Archive for the ‘Spiders’ Category

How Are Black Widow And Brown Recluse Bites Treated By Medical Professionals? And Why Are These Treatments Controversial?

The southern black widow and the brown recluse spider species both dwell in the state of Louisiana, and while these two species are widely recognized as being the only two medically significant spider species in the United States, many researchers have come to suspect that bite cases are over represented in medical literature. For example, one research study that analyzed 600 suspected black widow and brown recluse bite cases were actually completely separate medical conditions that had nothing to do with spider bites. The majority of spider bites can be identified by a single lesion that can be successfully treated by sanitizing the wound, applying cold packs, and possibly administering a tetanus booster vaccine.

While a black widow antivenom exists in many US hospitals, only children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals warrant antivenom therapy following a black widow bite. Since black widow bites sometimes produce systemic symptoms, like muscle spasms, intravenous benzodiazepines are administered to many bite victims, as well as narcotic opioids to manage pain. If a healthy adult continues to experience serious black widow bite symptoms for a period of several hours, an antivenom may be used, but black widow antivenom is only effective 48 hours following envenomation. The use of black widow antivenom must be used sparingly, as some individuals may experience a hypersensitive reaction to antivenom. While the use of black widow antivenom may be somewhat controversial due to its possible adverse effects, there exists a clear cut medical procedure for treating black widow bites, but no such procedure currently exists for treating brown recluse bites.

At the moment, there does not exist any published medical literature on how to address brown recluse bites, leaving the form of treatment entirely up to the individual doctors. Many medical professionals believe that aggressive brown recluse bites can be more harmful than helpful for patients, and surgically removing tissue from a bite wound simply because the tissue may become necrotic puts patients at an unnecessary risk. Many doctors treat brown recluse bites with nothing more than antihistamines, while other doctors choose to use a drug named “dapsone” due to its possible anti-necrotic effects. However, dapsone’s anti-necrotic effects have not been proven, and this drug can cause the destruction of red blood cells in some patients.

Have you ever visited a hospital to address a spider bite?


More Than 2,000 Black Widow Bite Incidents Are Reported In The US Each Year, And Their Venom Is 15 Times Stronger Than That Of A Rattlesnake

America’s three black widow species and the brown recluse spiders are considered the most dangerous spider species in the US. Unfortunately, Louisiana is home to the southern black widow species and the brown recluse species, but serious symptoms rarely follow most bites inflicted by these spiders. Of all three black widow species, the southern variety is involved with the greatest number of medically significant bite cases, but this is due to the species widespread distribution in the US. While bites inflicted by the brown recluse account for most medically significant spider bites in the US, black widows are not far behind. Black widows produce venom that is 15 times stronger than rattlesnake venom, making black widow venom the most toxic of all spider venoms in the US.

Black widows are easy to recognize due to their jet black exterior and well known red hourglass design on their abdomen. Black widows typically avoid establishing a presence within inhabited areas of a home; instead, balck widows are often found dwelling within garages, sheds, basements, barns and within cluttered areas surrounding houses. This is not necessarily the case when it comes to the brown recluse, as this species is not shy about establishing a significant presence within any room of a house. Also unlike black widows, the brown recluse is not necessarily easy to identify, and they are often confused with numerous other spider species that closely resemble the brown recluse. More than 2,000 black widow bite incidents are reported in the US each year, but luckily most black widow bites only see a small amount of venom injected beneath the skin, and some bites are completely free of venom. These days, fatalities resulting from black widow bites are exceedingly rare, but children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals are at an increased risk of experiencing medically significant symptoms following a bite.

Have you ever found a black widow spider specimen in the wild?

Two Easy Ways You Can Prevent Pest Issues From Occurring Around Your Home

It is always a serious blow to a person’s sense of well-being when he/she learns that a pest infestation has taken shape within his/her home. There is no benefit to having a pest infestation within a home, unless of course, the pests happen to be spiders or house centipedes, in which case these two predatory arthropods will rapidly eat every insect pest located within every nook and cranny of a person’s home.

Despite all the talk from entomologists about venomous spiders providing a free form of indoor pest control on account of their remarkably efficient insect hunting abilities, every sane person on earth would just assume pay for the services of a human pest control professional as opposed to living amongst wolf spiders in order to keep the roaches in an apartment at bay. However, many gardeners and landscapers have learned to appreciate large spider, scorpion and centipede species, as these arthropods keep gardens and lawns free of plant-damaging insect pests.

Since people obviously do not sleep, eat and live in their backyard, why not be happy about having a high spider population within a well-cultivated garden? Well, for one thing, many people choose to bring their potted plants indoors before the winter season arrives, and in some cases, unwanted spider and insect pests can hitch rides indoors along with people’s beloved plants.

