The male Black widow spider is considered harmless to human beings because they have very small fangs to bite with so they can’t impart a significant amount of venom to cause an episode.
The anatomy of the male Black widow
While females can grow to one and a half inches across, the male will only reach three quarters of an inch at maturity. They are smaller in body and have distinct yellow and red markings. Their legs are also slightly longer for their body.
The female can be quickly identified from her red marking on her midnight black color.
The fate of the male Black widow
There are about 31 species of black widow spiders. Out of these only two will eat their male which she mistakes for food because he launches himself into her mouth after mating. If the female black widow is hungry when the make enters her web she may eat him up instead of copulating with him.
In order to avoid being eaten the make must create certain vibrations with his abdomen to alert the female that he wants to mate not to be a meal.
What to know about a make black widow
The males make their own webs away from the female until it is time to mate. They will destroy the web once it is mating season after smelling the pheromones that the female laces into her web to attract them.
The females stay put in their webs and wait for a make to come to them. The first male to arrive begins to disassemble the female’s web removing any proof of the pheromones laced web that’ll attract other males. He needs to do this to deter competitors from coming to that female because she can attract up to 40 males per night. As he breaks down the web he releases his own scent to mask her effectively keeping out the competition.
During their mating the make spider will wrap his silk web around her legs to mask her scent even further in what is commonly referred to as a bridal veil. If he successfully completed the wraparound he will walk away from the female and leave her to start the process of web building again. Males typically tend to live for only about one to two months because of risk factors like cannibalism and also natural selection.
Male black widow spiders are known for their ability to piggyback on other makes to reach a female looking to mate. They will follow the silky strands of other males looking for a female and find a way to overtake them and reach the female first. The most successful makes to reach a mating female are actually those that follow the other males and not the ones that follow the female’s pheromone laced cues.
A male black widow spider has a short and typically brutal life span. But these spiders have developed a fail-safe to help them stay alive for longer. That is looking for well-fed female black widow to mate with effectively lessening the chances of being eaten after copulation.
Did you know that spiders belong to the phylum known as anthropods? Most people believe spiders to be insects but they are not. They are one among the four classifications of anthropods known as arachnids. The other three include the myriapods, crustaceans, and insects.
In the arachnid family there are spiders, scorpions, ticks and mites. Spiders are not the only arachnids with eight legs. Scorpions and other arachnids also have four pairs of legs as well.
Spider legs total eight in number and these creatures can still get around and survive even when they lose a limb. Spiders have more legs than they need according to scientists. They came to this conclusion following studies on spiders caught in the wild that were missing one or two legs. These spiders were still able to reproduce, build similar webs to their eight legged counterparts and hunt just as effectively.
Having said that spiders can’t afford to lose too many legs. In fact, two seems to be the limit as those with fewer legs did not survive out in the wild. They built less structured webs and their hunting game was off. They also couldn’t escape predators fast enough.
When a spider loses its legs it does so at the predetermined break point which is typically close to the body itself. The breakpoints have the natural ability to clamp shut to prevent he spider from bleeding out due to loss of a lim. They have a special muscle group that facilitates the clamp down. The process of voluntarily losing a limb is called autonomy.
Spiders have the ability to regrow back that leg in time as long as is loss doesn’t hamper their ability to hunt and move around. That is why losing more than one limb becomes dangerous for spiders in the wild.
How do spider legs work?
Because spiders are mainly terrestrial creatures they get to move along the ground most of the time. They use their legs to move around but also to secure their prey when hunting. When using its legs the spider employs the use of its muscles as well as its circulatory system. Spider blood, also known as hemolymph, is pumped into the legs making them expand outwards and facilitate movement. To move them back inwards the spider’s muscles contracts them pushing the hemolymph back into the body’s cavity.
This natural ebb and flow of hemolymph is crucial for movement which is why when the spider loses a limb it quickly clamps the affected joint to prevent too much blood loss. And the hydraulic movement doesn’t have the aid of flexor and extensor muscles that insects and other limbed creatures have.
With regard to their skitter from side to side they instinctively decrease or increase their body pressure to jut out some hemolymph to the limbs every few fractions of a second to achieve this movement. Apart from powering their movements, the expulsion of the spider blood from the cavity combined with the hydraulics, powers their genitalia for mating.
Hobo is quite a peculiar name to give to any type of a spider. This name stuck because the specie in question is not native to America but comes from Europe. It is a popular belief that this spider hitched rides on cars and trucks along the highway to spread to other states and hence the name Hobo.
