- Mar 29, 2018
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What you should do if you find a Black Widow Spider in your House
Black Widow spiders are one of the deadliest arachnids in the world with neurotoxin latrotoxin venom capable of causing death in a short while to anyone bitten by it. Seeing a Black widow spider around the home is bad news because it is always a sign that there are more where that came from. The spiders carry their deadly venom behind their backs and are known to cause a lot of deaths and fatalities every year.
The female spiders’ unique appearance prompted the name “Black Widow”. These spiders which move with their big backs are mobile killers loaded with the lethal weapons behind their backs.
According to National Geographic, Black widows are notorious spiders identified by the colored, hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomens. Several species answer to the name, and they are found in temperate regions around the world.
This spider's bite is much feared because its venom is reported to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's. In humans, bites produce muscle aches, nausea, and a paralysis of the diaphragm that can make breathing difficult; however, contrary to popular belief, most people who are bitten suffer no serious damage—let alone death. But bites can be fatal—usually to small children, the elderly, or the infirm. Fortunately, fatalities are fairly rare; the spiders are non-aggressive and bite only in self-defense, such as when someone accidentally sits on them.
The animals most at risk from the black widow's bite are insects—and male black widow spiders. Females sometimes kill and eat their counterparts after mating in a macabre behavior that gave the insect its name. Black widows are solitary year-round except during this violent mating ritual.
These spiders spin large webs in which females suspend a cocoon with hundreds of eggs. Spiderlings disperse soon after they leave their eggs, but the web remains. Black widow spiders also use their webs to ensnare their prey, which consists of flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars. Black widows are comb-footed spiders, which means they have bristles on their hind legs that they use to cover their prey with silk once it has been trapped.
To feed, black widows puncture their insect prey with their fangs and administer digestive enzymes to the corpses. By using these enzymes, and their gnashing fangs, the spiders liquefy their prey's bodies and suck up the resulting fluid.
A little girl was sent to an emergency room in June 2017 after the deadly bite from a black widow spider. According to CBS news , At first, Kristine Donovan thought the dark mark on the back of her 5-year-old daughter's leg looked like a bruise.
It wouldn't have been unusual, given that her energetic daughter, Kailyn, frequently plays outside their Mendon, Massachusetts, home for hours.
But when the "bruise" started turning black a few days later, Donovan knew something wasn't right.
On Friday, the concerned mom rushed her daughter to a nearby hospital, where she was told the wound was caused by a black widow spider bite.
The bite of a female black widow can be very painful. The venom is thought to be 15 times more potent than that of a rattlesnake, and can cause severe muscle pain and spasms, as well as abdominal cramps, for up to a week.
"She never felt it bite her," a surprised Donovan told CBS Boston. "It could have been in her jeans in the location where it bit her, we just don't know."
Kailyn is now being treated with antibiotics and frequent dressing changes.
Dr. William Durbin, the pediatric infectious diseases specialist who has been treating Kailyn at UMass Memorial Medical Center since Saturday, told The Boston Globe the dark purple and black colors on the wound was a byproduct of necrosis, or cell death.
"She had a very distinctive bite, which was very scary for her parents and of course the doctors, too," Durbin said.
More than 2,000 people in the U.S. report black widow spider bites yearly, but deaths are rare these days. According to the National Institutes of Health, fatalities from black widow bites typically occur among young children, the elderly and those who are extremely ill.
Luckily, Donovan says the bite was treated in time and already appears to be healing.
"She's happier now that we're not in the hospital," Donovan said. "It doesn't seem to bother her. She looks at it, she doesn't think it's gross, so I try not to make a big deal out of it, to make her nervous or anything."
Though black widows are mostly found in the southern and western regions of the United States, Donovan says her daughter's story should serve as a warning -- there's a possibility of a black widow spider bite no matter where you live.
As a precaution, Donovan plans to spray around her house, hoping to kill any venomous spiders that may remain.
"We're going to be spraying, and they're going to come in the house and do some spraying in here too," Donovan told CBS Boston. "But the doctor said it definitely was outside -- they don't chase people. It probably was bothered. We've been doing a lot of yard work, it probably upset one of them and she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The Spiders hatch many eggs at the same time during their breeding period which makes way for high rate of infestation when the spiders are seen anywhere around the house. The eggs of the spiders should be located and totally destroyed.
It is also important to find the ones carrying eggs and kill them immediately. This will nullify the chance of having over hundreds of them in the house when the eggs are destroyed.
Their web networks should be traced and also cleared. This eliminates an atmosphere conducive enough for them to inhabit.
Getting strong insecticides and spraying the whole house is a god move as sometimes you may not physical see where they are hiding but the chemicals can reach them in their corners.
You may need to vacate the environment until the house is properly cleared and fumigated. This move reduces the chances of being bitten by the deadly spider.