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El Paso Texas and Southern New Mexico
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SPIDERS (Arachnid, Black Widow, Brown Recluse, Tarantula)
Identification - Threats - Prevention

 
  DID YOU KNOW?
   
There are over 3,800 known species of spiders found in North America.
   
Most spiders have four pairs of eyes.
   
Spiders are predators who primarily feed on insects, but larger species have been known to consume small lizards and baby birds.
   
Spiders have fangs that inject venom into their prey, but usually the venom is harmless to humans.
   
Most spiders can't penetrate human skin with their fangs.
   
Only two species of spiders are harmful to humans in the United States.
   
Spiders rarely bite humans unless their nests or webs are disturbed.
   
Only six deaths per decade in the U.S. are associated with spiders.
   
Spiders can not chew and instead use enzymes in their saliva to break down prey before consuming it.
   
Mating can be dangerous for male spiders - they may become a meal for the female afterwards.
   
Some statistics show that 50% of women and 10% of men have an abnormal fear of spiders.
   
Spiders typical have a life span of one year, but the Tarantula can live as long as twenty years.
     
Black Widow SpiderMany people think spiders are insects, but actually they are part of a group called arachnids, which also includes mites, ticks, and scorpions. Unlike insects, spiders have eight legs instead of six, have two body regions instead of three, no antennae, and fangs that can inject venom into their prey.

All spiders are carnivorous and most spiders eat insects but a few of the larger species are big enough to prey on small vertebrate animals like mice or small birds. A variety of methods are used by different spider species to capture their prey. Web spinners trap prey using sticky silk webs, hunters search for and chase down their prey, and ambush spiders lie in hiding waiting to capture passing insects.

SPIDER BITES
While spiders are one of the most feared home invaders and there are more phobias about spiders than any other pest, very few spiders have venom toxic enough to be dangerous to humans. The two notable exceptions in the United States are the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow which have very toxic venom. These spiders are usually not aggressive and most bites occur because a spider is trapped or unintentionally contacted.

Black Widow venom is neurotoxic and affects the human nervous system beyond the site of the bite. A black widow bite causes rigidity, cramping, and paralysis of the sympathetic systems and on occasion it can even cause death. Brown Recluse venom is is necrotic and causes damage to the tissues surrounding the site of the bite. The damage usually results in skin blisters, ulcers and blackening of the local tissues.

When a dangerous spider is identified, such as the black widow or brown recluse, it is advisable to contact a pest management professional who has the knowledge, tools, and equipment to safely deal with the problem.

BITE TREATMENT
Take the following steps if you are are bitten by a spider: stay calm, identify the type of spider if possible - identification will aid in medical treatment, wash the bite area with soap and water, apply a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice to the bite area to reduce swelling, elevate bite area if possible, do not attempt to remove venom, and immediately seek professional medical attention if the bite is from a Black Widow or Brown Recluse.

Victims of spider bites should be concerned if the local reaction worsens over a 24 hour period. Spider bites, much like other types of insect bites can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Victims of spider bites should seek immediate medical if they begin to become weak, break out in hives or have shortness of breath.

CONTROL / PREVENTION
Most spiders are not harmful to humans and are beneficial in controlling other insects through consumption. Thus, experts often recommend tolerance and capture and removal rather than any aggressive seek and kill control efforts. Spiders found inside the home are often a sign of a larger pest infestation and proper treatment and sanitation methods should be used to ensure control. There are both chemical and non-chemical means of getting rid of spiders. Crack and crevice treatment with insecticides can provide some control and use of glue boards or sticky traps are another option for spider prevention.

Integrated Pest Management, including prevention, sanitation, and exclusion, that reduce insects will also help to reduce spiders both directly and indirectly—by reducing the "food" on which they prey. Spiders eat other insects, so protecting your home from other types of insects and keeping a tidy home can often times be the first line of defense against spiders.
 
 
Black Widow Spider
BLACK WIDOW SPIDER
The female black widow is shiny black with a deep red to yellow hourglass mark on its abdomen. The female widow is about half inch long, but the male is only about half that size and is usually brown or gray and may not have the red colored mark on its abdomen.
REVEAL / CONCEAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
Black Widow SpiderBlack widow spiders are found throughout North America, but are most common in the southern and western areas of the United States. They are identified by the pattern of red coloration on the underside of their abdomen. They are usually found in workplaces containing undisturbed areas such as woodpiles, under eaves, fences, and other areas where debris has accumulated. They may also be found living in outdoor toilets where flies are plentiful..

Black widow spiders build webs between objects, and bites usually occur when humans come into direct contact with these webs. A bite from a black widow can be distinguished from other insect bites by the two puncture marks it makes in the skin. The venom is a neurotoxin that produces pain at the bite area and then spreads to the chest, abdomen, or the entire body.