What does a Hobo spider look like?
The Hobo spider is not exactly small but neither is it massive. It is fair to say that adults are medium sized spiders measuring approximately 2.5–4.5 centimeter including the body and legs. It is predominantly brown and furry with some spots lighter than others. The abdomen of the Hobo spider is oblong shaped with visible spinnerets.
The Hobo spider prefers damp dark places and will normally live outdoor but may venture indoors lured by the presence of insects. It often forms a web that has a back door leading to a safe nook or crevice where predators cannot follow.
Hobo spider bite
The Latin name for the Hobo spider is Tegenaria agrestis. This has often been misconstrued to mean that this spider is aggressive. But that would not be quite accurate. The Hobo is not aggressive in the sense that it will seek out a human being in order to bite. Like most spider it will tend to shy away from human presence. However, should it be accidentally trapped against the skin of a person, it translates that as being cornered and will therefore seek to defend itself by biting.
The bite of a Hobo spider feels like being pricked with a needle. While the Hobo spider is venomous and will kill its prey by injecting venom, their bite on humans is often not serious and will typically not require a visit to the hospital. However the bite section may have the following:
- Some damage on the skin
- A red welt may form
Some people are more sensitive than others and may be have an allergic reaction to a spider bite. So if you develop fever, headache and hives appear in your body as a result of a bite from a Hobo spider the it is prudent to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Here are some general tips on taking care of a spider bite:
- Apply a cold compress for 10 minutes
- Apply an antibiotic ointment that will reduce itching and swelling
- Prevent infection by cleaning the area with soap and water
- Take an over the counter antihistamine such as Benadryl to help ease the itching
A bite by the Hobo spider is in most cases relatively harmless. It is important to try and stay calm after a bite as most people will understandably become panicked. The Hobo spider is often mistaken for the brown recluse which is venomous even to human beings.
Doctors will often advise spider bite victims to catch the spider in a jar if they can and bring it with them to hospital. That way doctors are absolutely sure what type of spider caused the bite and can treat the victim accordingly. Of course, that is often easier said than done.
Common house spiders are not typically the source of anxiety for most home owners who find the little brown or gray creatures in their houses. Not only are they not deadly when it comes to their bite, they can also be great at keeping nuisance insects like flies at bay. In North America alone there are 3,400 species of spiders some house spiders and others not.
The common house spider comprises of a number of species that make up this type of spiders. They include
The long bodied cellar spider
Scientifically known as Pholcus Phalangioides, this spider has a head that looks similar to a human skull. Because of a human looking cephalothorax it is also known as a skull spider. They are typically good guy spiders because they eat insects, centipedes and other pests. Their natural habitat is undisturbed locations of the house with very little to no light like cellars and basements.
The cellar spider has a distant relative known as the daddy long legs spider which looks similar but it is not the same. Perhaps the best thing about a long bodied cellar spider is that it can eat black widows and brown recluse spiders which are woods spider with neocratic venom.
American house spider
Known is scientifically known as the parasteastoda tepidariorum, the American house spider is usually a bland looking grayish brown looking spider which is harmless to humans. They are referred to as cobweb spiders and they hide their webs in closets and other small spaces with human presence. They particularly like to build their webs in between walls in the house.
Their webs look untidy but are very effective in capturing prey. They are usually small to medium sized with a round abdomen.
These are spiders from the clubionidae, Corinnidae and Miturgidae families. They have oval shaped bodies that feature a row of eight bodies. Their characteristic yellowish beige color gives them excellent camouflage to survive in a human habitat. They love the ceiling in the house which is where they will tend to hover most of their lives. Interestingly, they do not build webs so they will run down their prey and attack it.
Sac spiders are not usually harmful to humans but for people with allergic reactions to such bites they could cause a reaction that needs treatment. These spiders are primarily nocturnal.
Jumping spiders belong to the family of spiders known as Salticidae. They hunt during daylight and will jump around on the walls as they move swiftly toward their prey. These spiders have a compact build and will be black, brown or beige or tan in color.
Jumping spiders are generally harmless but if they bite they have the same effect as a bee sting. They are characterized by longer front legs and a hairy stocky body.
Most house spiders are harmless and will only bite in self-defense when they feel threatened. Unfortunately, among common house spiders you may find venomous spiders like the brown recluse which will slip into the house and make a home in your attic or basement. This is why it is important to always clear out your basement and other areas not frequently used. If you dear an infestation of brown recluse spiders call in a professional to get rid of them for you.
