What You Should Know About The Dangerous Spiders In Houston
Black Widow Spider crawling on the ground.

What You Should Know About The Dangerous Spiders In Houston

Arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders, is thought to be the most common phobia in the world. Whether you have a phobia or not, most people prefer not to spend too much time hanging out with spiders. They are creepy and mysterious and can sometimes become a real problem when they move into your home.

Let’s start with the good news: most of the spiders in Houston are harmless to humans. Almost all spiders can bite and inject venom, but many have fangs that are too small to puncture our skin. These are the spiders we call nuisance pests because even though they may be scary and leave messy webs around your home, they won’t hurt you.

Now here comes the not-so-good news: two of the most dangerous spiders in the U.S. live right here in Houston. You’ve likely already heard of these two spiders, the brown recluse and the black widow spider. These spiders are capable of piercing through the skin and injecting harmful venom.

This guide is here to help you learn more about dangerous spiders in Texas, including explaining how to identify them correctly. Many spiders appear similar, and spider misidentification could be hazardous to your health. 

Proper identification can help to prevent bites and hospital visits because a bite from a brown recluse or a black widow requires medical attention. We’ll review the side effects you might experience after being bitten by one of these spiders so you know what symptoms to watch for. 

Understanding why these spiders might infest your home and what attracts them can help you to work toward preventing them. We’ll also go over which parts of the home Houston pest control companies typically find these spiders in and the precautions to take in these areas to keep yourself safe. 

If you have seen any concerning spiders or want to prepare for a future encounter, you have come to the right place. Read on to learn more about dangerous spiders and what to do if you suspect they are on your property from the pros at Modern Pest Control.

How To Identify Dangerous Spiders

Learning to identify dangerous spiders correctly can help you protect yourself from bites. We’ll explain how to spot these spiders and their webs. We’ll also delve into the secret lives of these spiders and reveal the places they will likely be hiding out on your property. 

We’ll start with the black widow spider. Just the name can send shivers down the spine. These spiders are one of the most recognizable species in the world because of their distinct characteristics.

Black widows have shiny black bodies with a well-known red hourglass shape on the underside of their rounded abdomens. Their name comes from the stories that the female eats the male after mating, but this is rarely true in nature. These spiders will sometimes cannibalize, but not every time they mate. 

Their bad reputations are not unfounded, but you may imagine these spiders as giant, menacing creatures. In actuality, they aren’t huge, only ranging from 1 1/2 to 1 3/8 inches in size. 

Male black widows are significantly smaller than females and have elongated abdomens compared to the spherical ones the females have. They are also not known to bite people, so they are far less concerning than female black widows.

Black widow spiders tend to be shy and will avoid people if possible. Their messy, irregularly shaped webs are close to a foot in diameter, and you’ll find them close to the ground in hard-to-reach areas. If you spot a black widow in its web, it will likely be hanging upside down so you can see the red hourglass shape on its abdomen.

Black widows prefer to build webs in dry, dark locations. Outside, they build webs in protected areas like under decks and stones, firewood piles, or hollow tree stumps. If the weather cools, they may seek shelter somewhere warmer. 

These spiders have a preference for habitats made by humans. We frequently find black widows in outbuildings, meter boxes, barns, henhouses, and brick veneer. Inside they seek secluded, dimly lit areas like garages, basements, and crawl spaces, especially when they contain a lot of clutter to hide in.

Now we’ll move on to the brown recluse spider. This spider’s name isn’t an accident, either. They are reclusive and well-known for their secretive nature.

Similar to black widows, their reputation may cause you to think of giant, scary spiders, but they are usually smaller than half an inch in length. These spiders range from light to dark brown and are known for the darker brown distinct violin-shaped mark on their bodies.

Both males and females of this species will bite and inject venom into people. But, like black widows, they are shy and will try to avoid people. They spin their nondescript white or grayish webs in quiet, undisturbed areas.

Outside, brown recluse spiders will likely be seen around rocks, inside utility boxes, in wood piles, and sometimes in cedar shake roofs. Inside your home, they are most often in undisturbed areas, although they are more likely to venture into your living areas than black widows are. 

Sometimes they will be in the cracks and crevices of baseboards or window panes, hiding in dark corners or under furniture. But the most likely place to find brown recluse spiders is in storage areas, typically in boxes, among papers, or inside clothing and shoes in storage. These spiders’ reclusive nature makes them adept at hiding in basements, crawl spaces, attics, and closets. 

If you suspect one of these spiders in your home or see evidence of their webs, you should not approach or try to catch them. The best way to remove these spiders from your property is to contact the pros at Modern Pest Control. Our technicians can safely remove these spiders and help determine what attracted them to your house.