The most common arthropod pests found in potted plants include ants, aphids, spiders, caterpillars, centipedes, beetles and pill bugs, just to name a few. If you choose to bring your garden or potted plants indoors for the winter, be sure to check the underside of leaves, the bottom of pots, and an inch or so below the soil’s surface.

Another way in which homeowners can prevent arthropod nuisance issues around their home is by choosing a new outside light bulb that does not attract bugs by mimicking moonlight, as many insect pests naturally rely on the light emitted by the moon in order to maintain a sense of direction at night. Insect pests that are too dumb to tell the difference between the shine of a light bulb and the awesome gleeming light emanated by the moon include moths, crane flies, beetles and even swarming termites. Replacing a traditional white light bulb with a yellow light bulb will no longer mimic moonshine, and therefore, your tragic days of sweeping the corpses of navigationally-challenged moths, flies and other bugs off of your porch can finally come to an end.

Do insect pests bother you while you spend time on your outside porch?

Southern House Spiders Dwell Year Round Within Louisiana Homes Where They Can Establish A Significant Presence That Residents Often Mistake For Brown Recluse Infestations

Louisiana is home to numerous spider species that would certainly give arachnophobes quite a scare. With the exception of the black widow and the brown recluse species, spiders in Louisiana do not pose a medical threat to humans. Even the black widow and brown recluse species are generally shy around humans, and their bites do not always require a visit to the doctor. But in rare cases, brown recluse venom can cause tissue-necrosis to occur at the site of a bite wound, and black widow venom can cause unpleasant systemic symptoms after entering the human bloodstream. While both of these highly venomous species may not be pleasant for many people to look at, most spider experts would agree that many other arachnid species in Louisiana are far more intimidating in appearance. For example, the Kukulcania hibernalis species, or the southern house spider, as it is more commonly known, is one of the most commonly encountered spider species within indoor locations in southern Louisiana. This species appears large in size, and they are often mistaken for brown recluse spiders. These spiders are known for invading indoor spaces in large number, especially indoor spaces that see little human traffic. Large infestations of these spiders take form indoors due to the relatively long 8 year lifespan of females, as well as this species’ ability to maintain a year round presence indoors.

Southern house spider adults are either plain brown or grayish-brown in color, and like most spider species, males are significantly smaller in body size than females. Males of this species can grow to be nearly half an inch in body length, while females can grow to be nearly three fourths of an inch in body length. Although this may seem small, southern house spiders appear to be particularly large when their legs are extended. Southern house spiders are relatively docile, and their venom is not considered to be medically significant. Indoor southern house spider populations rapidly grow in number in cluttered areas of a home or building, and they are particularly abundant in warehouses and sheds. Pest control professionals consider the presence of tangled webs in the corners of a room to be a good sign that a home contains southern house spiders.

Have you ever found a spider that you were too afraid to kill or remove from your home on your own?


The Highly Venomous Spider Species That Are Known For Biting People Indoors In Louisiana

With the exception of two small spider families that don’t possess venom glands, all spiders are technically venomous, but not all spiders are capable of biting humans. This is because some spider species possess fangs that are too small to puncture human skin. And since spiders did not evolve venom to subdue humans, the vast majority of spider species produce venom that would have no ill effects on the human nervous system.

Of the 50,000 or so spider species that have been documented around the world, there only exists 25 species that can inflict medically significant venomous bites to humans. The abundance and diversity of venomous spider species obviously varies by region, but in any given area, a person can expect to find between 0 and, at most, 3 venomous spider species.

The United States is home to around 3,000 spider species, only two of which, the brown recluse and the black widow, are considered “medically significant” spider species. However, around 80 percent of all hospitalizations that result from spider bites involve bite victims who had a serious allergic reaction to venom. Unfortunately, the state of Louisiana is home to several potentially dangerous spider species that are often spotted in homes.

The most venomous spider species in the US, the black widow, is found in Louisiana, but this species does not enter homes often, and most bites are sustained while outdoors. The non-native brown widow, on the other hand, is being found more and more within Louisiana homes, but this species produces venom that is less potent than black widow venom. Yellow sac spiders may be responsible for the greatest amount of problematic indoor spider bites. Although sac spider bites are painful, and bite wounds can take weeks to heal, their bites are never fatal.

Several jumping spider species can be found in Louisiana including the twin-flagged jumping spider. This species inflicts painful bites and they are found in Louisiana homes frequently. Bites from this species are never fatal but allergic reactions to their venom can send some bite victims to the hospital. The brown recluse is also found inhabiting cluttered areas of a home that are not often frequented by humans. These areas include garages, attics and storage areas. These spiders are shy, but their bites can cause necrotic lesions that require medical attention.

Have you ever sustained a bite from a spider that you did not recognize as a particular species?

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