The scientific name of the common house spider is parasteastoda tepidariorum. This type of spider has worldwide distribution and the good news is that common spiders are quite harmless. Even when they bite, which they do when they feel threatened, their bites are typically a minor irritation.
Size of a common house spider
A female house spider can measure five to eight millimeters in length while the male is smaller in size measuring four millimeters. The females tend to be bigger because of reproduction purposes.
The common house spiders are usually gray or brown in color. Their legs have black rings and their abdomen is usually dotted with white markings. You will find them having built webs in the dark corners of your house especially in rooms that are not commonly frequented like the attic. But you will also catch a web or two in your bedroom or bathroom.
A common house spider has a specific natural habitat: man-made shelters. They live indoors but that can be anywhere from a house to a barn, shed or the house basement.
These spiders love to crawl and skitter along the walls and floor. They build their webs thicker on one side compared to another and sit on the thicker side to mount an attack on their prey. The web is made from silky strands and you may notice several cob webs in the same corner of the house. This typically occurs with house spiders that have found a source of a lot of food. They can share the space and co-exist together. But just like venomous spiders they will attack each other when competing for limited food supply.
During the breeding season the male and female live on the same web to facilitate mating after which the male dies off leaving the female to lay her eggs. The female will hold the male’s sperm for a while until she is ready to fertilize her eggs.
The female lays eggs several times a year. You can see a sac of the eggs clearly in the summer time and they appear as small brown dots hanging off the web. Each egg is fertilized individually and placed into a sac which can hold up to 400 eggs.
Common house spiders reproduce at a high rate so you may notice their populations growing alarmingly in your house within a few weeks to months.
House spiders go through three phases of growth to reach maturity. They are laid as eggs then they hatch into spiderlings which then mature into adult spiders. They will molt five to ten times before the spider reaches full maturity and at maturity their exoskeleton will be harder for better protection.
The male needs to approach the female carefully or he will be attacked.
Common house spiders are not threatened with extinction. Their populations are healthy and well distributed all over the world. These spiders help keep out insects like flies but when they become too many they become a menace.
While many spider bites are harmless and result in little more than minor pain and swelling, there are some spiders that can cause serious symptoms.
When they are left untreated, these seemingly small bites can cause serious problems. One such spider that has a nasty bite is the Black Widow.
This spider is primarily found in the United States. They have distinct red markings on them that distinguish them from other species.
If you come in contact with one and are bitten, remain calm. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this type of bite can reduce the risk of serious complications which include hospitalization and in rare cases, death.
Many times the cause of black widow spider bites is unknown; however, many bites happen when you step on them without shoes on your feet, when you’re outdoors. These arachnids like to live in dark spaces such as under sheds, houses or lawn furniture where they are easily overlooked.
The symptoms of spider bites from these eight-legged creatures include:
- Localized swelling 30 to 40 minutes after the bite occurs
- Pain that slowly progresses up or down the bitten arm or leg
- Tremors, difficulty breathing and vomiting
- Clammy skin and weak pulse
It is true that if left untreated these bites can be deadly. However, there is a treatment for these spider bites that is often effective when administered in the early stages of venom injection.
Although seemingly impossible, try to catch the spider that bit you so a medical professional can identify the type of bite that you have sustained. It is important to remember to always seek medical attention promptly.
Some of the treatment methods used to treat black widow spider bites include:
- Cleaning the site thoroughly with soap and water
- Applying a mild antiseptic ointment or cream to ward off any infections
- Apply a cold pack to the affected area to reduce swelling
- Elevate the site of the bite above the heart to maintain proper blood circulation
There are many different types of spider bites. One spider that is commonly found in North America that gives a nasty bite is the Black Widow.
These little guys are seemingly harmless until they strike. A little known fact about these spiders is that it is primarily the female with a bite that is dangerous and responsible for the most serious symptoms and side effects.
It is possible to avoid being bitten by these spiders. Some measures to take include wearing shoes while gardening or walking outdoors, avoiding playing in woodpiles or in sheds, cleaning behind yard furniture and potted plants often in order to sweep away any spiders that may be living within them.
Shake out your shoes if they are kept in dark places such as mudrooms or the garage as they are ideal hiding places for black widow spiders.
If you know what causes these bites, the symptoms and how to treat them, you have a good chance of walking away from the venom injection fairly unscathed.
