How to tell if your spider infestation is dangerous

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), there are approximately 3,000 spider species in North America. Especially during the colder seasons, these critters may seek shelter in homes. While "kill it!" is the first response many people have to spiders, only a handful of commonly spotted species are actually harmful. It's important to be able to recognize the venomous spiders to avoid danger and ensure proper pest control measures are taken. Venomous spiders can be identified by a homeowner, but an exterminator should be contacted if residents are unsure if their infestation poses a threat.

The black widow
The bold red mark on the abdomen of its otherwise jet black body makes this spider easy to spot. The NPMA recommends residents keep their distance from any large, black bulbous spider. Black widows can be found anywhere a stable source of heat can be found, such as inside a home. They feast on flies and other bugs and live in dark places, like closets or basements. Just a small amount of black widow venom is extremely poisonous and can be fatal, making it essential to get rid of these infestations immediately.

The brown recluse
While this spider is a family member of the black widow, the brown recluse isn't as easy to identify. These spiders are dull-colored and violin shaped, much like several other species. One feature that sets them apart is the fact that they have six eyes, rather than the eight typically seen on spiders. Brown recluses are most common in the Midwest and Southeast, and prefer warm, dry and dark environments like woodpiles and closets.The spider bites when frightened, and a bite can take several weeks to heal and cause severe allergic reactions, according to the NPMA.

The hobo spider
These spiders live in the Pacific Northwest, and have hairy legs and yellow markings on their abdomens. Hobo spiders build webs in holes and cracks and can be found in window wells, behind furniture and other dark hiding places. Unlike bites from black widows and brown recluses, hobo spider bites can go unnoticed at first, but then swell into painful slow-healing wounds. This makes it important to find these pests and have them eliminated by a professional as quickly as possible.


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