There are approximately 40,000 species of spiders wandering around world, but only two in the southern and western United States can cause serious harm, the black widow and brown recluse.
Many people associate spiders with webs, but the truth is not all spiders spin these silk structures, which are used to catch their prey.
- Spiders don’t get caught in their own webs because they have self-oiling legs.
- Male spiders perform a variety of complex courtship rituals to avoid being eaten by the females.
Black Widow Spiders
Female black widow spiders have a red hourglass shape on their backs. Males have white spots on their sides. Males only live about a year, but the female can live up to 3 years. Hungry female black widow spiders have been known to kill the male spider after mating, but that isn’t always the case.
- Black widow spiders have been known to eat other spiders as well as other pests.
- Black widow spiders tend to live in dark damp cellars but can also be found in piles of wood or trash.
- The bite of a female black widow spider can be poisonous but not deadly to humans. The male black widow spider does not bite. A black widow spider bite is pale in the middle with a red ring around it and is followed by severe cramping, weakness, sweating, headache, anxiety, itching, nausea, vomiting, difficult breathing and increased blood pressure.
- The Black Widow is a favorite food of the Praying Mantis. Some birds will eat these spiders but could end up with an upset stomach from her poisons. The bright red markings on her belly will warn possible predators that she is a nasty meal.
Brown Recluse Spiders
The brown recluse has a venomous bite, and anyone bitten should seek immediate medical help.
- Brown recluse spiders eat other bugs like cockroaches and crickets.
- Brown recluse spiders have six eyes, instead of eight like most spiders.
- Brown Recluse spiders are primarily nocturnal and lays its eggs from May to July.
- Brown Recluse spiders are light to dark brown, with characteristic dark brown violin marking on back.
- Brown recluse spiders live in secluded places, damp cellars, found residing in piles of wood or trash, dark corners, under porches or deep in closets, and also live under the furniture and boxes.
The brown recluse spider only bites to protect itself. Its bite is painful and can produce an open, ulcerating sore. The center of their bite becomes a blister surrounded by an angry-looking red ring, which is then surrounded by a white ring. A red, itchy rash usually appears in the first 24-48 hours of being bitten. Other symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches.
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