There are 3,000 species of spiders in North America. While plenty of people are fearful of spiders in general, the truth is that most do not pose a real threat to humans. However, there are a few you need to be able to identify in order to assess your risk of being bitten. The following spiders vary in dangerousness but are important to learn about, nonetheless.
Southern Black Widow
We are all familiar with the black widow spider as one of the more dangerous kinds found in America. As its name suggests, it has a black body. More importantly, it has a distinctive red hourglass shape on its abdomen. The black widow generally creates a messy, patternless web, from which it usually hangs upside down, showing off a telltale red marking. This spider will attack any perceived threat to its egg sac, which usually hangs high on the web.
Only the female black widows are poisonous. While their venom is very potent, it usually isn’t deadly if treated promptly. They can be aggressive, so exercise caution when reaching around in sheds, high shelves, dark corners, or any place that has not been used in a long time.
These spiders are on the smaller side, usually only the size of a penny. They come in all different shades of brown, which can make them tough to identify. Importantly, you can identify a brown recluse by the violin-shaped marking on its head, which points toward its back. In addition, it has six eyes, which is unusual for spiders. Like the black widow, it tends to spin an irregular web. However, brown recluse webs have a built-in shelter, which is another important distinction.
Brown recluses have necrotic venom, which is extremely poisonous. This venom causes the skin around a bite wound to die. The most serious bites can cause problems for the patient’s whole body.
While this is certainly scary, it can be avoided, as these spiders only bite humans if cornered and provoked. Beware of the brown recluse in dry, cool, undisturbed places, as that is where it can be found most often. Additionally, take care when storing your cardboard in these spaces, as brown recluses seem to be drawn to the material.