With the cooler months slowly creeping up on us, unwanted guests will begin making their way into our homes. In the Summer, most people are outside having fun in the sun. When it gets cold outside, we seek shelter inside to stay warm. Bugs, rodents and arachnids are no different, they see our homes as an open invitation for them to find food, water and avoid the elements. We’ve previously discussed exclusion and effective pest control methods to keep these pesky intruders at bay. Today we are going to discuss some of the most common biting spiders found locally. We understand not wanting to get close enough to a spider to identify key traits, but if you get bit by a spider you need to know what kind of spider bit you and whether or not it is harmless or if you should seek medical care. If you believe you have been bit by a more venomous spider like the ones described below, seek medical care and if possible, inform the doctor on the type of spider that bit you.
Pennsylvania is home to many species of sac spiders including the broad-faced sac spider, Long-legged Sac Spider and the Agrarian sac spider. These species are commonly found in the corners of the home where the wall meets the ceiling, under windowsills, under stones, in leaf litter and outside on foliage. These spiders are 4-10 Millimeters in length and vary in shades from reddish brown, gray, cream or even pale yellow. These spiders are known to be aggressive and are responsible for a large number of spider bites across the U.S. Don’t let their small size fool you, their bites pack a painful punch. Once bit, the pain begins with a burning sensation, then the site of the bite will then turn red and begin to fill with fluid. This burning pain lasts about an hour then over the next ten hours blistering will occur. More severe reactions include fever, malaise, muscle cramps and nausea. Worst case scenario is a necrotic lesion (premature death of cells in living tissue) at the site of the bite.
Southern Black Widow Spiders
These are well known throughout the state. Probably the easiest to identify, these small spiders measure to about 3/16-3/8 inch in length. They are well known for their shiny, hairless black bodies and the females have a distinctive red hourglass shape on the underside of their abdomen. Their preferred environment is to be outside near woodpiles, under big rocks, rodent burrows or hollow tree stumps. When the weather starts to get cold, they will seek refuge in an enclosed space such as garages, sheds, basements and attics. Each year, more than 2,500 cases are reported to the poison control centers here in the U.S. alone. When a black widow bites, within 2 hours you may begin to feel a painful tingling sensation along your spine, this may then turn to a burning sensation. Black Widow venom in a neurotoxin that can cause chills, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing and muscle aches.
There are many different types of Wolf spiders, they range in body size depending on the genera. They range from .4 inch to 1.38 inches! They are easily identifiable by the hair on their bodies and their ability to camouflage themselves to fit into their environment. Wolf spiders are one of the few species of arachnid that do not weave webs. These guys are excellent hunters and come out at night to stalk their prey. If you see a spider running quickly across your floor, you have just found a wolf spider! These spiders can be found all across the globe with the exception of Antarctica, it’s too cold for them there! It’s a rare occurrence for someone to be bitten by a wolf spider, but if you happen to get bit, expect a bit of pain, redness at the site and some itchy skin.
Most spider bites heal at home on their own, if you develop a fever, chills, nausea, severe fatigue or severe pain, seek medical treatment right away. Stewart Termite & Pest Control recommends setting up a custom pest control plan at your home to avoid unwanted guests this winter. Give us a call if you have questions regarding the spiders in our area!