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Why You Should Protect Your Family and Pets from Black Widow and Brown Recluse Spiders

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Most spiders in and around your home are not dangerous to you, your family, and your pets, but there are a couple you need to watch out for. The black widow and brown recluse spiders are venomous and dangerous, especially to the elderly, small children, and pets. Here is some helpful information about both types of spiders so you know what to look for and can protect yourself and your pets. 

Black Widow Spider

Black widow spiders are commonly found in the South and West United States and can usually be identified by a red hourglass shape on their abdomen. They will spin their webs in a cool, dark space, such as in a corner of your window well, a backyard shed, or even inside your home. You can usually recognize a black widow's seemingly unorganized and messy web because it has such a unique look.

It is important to be on the lookout for this black shiny spider around your home and yard because it has quite a dangerous bite. Its venom is 15 times more potent than a rattlesnake's, but fortunately uses much less of its venom when it bites than a rattlesnake does. The black widow's venom can be deadly in the elderly, in pets, and in small children, so it is a good idea to have your home and yard sprayed for black widow spiders if they are commonly found in your area. Some pest control operators have reported that there tends to be an increase in black widow spiders after a mild winter. When winter temperatures are warmer than normal, more black widows survive through the winter to produce more babies in the spring.

The female black widow spider only bites if she is disturbed. If you are bitten, the initial bite may feel like a pin prick and begin to sting. You may notice a double fang mark at the bite site that begins to burn, turn red, and swell. Then, you may experience severe symptoms, such as muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, and respiratory difficulties. If you or a family member are bitten by a black widow spider and are experiencing these severe symptoms or more than minor pain, you should get medical help immediately at a local hospital emergency room.

If your pet is bitten, it will exhibit several signs you need to be on the lookout for so you can take them to a vet for immediate anti-venom treatment. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, rigid abdomen, and muscle tremors. Your veterinarian will do a chemical blood test on your pet to confirm they have black widow venom poisoning.

Brown Recluse Spider

The brown recluse spider can be found living in the Midwestern and Southern states in the U.S. An adult brown recluse is about one inch across and has three tiny pairs of eyes across its head, while most spiders have four pairs of eyes. It is most famous for its brown fiddle pattern on its hairless abdomen. 

The brown recluse will make a home in dark, warm, and dry environments, such as attics, closets, old tires, barns, porches, woodpiles, and basements. If you have similar spots in and around your home and you live in a Midwestern or Southern state, you should be on the lookout for the brown recluse and consider having your home and yard sprayed to get rid of it.

The brown recluse is not an aggressive spider, and will only bite you if it feels threatened. Its venom is also much more potent than a rattlesnake's and can do serious damage to your body. If you have been bitten, you may experience joint pain, stiffness, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, and a fever. The enzymes in the venom will kill the skin tissue around the bite area and cause the blistered skin to slough off, leaving a deep ulcer that may turn black and allow infection to set in. The venom can also break down the red blood cells of a child under the age of 12, leading to death. Get emergency medical treatment immediately for anyone bitten by a brown recluse, especially children and the elderly.

Your dog or cat may not show any initial symptoms, but will have intense pain at their bite site. In two to three days, your pet may show symptoms of fever, chills, nausea, and weakness. If you suspect your pet has a spider bite, you can search your pet's skin for the wound site. Your veterinarian can test your pet's blood for the presence of spider venom to confirm the bite. If you don't get your pet treated for their bite site, the wound will not heal, but continue killing the surrounding body tissues. 

Use this information to watch out for these spiders and treat your home and yard when it is necessary. Find a service like Swat Bug Killers Pest Control for further information.