Wolf spiders are a species, among the more than 43,000 spider species in the world, that has an excruciatingly painful bite. It is a common spider found in all parts of the world but particularly common to the U.S.
Although the wolf spider has a menacing look its bite is not fatal in humans but it is extremely painful. That said, no one would want the wolf spiders populating under their roof if they can help it. Wolf spiders are considered the 9th deadliest spiders in the world.
Why are they called wolf spiders?
The wolf spiders belong to the family Lycosidae and get their name from their hunting habits. Unlike most spiders that build a web netting to trap unsuspecting prey, the wolf spider surprisingly does not hunt this way and instead prefers to hunt outdoors. It hunts like a wolf by stalking and literally running down its prey and pouncing on it to deliver the killer venom blow. Also unlike most spiders that hunt by feeling their way around because they can’t see, the wolf spider has acute eye sight with a set of two large eyes sitting at the center front. A set of four smaller eyes are right below two medium sized ones that are situated on the very top of the head.
The wolf spider is considered a medium sized spider ranging from half an inch to two inches in length when fully grown. They have a creepy hairy look that ranges from orangish-brown to gray and black with splotches or stripes that help it with camouflage during a hunt or when simply hiding. Their bodies are long and broad, with stout, long legs. They have an additional two smaller arms/legs attached to the front known as pedipalps which add to its already menacing look.
Symptoms of a wolf spider bite
Wolf spiders are noted for their stealth and running speed. Their common habitats are grass, logs, under stones or leaf piles. They often will not invade human shelter unless the dwelling harbors insects. Also, when cooler seasons are approaching they seek shelter in human houses if they have cracks and crevices or other openings to get out of the cold.
Fortunately the wolf spider is not aggressive, however, it does not hesitate to strike and bite in self defense when threatened. As mentioned, although its venom is not deadly to humans, it can cause very unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, dizzy spells, elevated heart rate, and physical trauma where the bite occurred. You can also expect itchiness at the site of the bite, and relentless pain for a while.
How to treat the bite
Here’s how to treat the bite from a wolf spider and lessen the discomfort:
- Wash the bite area with soap and warm water and keep the wound clean
- Place an ice pack or cool cloth on the wound to help reduce pain and swelling
- Elevate the wound if the bite is on the arm or leg
- Get medication over the counter and take as soon as possible.
- If one notices swelling and itching, take an aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the swelling.
There are an estimated 40,000 species of spiders in the world that have been identified and named. 3,000 of those are found in North America. Scientists concur that there are so many more species of these arachnids to be identified and named. Nearly all spiders are venomous but for most their venom is not toxic to human beings.
In the 1950s deaths from spider bites were prevalent according to documents kept in records at national poison control centers. This is mainly because of the advancement in medication and health care. Plus indoor plumbing lessened the prevalence of black widow bites. Most spider bites are not really remarkable let alone deadly but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken care of.
Spiders that bite
There are only a handful of spiders that produce venom that is extremely toxic to humans and they have the fangs to introduce the venom into the human body. These include the
- Camel spider
- Brown recluse spider
- Wolf spider
- Banana spider
- Black widow spider
The Hobo spider has the ability to bite (quite painfully) but it doesn’t introduce venom into the body.
What does a spider bite look like?
Spider bites generally look alike which is why most people cannot tell the specific spider that bit them just by looking at the bite site. The bites also share common symptoms.
A spider bite is typically characterized by several tiny red bumps on the skin that can be painful or itchy or both. This is the easiest way to identify a spider bite but for a deeper insight into the type of spider that bit you, capture the spider and let an expert identify it for you.
Some spiders like the black widow and the brown recluse spider can cause severe symptoms including swelling of the body, face in particular, widespread itching muscle cramps and even respiratory problems.
What to do with a spider bite
According to spider bite experts one should follow these four steps in case of a spider bite:
- Rest to calm yourself and monitor the bite site
- Ice the area to reduce pain and discomfort as well as alleviate the swelling that typically accompanies the bite
- Compress with a cold compress to keep the pain manageable before seeing a doctor
- Elevate the bitten limb (if bitten on the arm or leg)
You can use over the counter pain killing medication to control the pain but if the site becomes warm to touch or has pus, even after all the above steps, you need to seek medical attention. Don’t worry about the period of time you will take to achieve the following steps since you have several hours to still be able to get medical attention after the first bite. Symptoms can start between an hour to eight hours or even twelve hours after the bite occurs.
A bite, even by the venomous spiders, is rarely life threatening and in most cases is completely treatable. But if in doubt make sure you seek medical attention.
