How Can You Tell If A Spider In Houston Is Poisonous?

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black widow on web in houston texas

In Texas, there are basically two types of spiders that can cause a poisonous bite wound. It is likely that you've heard of both of them. They are the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider. Let's discuss why these two are so poisonous to us and what can be done to prevent bites from occurring.

The Scary Black Widow

According to National Geographic, a bite from a black widow spider is 15 times stronger than a bite from a rattlesnake. That is a scary thought! But, with an average of about three people dying from black widow bites each year, this can hardly be true. Can it? The estimate of rattlesnake deaths is around five per year. This seems inconsistent until you realize that black widow spiders have the ability to decide how much venom they're going to inject into a wound. If she decides to give you the full dose, you're in serious trouble.

The symptoms of a black widow bite increase in severity in correlation to the amount of envenomation, but you can expect to experience: severe pain, abdominal cramping, headache, nausea, and sweating. If symptoms progress to vomiting, tremors, difficulty breathing or unconsciousness, there is cause for concern. The venom of a black widow can attack the nervous system and cause blood pressure to spike.

The Infamous Brown Recluse

Unless you've been living under a rock, which is, coincidentally, where you might find a brown recluse spider, you know that a bite from one of these spiders can cause a disfiguring wound. But, to some extent, brown recluse spiders have gotten a bit of a bad rap. While the venom of a brown recluse can cause necrosis (death of living cells) it isn't as common as you might think. Most brown recluse bite wounds don't result in anything more than a red welt with an ulcer at the center. That isn't to say that you shouldn't be concerned. It is just important to keep this in mind so you aren't unduly frightened when you find a recluse inside your Houston home. Brown recluse spiders love living in our homes and it is likely that you'll run into one at some point. When you do, stay calm and call a pest professional.

Quick Identification

In order to tell if a spider in your Houston home is poisonous, you need to be able to properly identify black widows and brown recluses when you see them. Fortunately, these two spiders make it fairly simple.

Black Widow Spiders — There are several species of widow spider. Some are even brown in coloration. The black widows are a jet black color and they have a red marking on the underside of the abdomen. In most cases, this will be a red hourglass shape but some widows have red dots that may be seen on the top and the bottom of the abdomen. If you see a black, hairless spider with red markings, be cautious. 

Brown Recluse Spiders — These spiders, also called violin spiders or fiddleback spiders, have a violin (fiddle) shape on their back. This marking is oriented so that the stem of the instrument points down the body of the spider. These spiders are hairless in appearance and are usually only about the size of a quarter.

Bite Prevention

  • Both of these spiders are reclusive. They can be found in attics, basements and storage places. Be careful when you take boxes out of storage.
  • Both of these spiders hide in brush piles. Always wear gloves when moving brush in your yard.
  • Both of these spiders may be hiding under a rock. Be cautious when turning rocks over.
  • Brown recluse hide in holes. When they get into your home, they'll hide in places that look like holes, such as a towel on the floor, recesses in the blankets of an unmade bed, a pile of laundry or a shoe. Shake items before you wear or use them and always check before you crawl into bed.

The most important thing to know about poisonous spiders in Houston is that Modern Pest Control can help you get rid of them or prevent them from getting into your home in the first place. We offer industry-leading pest control services in the Greater Houston area. Reach out to us today to schedule a free pest inspection to get started.

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