Are you worried about spider bites?

Have you been getting bitten by a lot of spiders lately? Are you concerned about Brown Recluse Spiders?

Well, I know people don't like to hear this, but those spider bites you woke up with this morning were probably not spider bites. Spiders don't really bite people.

Or, more accurately, if I had a dime for every time I've heard someone claim they were bitten by a spider, and had to give back 20 dimes every time they actually were bit by a spider, I'd have a lot of dimes.

If you want to get rid of an excessive number of spiders in your house, click here for instructions.

Meanwhile, this is the time of year we start to get the email memes about the deadly flesh destroying Brown Recluse Spiders. Brown Recluse Spiders are real, and their bite can be bad, but they are rare and, well, reclusive, and they are restricted geographically to a much smaller area than the meme warning us of them is found. So, there is a good chance that you don't have Brown Recluse Spiders in your area. Or maybe you do. Either way, click here to find out more about the Brown Recluse, where it is, and what it is.

Meanwhile, if you still don't believe me about how that was not a spider that gave you the painful raised welt or whatever you think a spider bite on your body is, click here to get a second opinion, which happens to be the same as mine, but still....

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I am deathly afraid of brown recluses like the one in the picture, the nasty little bugger. I never put on a pair of jeans without shaking them first, 'cause they like warm, dark places (and I know someone who was bitten by one hiding in her jeans), and when I recently found one in my medicine…
It is almost Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. One thing this means that US citizens and I'd bet some Canadians will be receiving the annual Brown Recluse Spider Warnings via Email. In order to reduce the negative effects of this email spamish meme, I hereby inoculate you. If you get the email…
It is Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This means that US citizens and I'd bet some Canadians will be receiving the annual Brown Recluse Spider Warnings via Email. In order to reduce the negative effects of this email spamish meme, I hereby inoculate you. If you get the email, which usually…

When I see someone say "I got a spider bite" and I see the bite, etc. etc. it is almost always a mosquito bite, in my opinion.

Of course this applies mostly to people who seem to get several spider bites a week during mosquito season.

I don't know. There were two little puncture holes as one would expect from a spider bite. This was several inches above my left ankle. It never hurt, but a large surrounding area became very hard to the touch for several months. I later developed lymphedema in that leg, starting in the area of the possible spider bite.

I did enough 24 hour gill net sets in the West Pearl River swamps in Louisiana that I no longer notice mosquitoes.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 27 Apr 2012 #permalink

Thank you, Greg! Now if we could only get this column to go out as a meme.

By Cheri Collins (not verified) on 27 Apr 2012 #permalink

Jim, you were bitten by a tiny snake! Or a vampire bat! THAT would be cool.

I like spiders in the house. We have lots of spiders and ZERO other insects. Lots of Huntsman spiders(2"+ leg spans) but they beat a roach any day.

By Chuck Nelson (not verified) on 28 Apr 2012 #permalink

Jim, one of the myths about spider bites is that you would expect to see two holes.

Almost every spider likely to bite you will have the two piercings so close together that you will only see one mark.

By Rick Pikul (not verified) on 28 Apr 2012 #permalink

I've lived in Australia for over half a century and I'm still alive, therfore I haven't been bitten by a spider. :)

People's reactions to 'bugs' in general and spiders in particular, are fascinating....

Steve - The Doorman:
Last spring a very large and colourfull orb weaver set up shop on my front porch and for months on end spun huge webs ~2X2 meters, she built a new one practically every evening since birds often flew thru it during the day.

Her webs were every bit as awe inspiring as the Golden Gate bridge, her colours as striking as any bird of paradise, and her many eyes were aranged like tiny red jewels crowning her head. It was, for a few months, an uncommon natural wonder right on my doorstep.

I became fascinated with it's inate engineering skills and remarkable patience. Long before it dawned on me that 'he' was probably a 'she', I had named her "Steve - The Doorman".

The missus called me a *&%$#@ lunatic and the pizza boy wouldn't come onto the porch.

Brown recluse are easy to identify with 100% accuracy: just look into their eyes. They have 3 sets of paired eyes (6 total). Violin markings aren't always pronounced. I caught many for up close examination in my previous KS home. Never had any other bug problems in that 100 year old house.

A female took late night revenge on me for cleaning away her web mass behind the night stand and, more likely, rolling over in bed and swashing her. Got a hive running like acid down my back and joint pain for weeks after but luckily no rotting zombie flesh. I've been prone to hives when exercising ever since.

In the interest of scientific accuracy I must make note of the following from my previous post:
The assumption of being bit by a female is made because of the proximity to the web, because it ties together the narrative, and seems to be a theme in my life. No gender determination was made.
Getting hives may be and is likely unrelated, but it might still be an interesting observation.