten is the most severe, the black widow spider bite pain rates a ten. Regarding skin damage levels, on the same measuring scale, it rates a four. Young children and the elderly are especially susceptible to a severe reaction to a black widow spider bite.

Here are the spider bite symptoms:   

  • Immediate pain, burning and swelling
  • Cramping pain and muscle rigidity
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Rash and itching
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Salivation and tearing of the eyes

What to do if bitten by a black widow:

  • Wash the spider bite with soap and water
  • Use both cold and warm compresses
  • Take acetaminophen or antihistamine to reduce swelling
  • Do not apply pressure on the spider bite wound
  • Do not apply bandages
  • Go to the emergency room as a black widow spider bite is life threatening

Avoid black widow spider bites by wearing heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time. Spiders often hide in shoes, so check shoes and shake them out before wearing. When spider webs are visible, use caution before putting your hands or feet in them as you never know when a black widow is lurking nearby.

The Brown Recluse Spider

Preppers will - Brown Recluse Spider  The brown recluse spider also known as the violin spider has 11 closely related species that can be found in the Southern and Midwest U.S. These spiders are brown to tan in color, ¼” – ½” long with leg spans greater than a quarter. There is a distinct dark brown violin shaped marking on the head and thorax. The violin spiders only have three pairs of eyes, whereas many spiders have eight. These are nocturnal spiders that feed on cockroaches and crickets. They live outdoors in debris and wood piles and the males are the ones that wander indoors in storage areas and dark recesses. Like all spiders, the brown recluse spider only bites in defense and this occurs when the clothing, foot gear or head gear they are hiding in is worn. On a bite pain scale, the violin spider bites rates an eight and on the skin damage scale the level is ten.

Here are the spider bite symptoms:

  • Severe pain at bite site after about 4 hours
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Blistering
  • Death of skin from necrotic venom
  • Only 10% of bites result in anything more than a small red mark

What to do if bitten by a brown recluse spider:

  • Keep the spider bite area dry
  • Avoid any strenuous activity to avoid spreading the venom in the skin
  • Use acetaminophen for pain relief
  • Apply an ice compress on the spider bite wound
  • Although it is not a life threatening bite you should see a doctor to receive the proper medication and remove the dead tissue in the area

To prevent bites, shoes, gloves and other infrequently worn clothing should be shaken before attempting to wear them. Thorough vacuuming around windows, corners of rooms, closets, pictures, under furniture and storage shelves should be regularly done.

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Spider Bite Guide for Non Dangerous US spiders

The Hobo Spider

Preppers will - Hobo Spider  Also called Tagenaria agrestis, the hobo spider can be found in the northwestern United States, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. This spider makes thick webs with the funnel neck back in a wall crevice and wider mouth opening into a room. Hobo Spiders are usually found only in moist areas of basements, garages or cellars, in ground level window wells, and so forth. This spider is about a ¼ to 5/8 inches in length, of brown color with a distinct pattern of yellow markings on its back. The hobo spider venom is a necrotic type that can cause tissue death and sloughing of the skin next to the bite. The wound can require up to 6 months to heal. On a spider bite pain scale, the hobo spider rates a six and on the skin damage scale the level is three.

Here are the spider bite symptoms:

  • Bites have been reported to cause severe headaches that last for several days
  • It often causes necrotic wounds
  • The spider bite can go completely unnoticed since it is not initially painful

What to do if bitten by a hobo spider:

  • Clean the site with soap and water
  • Apply ice packs on the bite area
  • Take acetaminophen or antihistamine to reduce swelling
  • Watch the spider bite closely for signs of infection
  • Do not apply pressure or bandages on the wound
  • Although it is not a life threatening spider bite you should see a doctor to receive the proper medication

Preventing bites by hobo spiders requires some simple, common sense measures. Wear protective clothing, including long sleeves tucked into gloves, long pants tucked into boots, and coveralls or a jacket with a hood. Wear gloves when working outdoors in potential habitats such as rock gardens, and when moving leaves or wood. Hobo spider bites occur in bed, when the sleeping person inadvertently rolls over or simply touches a spider. Hobo spiders usually get onto your bed by climbing up bedspreads or other linen which touches, or is very close to the floor; they are not proficient at scaling slick surfaces, such as polished wood or metal bedposts. Keep your bedspread at least eight inches above the floor.

