A lot of people really hate spiders. Many find any kind of contact at all with spiders to be highly unpleasant and something to be afraid of. In Houston, most of the spiders you find in your home won't do you any harm. But 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 are very easily identifiable by their shiny black bodies and the brilliant red hourglass shaped marking on the underside of the abdomen of the spider. Black widows get their name from the female's habit of eating the male after mating.
Black widow spiders are usually found outside in sheltered areas, or if found inside they will usually be in an enclosed space with access to the outside. They are commonly found in sheds, garages, and outbuildings.
In most cases, bites are not deadly. However, getting bitten by one also isn't much fun. 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 will include severe pain and cramping, reddish swelling over the entire body, vomiting, and 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, get to a a hospital.
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 are native to Texas and are very common in Houston.
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.
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. 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.
There are many species of spiders that will make their homes inside human buildings. While these spiders are harmless, having spiders inside your home can still be disturbing.
Spiders are biologically different from many other kinds of pests. Scientifically, they aren't even insects, and are much more closely related to lobsters than to cockroaches. This means that treatments which are effective against insects may not be effective against spiders. But since most spiders are solitary, eliminating siders can often be done by destroying their webs or the time-tested method of the rolled-up newspaper. Generally, only serious infestations require professional treatment.
Despite their frightening-sounding scientific name of Rabidosa rabida, wolf spiders are harmless. The spiders can grow very large, several inches across, with brownish bodies striped with dark black bands. Wolf spiders have large eyes that will catch and reflect light, so you can sometimes see these spiders staring at you from the grass.
Wolf spiders can actually be beneficial to have around your home. Wolf spiders hunt other insects, and so they are themselves a form of pest control. But you do want them out on the lawn, not in your house. Making sure your home is well-sealed can help reduce the chances of them coming into your home. If you have persistent visitors, talk to a pest control professional about ways to keep them out of your home.