Crab spiders belong to the Thomisidae family of spiders which has over two thousand different species. They are also referred to as flower crab spiders or flower spiders. These spiders have predator habits where instead of constructing a nest to trap prey they lie in wait on flowers and wait for bees and other insects to come their way. Crab spiders are not a danger to human beings only biting when trapped and in self defence.
These spiders are not native to one particular climate because the various species can be found all around the world.
Why are they called crab spiders?
These little creatures have movements similar to crabs and they look like crabs as well. They are brown in color with two large powerful legs that they use to trap prey. They use their hind legs to crab walk with the familiar sideways scuttle of a crab earning themselves the name crab spider.
Also, like crabs, they prefer camouflage as a defense mechanism and hunting tactic. They never run down prey instead prey always comes to them because they look like dry leaves, fruit, or grass on the flower. When they have their prey in their strong forearms they deliver poisonous venom into their system with a bit effectively incapacitating them or killing them. These little guys can render much larger prey like large insects immobile with their venom.
Crab spiders can reproduce within weeks of mating as the female lay eggs and place them in two silken sacs. The two sacs are enjoined at the center and the female crab spider stays close to the eggs protecting them from predators. When the little spiders hatch they resemble adults but they have some molting to do before they can become mature and fertile.
The crab spider bite
They are too small to do any lasting damage to human beings. Their mouth parts are tiny meaning they would find it hard to pierce human skin. There are giant crab spiders, also known as huntsman spiders, that can bite a human being but even they don’t have much of an effect on humans.
The giant crab spider is among the largest spiders in Northern America. Its body can fit into the palm of your hand excluding the legs. These species also looks like a crab and moves sideways but it has a distinct advantage over other crab spiders: speed. It moves incredibly fast to snatch up its pry before it gets away.
Benefits of crab spiders
These spiders do not like to inhabit indoor areas. They are outdoors spiders that like to hide in crack and crevices in the ground. Their biggest benefit to human beings is their ability to feed on pesky insects like mosquitoes and flies. Considering the fact that they do not bite, live outdoors and they eat insects that make your life a living hell having a few crab spiders around doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all. They are a great deterrent to mosquito and fly infestations.
Although a house spider isn’t dangerous and many are beneficial, that does not mean we want them in our house or taking over our yard.
Some spiders, in fact, are poisonous and can cause health problems and even death if they bite. Besides, spiders crawling around in unexpected places freak people out including guests, and cobwebs are unsightly and can be hard to clean as they are often in high and out of the way locations.
How can we control spiders without using poisons or other chemicals?
Spiders In The Wintertime
During the cold winter months, everyone needs a place to stay warm, including those nasty eight-legged critters called spiders.
They also need a place to find food as other critters move inside for winter and you can bet your house is the perfect place.
Though spiders are unpleasant looking and frightening, most are harmless. Even if they do bite the result is usually a minor irritation to the skin. However, some spiders can be extremely aggressive and their venom can be extremely dangerous.
Getting Rid Of House Spiders
Cleanliness is the first step. Make sure there are no crumbs or other food scraps left on the counters, tables, or floors.
Regularly wipe and sweep them. Make sure the garbage cannot be accessed by pests. A garbage can with a lid works well for this purpose. This can be difficult in a house full of children or a house full of any kind of people. You just need to keep on top of this and explain to others why it is important.
Now spiders may not be eating these crumbs and other food scraps potentially lying around, but pests that spiders eat will be.
If you encourage spider food to enter and live in your home you are encouraging spiders as well. And these other pests are not desirable in your house either.
There are some smells that spiders dislike but that humans do like and you can use these to your advantage. Lavender and lemon are two examples.
A cleaning spray, perhaps a dusting spray, with one or both scents will help drive spiders away. You can also use lemon oil strategically, perhaps dabbing some by the entryway or putting a little on the bottom of a broom before sweeping.
A spray of vinegar and lemon or lavender essential oil works extremely well too. Use a sprayer, and spray in all areas where you have seen spiders, on webs, and in areas where spiders may be entering such as around windows. We tend to go wild with this and it does a great job.
You can also spray windows and doors from the outside as well to discourage them from even coming close.
Also, seal any small holes or cracks they may be climbing in via. They don’t need much space. Prime areas to look include around doorways and windows. Be thorough in looking for small entryways.
You can control spiders naturally by following these tips. If infestation continues, call your local pest control service for a thorough job or removing house spiders.