The Sac Spider

Preppers will - Yellow Sac Spider  The sac spider is also known as yellow sac spider and can be found throughout North America and is often misidentified as brown recluse spider. These spiders are very small, about ¼ inch to 3/8 of an inch long and have no conspicuous markings. The front legs of the sac spider are longer than the rest of their body and legs. The color varies greatly among the species of this family. They are very pale and can be yellow, greenish and tan. Most bites occur at night due to their nocturnal habits of emerging at twilight from their silken retreats to hunt their prey. They are often found inside running up walls at night. In the morning they drop to the ground and construct silken sacs in protected areas to rest in. On a spider bite pain scale, the hobo spider rates a four and on the skin damage scale the level is five.

Here are the spider bite symptoms:

  • A stinging sensation is common, similar to a bee sting
  • Swelling
  • Nausea
  • Residual pain for days

What to do if bitten by a sac spider:

  • Clean the site with soap and water
  • Put hydrogen peroxide on the wound
  • Apply ice packs on the spider bite
  • Take acetaminophen or antihistamine to reduce swelling
  • Watch bite closely for signs of infection
  • Although it is not a life threatening spider bite you should see a doctor to receive the proper medication

Preventing bites by hobo spiders requires some simple, common sense measures. Vacuum regularly and properly install glue traps, duct tape (sticky side up) or double-sided carpet tape. Keep bare hands out of places that you cannot see, and do not use bare hands to turn over possible hiding place.

The Wolf Spider

Preppers will - Wolf spider  These are large, hairy running spiders with eyes in 3 rows; the first row has 4 little eyes and the 2 other rows have 2 large eyes each. They normally are found outdoors, throughout North America (more than 100 different species) and they require a consistent source of moisture. They are very common outdoors under leaf litter, rocks and logs. Although these spiders look creepy, they are mostly harmless and their bites will be felt, because of their large size. Wolf spiders they tend to stay at or near the floor level, especially along the walls, under furniture and other objects. On a spider bite pain scale, the wolf spider rates a four and on the skin damage scale the level is four as well.

Here are the spider bite symptoms:

  • Local pain, with mild skin irritation to muscle pain

What to do if bitten by a sac spider:

  • Wolf spiders are basically harmless to humans and their pets.
  • Should treat as common spider bite
  • Clean the site with soap and water
  • Watch bites closely for signs of infection

Try using glue boards or duct tape (sticky side up) to trap these spiders and properly install air conditioning, dehumidifiers and fans.

The Parson Spider

Preppers will - Parson spider  The spider species is commonly called the eastern parson spider, after the abdominal markings resembling an old-style cravat worn by clergy in the 18th century. It is mainly found in Central USA, with finds stretching from North Carolina to southern Alberta, Canada. Their appearance varies from a brown head to a black or gray thorax. They are ½ inch long and have a distinctive white or pink pattern on their middles. These spiders are covered in fire hairs and appear velvety. On a spider bite pain scale, the parson spider rates a two and it doesn’t produce any skin damage.

Here are the spider bite symptoms:

  • They are generally considered to be non-toxic, but many people have allergic reactions to bites
  • Local swelling and itching
  • Initial pain can occur, but the pain sensation fades away after 1 hour

What to do if bitten by an eastern parson spider:

  • Wash the spider bite with soap and water
  • Take acetaminophen or antihistamine to reduce swelling
  • Watch bites closely for signs of infection
  • See a doctor to receive the proper medication if you develop a severe allergic reaction

Preventing bites by hobo spiders requires some simple, common sense measures. Vacuum regularly and properly install glue traps.

As a main rule, general sanitation and habitat modification, both indoors and outdoors, is very important in spider control. Here are some other suggestions to prevent spider infestation:

  • Clean up all woodpiles, rocks, trash, compost piles, old boards, and other debris.
  • Exercise caution and wear protective clothing when working around any materials that have been stockpiled for any length of time.
  • All garages, cellars, crawl spaces must be kept clean and uncluttered.
  • Control of excess moisture is also helpful in keeping spiders away from living habitats.
  • Seal the small cracks and crevices from your building
  • Vacuum up all webs
  • Eliminate household insects such as cockroaches, bedbugs, ants and others to discourage spider infestations. Left without a prey the spiders will have to hunt somewhere else.

Stay Safe and God Bless!

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