Spiders

Spiders
Wolf Spider
Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other orders of organisms.  Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exceptions of air and sea colonization. Some of the most commonly known spiders are Brown Recluse, Black Widow, Hobo Spider, Yellow Sac Spider, Jumping Spider, and Wolf Spider.  The Wolf Spider looks very similar to a Tarantula, but are generally smaller. There are more than 2,300 species of wolf spiders, 200 species live in the United States. 

Anatomically, spiders differ from other arthropods in that they have two, rather than three body regions.  Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae.  Spiders have no extensor muscles in their limbs and instead extend themselves by hydraulic pressure.
Spiders can live under piles of wood and debris, in attics and crawlspaces, or any other quiet hiding place throughout your home.  Spiders lay egg sacs.  The number of eggs per sac depends on the type of spider.  The number can range from single numbers to thousands of eggs.  Female spiders protect the egg sacs in several ways:  carry the sac with them, hide them in a quiet place, or leave them on their own and hope for the best.  These egg sacs can develop in a couple of weeks or take as long as several months. The spider's lifespan can vary just as much as the life cycle.  The average life of a spider is around two years.  Some spiders have been known to live as long as 20 years.  Some males die after mating or are eaten by the female spiders after the mating ritual. To avoid being eaten by the females, which are typically much larger, male spiders identify themselves to potential mates by a variety of complex courtship rituals. Males of most species survive a few matings, limited mainly by their short life spans. 
There are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of a spider bite IF your home has a brown recluse spider infestation. Clothing and shoes can be sealed in plastic bags and/or plastic boxes.  If clothes have been left on the floor or openly exposed, they should be shaken well before wearing.  Bed skirts should be removed from all beds and bedspreads should be lifted away from the floor.  

Fortunately, most spider bites are not serious. However, there are a few spiders that are dangerous.  The dangerous spiders in our area are Black Widow spiders, Brown Recluse spiders, Yellow Sac spiders and Hobo spiders. Treating a spider bite depends on the type of spider. Most spider bites look very similar to an insect bite.  The bite area will be slightly raised and itchy.  Sometimes you may be able to see two puncture wounds. While all spiders have some type of venom, most are harmless to humans or they inject so little that it goes unnoticed.  Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders have enough toxins in their venom to be fatal to a human (especially elderly and small children).  Sometimes symptoms don't appear for hours or days.  The most common symptoms of a brown recluse bite include mild stinging, redness and pain at the site of the bite, and a deep blue/purple area around the bite.  There may also be a red ring around the bite.

If bitten by a spider, wash the area with soap and water, apply an ice pack, take an over-the-counter pain medication, take an antihistamine for severe itching and swelling.  If you have severe symptoms as described above, please seek medical treatment immediately.