The Side Effects Of Being Bitten By A Dangerous Spider

Brown recluse and black widow spiders are the most dangerous spiders in Texas. While we have many other types, including big, scary, hairy ones, these are the most formidable and hazardous. This section will review the side effects that may occur following a bite from each spider.

The side effects of any spider bite depend a lot on the biology of the bitten person. Usually, young children, older people, and those with lower immunity are more susceptible to problems from venomous spiders whose venom is necrotic or neurotoxic. Necrotic venom can cause cell and tissue damage, while neurotoxic venom can interfere with your nervous system.

Black widow spiders will bite if they sense a threat, particularly after they lay their eggs or if you accidentally press them into your skin. You may initially be unaware of the bite or feel a pin prick, but the side effects of their neurotoxic venom can include:

  • Pain is usually immediate and reaches its maximum within one to three hours.

  • A sore that will be red and swollen at first, then turn pale in the center and be surrounded by tender redness.

  • Moderate to intense pain throughout the body can last for two to three days.

  • Other symptoms can include tremors, leg cramps, profuse sweating, loss of muscle tone, and increased blood pressure.

  • Abdominal symptoms include cramping, pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Brown recluse spiders will also bite if they sense a threat, are trapped, or if you accidentally press them into your skin. These bites sometimes occur when people put on seldom-used clothing or shoes or while cleaning out storage areas. Like black widows, you may initially be unaware of the bite, but the side effects of this necrotic venom can include:

  • Pain may go from mild to severe within two to eight hours as the venom breaks down the skin and muscle tissue.

  • The site may become itchy, swollen, and tender.

  • A blister will form, usually around 24 hours after the bite.

  • The blister will turn into an ulcerating sore over the next week.

  • This sore is slow to heal, usually taking several weeks.

  • Bites may leave dense scar tissue behind that, in severe cases, may require plastic surgery.

The one upside is that neither of these bites is likely to be fatal, but you should seek immediate medical attention, especially if symptoms present. If you think these spiders may be hiding in your home, it is best to call the professionals for removal. Modern Pest Control’s pest management professionals can safely remove these dangerous spiders for you.

Why Dangerous Spiders Would Invade Your Home

Almost any pest that invades your home is looking for a short list of conditions. Texas spiders often invade homes in search of shelter or food. They are unlikely to leave on their own if they find a place that provides for their needs.

Black widow spiders prefer temperatures above 70 degrees, so they might seek shelter inside your home when the temperature drops. Once inside, our homes can allow their life cycles to continue year-round without interruption. 

Cooling temperatures are also a frequent reason brown recluse spiders seek shelter inside homes. Brown recluse spiders’ nature makes them inclined to seek refuge in homes with many cracks and crevices to hide in. They might hide out in dry areas under insulation or in wall voids. We frequently find brown recluse and black widow spiders in areas used for storage, such as garages and attics, and seldom used places like basements and crawl spaces.

Any areas filled with a lot of clutter will be attractive to both dangerous and normal house spiders. Cluttered spaces are less likely to have activity from people and more likely to provide harborage to the insects they prey on. Keeping an eye out at the ground level for black widow spider webs and watching for brown recluse webs in boxes or under stored furniture can help to protect you from bites.

Black widow spider diets typically consist of ants, cockroaches, beetles, and scorpions they catch in their webs. Brown recluse spiders only use their webs as a retreat and chase down their prey, including small flying insects like moths and flies, other spiders, and sometimes dead insects. 

If you see common house spiders everywhere in your house, this is almost always a sign of an insect infestation. Brown recluse and black widow spiders prefer areas more out of the way, but these areas also frequently harbor other pests for them to feast on. Contact us at Modern Pest Control for help removing all types of spiders and eliminating any pest infestation that may attract them to your home.

Call The Pros At The First Sign Of Dangerous Spiders Around Your Home

If you have seen signs of black widow or brown recluse spiders, such as webs or the actual spiders, it is time to call in the pros. The safest way to get rid of brown recluse spiders and black widow spiders around your Houston home is to contact a local company like Modern Pest Control for assistance.

Our pest management professional can come to your home and safely remove any dangerous spiders. We can also thoroughly inspect your property to help determine what is attracting these spiders to your home. If an insect infestation is luring black widow or brown recluse spiders to your property, we can also work to eliminate that.

Our technicians use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques, which means they will devise a plan to handle your pest problem while at the same time working to minimize any risks to people or the environment. A large part of this process includes discovering any entryways that pests are using and sealing them up to prevent future spider infestations

Having a dangerous spider in your home is scary and stressful, but you don’t need to panic. Modern Pest Control is here to help. Contact us today for assistance removing dangerous spiders or request a free inspection.

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