Despite popular belief, most spiders found in and around your home are harmless. In fact, many spiders actually help with natural pest control by preying on the garden and household insects that can potentially infest your home or yard.
That being said, there are still several venomous spiders that have the potential to harm humans found in and around the San Diego area. How do you tell the difference? Here’s a handy guide to identifying harmful spiders that you may encounter near or around your home.
Black Widow Spider
Found across North America, adult female Black Widow Spiders have a venomous bite. Typical specimens are approximately half an inch long without including the reach of their legs. Their abdomen is a shiny black with a red hourglass figure standing out prominently on the underside.
Males are non-venomous and roughly half the size of females with red spots and white lines or bars on their abdomens. They tend to nest in cool and dry shady places, usually spinning their webs across openings or near light sources to trap prey. They are non-aggressive and typically only bite when trapped or provoked.
Desert Recluse Spider
A separate species from the feared Brown Recluse, Desert Recluse spiders are usually found in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, along the lower foothills of the Joaquin Valley and near the Mexican border.
A nocturnal species, it is rare to see a desert recluse out in daylight hours. Nesting under rocks and in old animal burrows, the male and female of the species are similar in size and can measure up to two inches in length.
They are also distinguished by six pairs of eyes instead of the typical eight pairs found on most arachnids. Like their cousin the Brown Recluse, they also feature a dark violin marking on the top of their cephalothorax. Desert Recluse spiders are timid, but they will bite if cornered or when their burrow/nest is disturbed.
Brown Widow Spider
This free-roaming cousin of the Black Widow Spider features a mottled brown and tan carapace with an orange or yellow hourglass on the underside of their abdomen. Brown Widows are venomous, and they are far more likely to be seen on the move outdoors in unsheltered areas. They still prefer woodpiles, sheds and the underside of roofed areas, but they are much more likely to go hunting for what they need instead of lying in wait like Black Widows.
Dealing With Venomous Spider Bites
If you are bitten or believe you have been bitten by a Black Widow, Brown Widow or Desert Recluse, you should immediately seek emergency medical attention. You should also take the following steps to minimize the impact of the bite:
- Wash the bite mark with soap and water (prevents infection).
- Rub the bite with ice cubes to numb it and slow circulation from the wound.
- See a physician immediately to treat the bite to prevent further damage caused by the presence of venom in the wound.
Are you a San Diego area local homeowner who is concerned about the spiders you are seeing in or around your home? Pinpoint Pest Control can help you determine what species of spider has nested on your property and provide you with solutions to remove or eliminate the problem as you see fit. Contact us today for more information.