Venomous Spiders of North Carolina

Spiders are a common problem for homeowners in North Carolina. We have tons of spiders here in our area and those spiders love to establish themselves in and around our homes. They create webs in the upper corners of our living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and other areas of our homes. They create webs in secluded storage areas like above the garage, in the attic, and out in the shed. They get into the space between our window screens and our windows and make big webs up near our eaves and soffits. They're also common guests in our gardens, flower beds, berry bushes, landscaping, and other vegetation. And, while most of us consider spiders to be gross, we put up with them. We know that spiders can be beneficial, so we're slow to take webs down, especially when they're in a hard-to-reach location. But there are two spiders in North Carolina that we don't put up with at all, and rightly so. These spiders are the brown recluse spider and the black widow spider.

black widow spider in web
brown recluse spider up close

We have good reasons for not tolerating brown recluse and black widow spiders. These two types of spider have a venom that is considered medically important. But, before we talk about that, let's address the elephant in the room, the elephant named Steatoda grossa.
 
You are probably not familiar with Steatoda grossa unless you are an entomologist or pest control professional, but you might know this species of spider by its common name, "the false black widow." False black widows, as you can probably guess, are spiders that are often mistaken for black widows. But there is actually a big difference between these two spiders. The most notable is the difference in their venom potency. While a bite from a false black widow can result in blistering at the site of the wound and lead to a general feeling of malaise for several days, it isn't nearly as bad as being bitten by a true black widow. A bite from a true black widow could result in a trip to the emergency room. But, even with a true black widow, it is possible that the bite won’t be severe enough to result in a hospital visit. It all depends on how much venom the spider injects; if you trap a black widow, you're likely to have a worse bite than if you reach your hand into a brush pile and accidentally startle one.
 
If you see a large black spider and you're curious whether or not it is a true widow, look for a red hourglass marking on the bottom of its abdomen. False widows don't have this distinctive marking.
 
A bite from a brown recluse spider can also be serious. This spider can inject a venom that has necrotic properties which means it can rot skin tissue and result in the death of skin cells. If left untreated or when injected into a sensitive location of the body, a bite from a brown recluse can result in a disfiguring wound.
 
Fortunately, most brown recluse bites don't lead to this kind of wound. However, it is best to err on the side of caution when these spiders appear in your home.
 
Both brown recluse and black widow spiders feed on larger insects. For this reason, they often create their webs low to the ground. Unlike the neat, tidy webs created by many other spider species, black widow spiders create webs that are more tangled and messy-looking. If you see low webs that look tangled, it is a good idea to have a professional take a look and see what kind of spider you are dealing with.
 
If you're seeing either of these spiders in or around your home, here are a few tips for preventing a bite:

  • Be cautious when opening boxes that have been in storage.
  • Shake out shoes, clothing, towels, and other items before you wear them or use them in case one of these spiders is hiding inside.
  • Check your bedding for spiders before climbing into bed; the last thing you need is to trap one of these spiders between your sheets and your skin.
  • Remove brush from your yard to eliminate hiding spots for these spiders.
  • Wear gloves when working in your yard to avoid inadvertently making contact with one of these spiders and being bitten.
  • Be cautious and use a flashlight when going into a crawlspace or when crawling under a deck, patio, or porch.

For assistance dealing with common house spiders or venomous spiders, reach out to us at A-1 Pest Control. When it comes to solving pest problems, we are a proven leader in the pest control industry. If you are dealing with a pest problem, draw upon our over 50 years of experience to keep dangerous and destructive pests out of your North Carolina home. We are here to help!

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