The good news for Florida homeowners is that there are only two types of poisonous spider found within the state. The bad news is that there are multiple species of each, including three kinds of recluse and four variations of widow. Recluse spiders have been introduced from elsewhere and are not native to the area; however, they have been found within the buildings of several Florida counties.
Surprised or threatened spiders bite; as they are poisonous, you do not want to be bitten by a widow or recluse. Both avoid the open and seek out dark and well-concealed locations. For this reason, when reaching under or into things obscured from view, wear gloves to prevent a painful surprise.
Another favorite spider hiding place is in discarded clothing. Therefore, before sticking arms into sleeves or feet into shoes, shake them out first to ensure they have not become the newest home to a creepy crawler. Remain safe by always keeping in mind where spiders are found and exercising caution when in those situations.
Widows exist worldwide.The larger females are usually 8-15mm long with males measuring as small as 2mm. They are generally shiny with black abdomens sporting identifying red markings; however, they may also have a lighter color with stripes.
Widows are nocturnal and build webs with a corner pocket in which they wait for prey. They aren’t found in homes as often as in sheds, barns, attics, and garages or under barbecues and sand boxes that have been left standing around unused. Most human-spider interaction occurs by accident. Widows do not seek people out;instead,bites are typically the result of chance encounters for both parties.
The symptoms of a bite do not stay localized to the affected area but spread.Within one to three hours an individual with a widow bite may experience extreme pain, abdominal rigidity, muscle cramps, sweating, vomiting, and hypertension. Without treatment, this may continue for as many as five days.
As their name suggests, these spiders also avoid humans, when possible. The recluse is not native to Florida,and there is some evidence that the area poses some challenges to their survival. However, both the Mediterranean and Chilean recluse have a documented presence within or directly bordering southern counties, likely brought to the area from elsewhere.
Recluses have violin shaped marks on their backs, which are lighter in the smaller brown Mediterranean and darker in the larger yellow to reddish brown Chilean variety. As a recluse bite contains necrotizing venom, it can kill the tissue of the surrounding area. If bitten by a suspected recluse, seek treatment immediately.
Not as commonly found inside a home as other spider varieties, these poisonous arachnids do still occasionally make it inside of one. For safety purposes, it is also essential to keep them out of structures closely associated with a house. Find out why you should leave firewood outside and how to avoid unintentionally attracting spiders to your property here.