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One of the most feared spiders in North America, and the ones most often questioned about in Cleveland and across Cuyahoga County is the brown recluse. There are a number of myths that come with the brown recluse spider, as to how dangerous they are and what they can do to the average human. There are also myths about what they look like and residents in Cleveland, throughout Ohio and across the United States often mistake other spiders for the brown recluse.
So, are there brown recluse spiders in Cleveland, Ohio? Are they a potential risk to home and business owners? Ehrlich is the expert in the brown recluse and spider infestations, so we take a look at those questions.
If you think you have a problem with spiders, whatever the species, contact your local Cleveland area Ehrlich Pest Control office.
The areas brown recluse spiders call their home across North America extends quite far. They are fairly common throughout the Midwest as well as in many southern states. This includes the state of Ohio.
The brown recluse spider is known for its ability to hide and prefers to find out-of-the-way places to build their webs and are most active in the warmer months. However, they can be found in areas around Cleveland, across Ohio as well as numerous places in the Midwest.
The most common belief is that the brown recluse is also known as the fiddle back spider and that they have a violin-shaped mark on their back. However, the brown recluse is also quite small, so being sure there is such a mark is difficult. Plus, there is no guarantee the brown recluse you see or that has bitten you has such a mark.
The brown recluse is a small spider usually growing to between 6 – 20 millimeters in length. They are usually light or medium brown in color and many times the do have a violin-shaped mark on their backs.
However, the way to really tell if you have a brown recluse spider on your hands is their number of eyes. Unlike a lot of other arachnids, the brown recluse has six eyes, arranged in pairs on their head or face. Other spiders have eight eyes. Granted, it may be difficult to see the eyes of a spider, but if you do get bitten and can capture the spider and bring it with you to the doctor, they can tell.
The brown recluse is not actively setting out to bite or envenom people. Humans are too large for them to eat and they only bite due to defensive needs. In other words, the brown recluse is most likely to bite if handled or if they end up pressed against the skin. This can happen when a brown recluse ends up in a person’s shoe or within their clothing.
A brown recluse will bite and you may feel it or may not. For some people, the bite may be immediately painful. You may see red marks where you felt the bite and they may get swollen.
The story is that brown recluse bites are necrotic – meaning they cause the flesh around it to die and rot. This can happen but is not definite. Sometimes spiders are known to give “dry” bites to deter prey or threats, but not pump venom into them.
Also, the brown recluse is small and their fangs are even smaller. This means they usually cannot inject a large volume of venom.
Some of the adverse symptoms of a brown recluse bite include fever, chills, intense pain and swelling around the bite area. Also, there is a chance the flesh around the bite will become necrotic. This area may grow as the venom works its way through the body. You may feel the other systemic symptoms of the bite before you notice the necrotic symptoms since the venom will move fast.
The simplest answer is: yes. The more complex answer is: they can be. Sometimes the bite can be dangerous, but they are more likely to be dangerous to children or the elderly. The myth is the poison of a brown recluse is the deadliest of any spider in North America.
When compared to other North American spiders, this is true. However, the brown recluse spiders are so small, the amount of venom is very small.
That being said, the bite can be painful and can pose a risk. Brown recluse spider bites should be taken seriously and medical attention should be sought.
First, try to capture the spider that bit you. This can allow the medical staff to analyze the arachnid and determine the best course of treatment. They can best tell what species of spider it is.
Second, you should seek medical attention. Do not take risks with spider bites since there is a chance of health risks. Call your doctor or visit the emergency room to discuss treatments and determine if there is a risk.
At Ehrlich, we have been finding, removing and treating homes and businesses for spider infestations for years. We can help determine if you have a brown recluse problem, get rid of them, and offer advice on preventing further spider infestations.
If you think you have a brown recluse spider problem around your Cleveland, Ohio, home, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office.