Several kinds of spiders are commonly found in Charlotte, but how can you tell the difference between poisonous and harmless spiders? More importantly, how can you keep these eight-legged critters safely out of your home?
The Dangerous: The Brown Recluse Spider and the Southern Black Spider
Brown Recluse Spider
Commonly found in closets, attics, and basements or in other dim areas of the home, the Brown Recluse is noted for its violin-patterned markings on its back. For this reason, it’s also known as a fiddleback. With leg spans about the size of a quarter, the males have slightly longer legs. Perhaps one of the most dangerous of the spiders commonly found in Charlotte, the Brown Recluse usually bites only when surprised. Most people get bitten by Brown Recluses when they put on shoes or clothing in which the Brown Recluse is hiding, or when they’re cleaning a dark storage space. The Brown Recluse Spider’s bite looks like a bull’s-eye on the skin. Eventually, the central blister in the bull’s eye falls off. The bite of the Brown Recluse Spider can often result in burning pain, itching, body aches, or fever. If a Brown Recluse has bitten you, apply an ice pack to help with swelling and immediately seek medical attention.
Southern Black Widow
Also found in dark areas such as garages or attics, the Southern Black Widow Spider also may make her home in areas of the outdoors. Distinctly hourglass shaped, black, and shiny, the Brown Recluse is about 1.5 inches long and has eight eyes. Female black widows are poisonous while males are benign. Their webs are stronger than that of other spiders and the build of the web tends to have a random pattern.
Like the Brown Recluse, the Southern Black Widow may be found hiding inside clothes or dark areas and is not aggressive, usually biting by accident. Woodpiles and tree stumps may house a Southern Black Widow. Where there is one Southern Black Widow, there are probably babies as well. A Southern Black Widow’s bite may not hurt and may go unnoticed, but it can cause abdominal pain, dry mouth, sweating, swollen eyelids, and muscle aches. If bitten, wash the bite, use a cold compress to control the swelling, and go to the doctor or hospital immediately.
The Mostly Harmless Spiders
With the exception of the above two spiders, most spiders in North Carolina are fairly harmless, unless the person is highly sensitive to spider bites. If you think a spider has bitten you, seek medical attention immediately.
Controlling Charlotte Spiders
Spiders can often be beneficial to outdoor gardens. However, to control outdoor spiders, blast webs with water or move them with a rake or broom. One of the best ways to control spiders is to clean bookshelves, baseboards, and behind furniture on a regular basis. If you’re concerned about the appearance of new spiders in your home, consider an insecticide made for in-house use; these can often be used in closet, around baseboards, or in storage areas or other potential areas where spiders may be found. Use work gloves when handling boxes or working in dark areas such as garages. Also use gloves when stacking lumber or firewood. Inspect clothes and shoes before putting them on.
If you’re concerned about spiders or suspect an infestation, call Truly Nolen of Charlotte at 704-910-2936 to schedule an inspection.