Spiders are scary to many people. Even if you are not afraid of spiders, they are not very pleasant to have in a living space. Most spiders are harmless to humans. Of the several hundred species known to live in Alabama, only two types have venom that is poisonous to humans: recluses and widows. There are several species within each of these groups, but only two of the five species of recluse spiders found in Alabama are poisonous. Because it is difficult to tell which type of recluse spider is present, it is better to use caution and consider all of them as dangerous. If you think you have been bitten by a recluse or widow spider, seek medical attention immediately.

Recluse Spiders

Recluse spiders are small, shy arachnids who live in dark, dry, undisturbed areas like crawl spaces, closets, baseboards, under furniture, garages or firewood piles. The most well-known species is the brown recluse, Loxosceles reclusa. Their bodies are less than ½-inch long, but their long legs make them look bigger. They are sometimes called “fiddle spiders” because of a darkened area on the body in a “Y” shape like a violin. Six eyes are arranged in three pairs, a distinguishing characteristic.

Recluse spiders hunt at night. They spin whitish webs, where they hide during the day. Although they are not aggressive, they will bite if threatened. Their bites can cause intense pain, fever, aching joints, nausea and weakness. Symptoms may not appear at the time of the bite. The venom kills the skin, which sloughs away and exposes more tissue. Healing is slow, sometimes up to several months.

Widow Spiders

Several species of widow spiders live in Alabama. The southern black widow, Latrodectus mactansBrown, is the most common. Widows live both inside and outside. Although most folks have heard of black widows, brown widow spiders are also poisonous and present in the state. Indoor habitat includes undisturbed areas like garages, ventilators, furniture and basements. Outdoors, these spiders build webs in gardening pots, children’s playground equipment, buckets or other outdoor equipment that is not used often. Widows have an orange to red hourglass marking on their underside.

Although widow spiders are shy, they bite if provoked. Bites may swell after a few hours. The poison is systemic and may cause intense pain, breathing difficulties, nausea, leg cramps, excessive perspiration or unconsciousness. Antivenin is available.

Bad Bugs Pest Control Services

If you see a lot of spiders in your house, it may be an indication of other insect problems. Spiders feed on moths, cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, other flying insects and invertebrates. Bad Bugs Pest Control will thoroughly inspect both the interior and exterior of you property to identify places where pests live and breed as well as identify sources of food. Our technicians are trained to identify the type of insect or other pest and design a treatment plan to eradicate and control the pests found on your premises.

Treatment may include baits, removing food sources, repairing points of entry and use of products inside and outside to prevent breeding and re-infestation. If you have a spider problem or are seeing evidence of other pests like termites or ants, call for an evaluation. We serve the greater Birmingham area.