Types of Dangerous Spiders
PORTLAND OR – VANCOUVER, CAMAS & LONGVIEW WA
Black Widow Spider
The black widow spider is commonly found in the southern United States, but also found here in the Pacific Northwest. They build webs in places with a lot of debris such as under woodpiles, fences, and eaves; and sometimes they do move indoors if food and a water source is available. This spider is black in color with an easily-identifiable red hour-glass shape underneath it on its abdomen. While this spider is often feared, it rarely bites or causes severe reaction. However, many people have run into their spider webs or placed their hand on them inadvertently.
People bitten by a black widow usually don’t notice. It causes nothing more than a pin prick if felt. Within an hour, one may notice faint red marks and slight swelling. Over time, pain may intensify and the bite may cause stiffness in limbs. Severe cramps and abdominal pain, along with profuse sweating, is a good signal to seek immediate medical care. Symptoms typically go away on their own, but an anti-venom is available for those who suffer from an allergic reaction to the bite.
Hobo Spiders (Aggressive House Spider)
Hobo spiders are typically found in the Northwestern United States, and are common in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and as far east at Utah. These spiders are commonly found in home dwellings, under wood piles, dark corners, and unfrequented areas in or around a home. The differences in appearances with these spiders can make them hard to identify, typically the best way to identify a hobo spider is by their funnel shaped web, although this can be hard as these spiders typically build their webs in areas hard to see.
Hobo spiders, just like most spiders prefer not to cross paths with humans, therefore most times you’ll find these spiders in less frequented dark areas of a home such as a garage or storage area. They typically prefer cooler darker areas with access to some sort of water or moisture source. Female hobo spiders are typically larger than their male counterparts and can range in size between 1/2″ to 5/8″ body length.
The Hobo spider was initially thought to inflict necrotic lesions similar to those of the brown recluse, however after several studies, including one in Oregon in 2014, this has been proven wrong. Hobo spiders, often referred to as Aggressive House Spiders are thought to get the “aggressive” portion of their name from being inadvertently disturbed by humans, it is thought that female Hobo spiders are more likely to bite when disturbed while tending to an egg sack.
Brown Recluse Spider
Contrary to popular belief, Brown Recluse Spiders are not native to the Pacific Northwest, and really the only way a Brown Recluse would end up here would be because it hitched a ride from some other part of the county.
Common to central and southern states in the U.S., this spider can be found in sheds, logs, rock piles, and other dry, secluded areas. This spider is a top-feared one due to its reputation for causing necrosis (decaying tissue) at the site of the bite. The brown recluse spider is one that is often confused with other brown or gray house spiders. A brown recluse is brown in color and has a characteristic marking on its back that is shaped like a violin. The mark can be difficult to see, so similar spiders often create panic in people.
When bitten by a brown recluse, one may experience a stinging sensation. Within eight hours, redness and intense pain typically occurs. Over time, the symptoms can worsen and result in a dark blue or purple colored area around the bite, a deep sore or ulcer, and in severe cases, tissue that begins dying around the bite. There’s no anti-venom available for brown recluse bites.
Few spiders are large enough or venomous enough to cause harm to humans. In the rare case that someone is bitten by a black widow or brown recluse, it’s important to recognize common signs and symptoms. When reactions are severe, prompt medical attention must be sought.
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