Spiders are easy to recognize with eight legs and a round abdomen. They are some of the most feared creatures that we treat and sometimes the most misunderstood. While most spider bites only cause swelling and irritation, some can lead to more severe health risks. Our most common species of spider in Texas are the black widow and the brown recluse. Both of these species of spiders can be found indoors and outdoors through out the State. Black widow spiders can frequently be found in woodpiles, boxes, outdoor toilets, meter boxes, under eaves, and other undisturbed areas. Brown recluse commonly live in basements and garages of houses and can be found hiding between boards, boxes, and old towels and clothes in dark, undisturbed areas. Neither the black widow nor the brown recluse spiders are aggressive but they will both bite when accidentally trapped, disturbed or threatened.
The brown recluse is a spider with a necrotic venom. Their bite can cause flesh to eat away and require medical attention to prevent further damage. Brown recluse spiders are usually between .25- 1 inch, but may grow larger. While typically light to medium brown, they range in color from whitish to dark brown or blackish gray. The cephalothorax and abdomen are not necessarily the same color. These spiders usually have markings on the dorsal side of their cephalothorax, with a black line coming from it that looks like a violin with the neck of the violin pointing to the rear of the spider. Brown recluses favor cardboard because it mimics rotting tree bark. They can also be found in boxes, clothing, shoes, tires, bedding, furniture and storage areas.
Female widow spiders are typically dark brown or a shiny black in color when they are full grown, usually exhibiting a red or orange hourglass on the underside of the abdomen; some may have a pair of red spots or have no marking at all. The male widow spiders often exhibit various red or red and white markings on the upper side of the abdomen, ranging from a single stripe to bars or spots, and juveniles are often similar to the male pattern. Females of a few species are paler brown and some have no bright markings. The bodies of black widow spiders range from 3–10 mm in size; some females can measure 13 mm (0.51 in) in their body length. These small spiders have an unusually potent venom containing the neurotoxin latroxin, which causes the condition latrodectism. Symptoms of which are pain, muscle rigidity, vomiting, and sweating. Female widow spiders have unusually large venom glands and their bite can be particularly harmful to large vertebrates, including humans. Only the bites of the females are dangerous to humans.
They are robust and agile hunters with excellent eyesight. They live mostly in solitude and hunt alone, and do not spin webs. Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon prey as they find it or even chasing it over short distances. Some wait for passing prey in or near the mouth of a burrow. Flashing a beam of light over the spider produces eyeshine. The light from the flashlight has been reflected from the spider’s eyes directly back toward its source, producing a “glow” that is easily noticed. The many genera of wolf spiders range in body size from less than 10 to 35 mm, but some have been known to grow much larger sometimes being confused with terantulas.
The males may be mistaken for brown recluses because the two have similar coloration and body structure. However, compared to the brown recluse, house spiders are typically larger in size, lack the distinctive violin shape, and have unusually long slender pedipalps (pincers). The females are dark brown or black and more compact. Both sexes may grow to be roughly 2 inches across (legs extended), with the males typically having longer legs, and the females often having larger, bulbous bodies. The abdomen of the house spider is covered with fine velvety light gray hair. Female southern house spiders are rarely seen, as they build radial webs around crevices.. Females seldom move except to capture prey caught in their webs. Males, on the other hand, typically wander in search of insects and females to mate with, having no particular territory.
Garden spiders often build webs in areas adjacent to open sunny fields where they stay concealed and protected from the wind. The spider can also be found along the eaves of houses and outbuildings or in any tall vegetation where they can securely stretch a web. Males range from 5–9 mm; females range from 19–28 mm. These spiders may bite if disturbed or harassed, but the venom is harmless to non-allergic humans, roughly equivalent to a bumblebee sting in intensity. They might bite if grabbed, but other than for defense they do not attack large animals.
Treating the eves around the perimeter of every structure to ensure we take down any spider webs and egg sacks, eliminating their food source and chiseling down their numbers while treatment is being performed with spray. We also take down not only webs but wasp nests and mud dauber nests as well.