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Houston Pest Guide: Spiders

A Bulls Eye Pest Technician holding a large spider

There are thousands of species of Spiders across the world. Spiders are technically not insects, but a distinct class of animal called arachnids. Many varieties of spiders are possessed with some truly astounding abilities, such as flying through the air for hundreds of miles using by harnessing the natural electric current of the earth.

While there are many species of venomous, even deadly spiders across the world, the vast majority of spiders do no harm to people. However, these eight-legged creatures instill a deep fear for many people.

In Houston, most of the spiders you find in your home won't do you any harm. This photograph is of a wolf spider in the hand of one of Bulls Eye's technicians. This large spider may look frightening, but wolf spiders are not at all dangerous and can even be beneficial, since its diet consists mainly of other insects. Still, we can understand not wanting one in your home. And not all spiders are harmless. There are two species of venomous spiders in the city and you should treat them with extreme caution if you find these spiders in your home.

Black Widow Spiders

Black widow spiders are very easily identifiable by their shiny black bodies and the brilliant red hourglass shaped marking on the underside of the abdomen. Black widows get their name from the female's habit of eating the male after mating.

A black widow spider photographed in Houston

Where are Black Widow Spiders Found?

Black widow spiders are common in Houston. Black widow spiders are usually found outside in sheltered areas, such as sheds, garages, and outbuildings. If found inside they will usually be in an enclosed space with access to the outside.

Symptoms of a Black Widow Bite

In most cases, bites are not deadly.The black widow's bite is highly painful, although initially it will only feel like a pinprick. Symptoms will usually begin a few hours after the bite, and can include:

  • Severe pain and cramping.
  • Reddish swelling over the entire body.
  • Vomiting.
  • Difficulty breathing.

These symptoms can be severe and should not be left untreated, and can occasionally be fatal for vulnerable individuals. If you think you've been bitten by a black widow spider, seek medical attention immediately.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluses are native to Texas and are very common in Houston. The brown recluse spider is small, pale-brown spider, with an adult leg span that usually covers the size of a quarter. These spiders get their name from their solitary nesting behavior and habit of making their homes in dark, hidden areas in human homes. The brown recluse has a vicious bite that can have serious effects.

Brown recluses like to nest in folded fabrics, so they are most often encountered in homes in closets, linen cupboards, wardrobes, or other places where fabrics lay folded and undisturbed for long periods of time. Humans are most often bitten when they reach into a cupboard or put on clothing that hasn't been worn for some time.

Symptoms of a Brown Recluse Bite

There has never been a confirmed report of death from being bitten by a Brown Recluse. But their bites are still very serious. The initial bite may not even be noticeable, but symptoms including pain, swelling, and discoloration of the area around the bite may develop a few hours afterwards.

  • Pain and blistering at the site of the bite.
  • Swelling, bruising and rash near the bite.
  • Pain surrounding muscles near the bite.
  • Pain in the abdomen, back, chest and legs.
  • Fever, chills, and dizziness.
  • Vomiting.

Brown recluse venom can turn flesh necrotic, causing it to die and rot away. This can lead to secondary infections which are even more dangerous than the spider bite. If you think you have been bitten, seek medical attention.

How Do I Get Rid of Dangerous Spiders?

If you find black widow spiders or brown recluse spiders in your home, give Bulls Eye a call at 713-222-PEST (7378) . The danger of being bitten by one of these spiders is real, and a pest control professional will be able to deal with them safely and effectively.

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