Black widow spiders can be easily recognized by the characteristic red hourglass shape on their back. They generally spin their webs near the ground in protected areas like firewood, under eaves or in boxes. They get into your home when firewood is carried inside.
To protect yourself, make sure to wear heavy work gloves when carrying firewood inside or moving seasonal items around sheds. Spiders frequently hide in shoes, so make sure to shake out your shoes before putting them on if you have left them outside for any length of time.
The black widow spider doesn’t bite humans instinctively. The black widow spider bit can cause severe pain and the venom is a neurotoxin used as a defense. Young children and the elderly are most susceptible to a reaction from a spider bite.
The brown recluse spider also lives in debris and wood piles or dark corners of storage areas and will hide in shoes or clothing left on the floor on in the back of a closet. It is brown in colour and has a dark brown violin shaped marking on its back. The brown recluse spider is rather shy and nonaggressive, but they have a powerful poison. They are nocturnal and eat other insects such as crickets and prefer small live prey. They also only bite humans in defense when they feel trapped.
The bite of a brown recluse spider can result in a severe allergic reaction with symptoms such as pain, itching, nausea, vomiting, fever and muscle pain. Their bites can take more than three hours to develop and three weeks to heal, so it is important to get medical attention, particularly for the children, elderly or those with preexisting medical conditions. The injection of their venom may produce necrosis or dead tissue, resulting in an ulcerating type of sore.
Brown recluse spiders are active from March to October and generally live two to three years.
Preventative measures for these spiders include: moving woodpiles away from the house and sealing cracks in foundations and walls, as well as cleaning clutter in and around the home. Keep outside toys outside and inside toys inside. If you bring in a toy, chair or table, thoroughly wipe it down first. Watch for webs and contact a certified pest control technician for assistance in getting rid of large infestations.