Black widow spiders favor dark, secluded areas such as crevices and woodpiles. They thrive primarily in temperate zones and are known to be abundant in the American South. Black widows produce messy, irregular webs. Webs usually are located near ground level and under a protected ledge such as under lawn furniture or wood piles.
 
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Brown Recluse Spider
BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER
The brown recluse spider, also known as the fiddleback or violin spider, is most commonly found in the central and southern part of the United States. It is brown in color with a characteristic dark violin or fiddle-shaped marking on its head and six equal-sized eyes.
REVEAL / CONCEAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
Brown Recluse SpiderThe brown recluse is a long legged spider, ¼ - ½ inch in length, with a venomous bite. They are usually found in secluded, dry, dark, sheltered areas such as underneath structures, logs, or in piles of rocks or leaves. If a brown recluse spider wanders indoors, they may be found in dark closets, shoes, or attics. Their webs tend to appear disorganized and are built most commonly near ground level.

Brown recluse spiders are shy and rarely bite unless provoked. The brown recluse cannot bite humans without some form of counter pressure like unintentional contact that traps the spider against the skin. Bites may cause a stinging sensation with localized pain and a small white blister usually develops at the site of the bite. The venom of a brown recluse can cause a severe lesion by destroying skin tissue (skin necrosis). This skin lesion will require professional medical attention.
 
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Wolf Spider
WOLF SPIDER
The wolf spider, also know as the ground spider or the hunting spider, does not build webs to capture its prey, but instead goes out to hunt its meals down. Often confused for tarantulas, wolf spiders are quick moving and relatively large in size.
REVEAL / CONCEAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
Wolf SpiderWolf spiders have large, hairy bodies commonly patterned in black, gray and brown hues. They are most likely to be found on the ground in open fields and grassy areas, or may be found between firewood, under leaf litter and other ground clutter. But wolf spiders may also live just about anywhere that insects can be found on which to feed. In the home, they are most likely to be found around doors, windows, house plants, basements, and garages.

The bite of the wolf spider is not a significant medical threat to the average adult. But beware, although its bite is not lethal, it can still be very painful. Wolf spiders typically do not bite unless threatened or provoked. In most cases the wolf spider will first retreat or rear up on its legs, exposing its large fangs.
 
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Texas Brown Tarantula
TARANTULA
Tarantulas are the largest of all spider species. They have hairy brown to black bodies and two large fangs. The Texas Brown tarantula is the most common species living in our region and can exceed a four inch leg span with an abdomen the size of a quarter.
REVEAL / CONCEAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
Texas Brown TarantulaTarantulas are commonly found in grasslands, burrowed under ground; or using logs, stones, or abandoned small animal dens as their home and feeding grounds. Texas Brown tarantulas will use their spinnerets to line the entrance of their shelter with webbing so as to detect passing prey. Their food sources are normally cockroaches, crickets, scorpions, and occasionally mice and other rodents.

When disturbed, like most other tarantulas, the Texas Brown will maneuver itself to a stance on its hind legs and raise its front legs in a threatening manner. Also, Texas Brown tarantulas have small coarse brown and/or black urticating hairs on their abdomen that they will kick in the direction of whatever they may feel threatened by. Bites from the Texas Brown tarantula are generally not a serious harm to humans. Apply a cold compress to the area, and if swelling or a rash occurs, seek medical attention.
 
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Wind Scorpion
CAMEL SPIDER
The camel spider is an arachnid but is not actually a true spider. Also known as sun spiders, wind scorpions or wind spiders. They lack venom, however they have formidable jaws. They are usually one to three inches long, yellow to tan, and very hairy.
REVEAL / CONCEAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
Camel SpiderThe camel spider is a very fast, voracious predator that is most likely to be seen during the spring and summer months. Another commonly used name is wind scorpion, but this arachnid is not a true scorpion, either. The camel spider is of the Solifugae order, which is Latin for “those who flee from the sun.” Solifugae live in dry, desert climates, have powerful fangs, and a segmented abdomen.

Though camel spiders appear to have ten legs, they actually have eight. The two extra leg-like appendages are sensory organs. Camel spiders can reach up to six inches in length and weigh about two ounces. They have large, powerful jaws, which they use to catch prey. Their jaws can be up to one-third of their body length.

These desert dwellers are not deadly to humans (though their bite is painful), but they are vicious predators that feast upon insects, rodents, lizards, and small birds. They use them to seize their victims and turn them to pulp with a chopping or sawing motion. Camel spiders are not venomous, but they do utilize digestive fluids to liquefy their victims' flesh, making it easy to suck the remains into their stomachs.
 
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