“Kill it with fire” is a common response to anyone that has found a spider. You’ll even find plenty of memes online of people setting fire to their own houses because they found a spider inside. Of course, it’s just a joke – but the underlying fear of spiders is there.
Arizona and California share a lot of the same spiders, including some of the most dangerous ones.
Of course this list would have the black widow spider, and they are actually fairly common in California. It’s only one of the most dangerous spiders found in the country – the infamous shiny black spider with the distinctive red hourglass shaped mark on the underside of its abdomen. Sometimes, they may also have red markings on their back too.
They are typically black, but can also be dark brown in color. They hide in dark, low-lying areas, so it’s not at all surprising for people to not even suspect they’re there until they feel its bite – you may feel a pinprick, immediately followed by painful burning sensation. Sometimes they even leave double fang marks like a tiny vampire.
Redness and swelling follow shortly after. With black widow bites, pain is not limited to the bite area. You’ll likely experience muscle spasms in your chest and abdomen, and your back and shoulders may also hurt. In rare cases, black widow spider venom may lead to seizures, and even death.
Males are generally not black, and hardly ever bite. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a black widow spider, seek medical attention right away.
Thankfully, the areas where desert recluse spiders are commonly reported are sparsely populated by humans – areas including the lower San Joaquin Valley and the Sonoran and Mojave deserts.
Even so, if you see this spider, steer clear of it. Recluse spiders are known to have a violin shaped mark on their back, but with desert recluse spiders, they’re a more uniform tan or brown in color so it may be hard to see this mark. Another way you can tell it’s a recluse spider is that unlike many other spiders that have 8 eyes, they only have 6 eyes arranged in 3 pairs known as dyads.
That said, it’s advised you don’t come near enough to find out – these spiders have necrotic venom.
If you’ve been bitten by a desert recluse spider, it may not be immediately painful but tissue will break down in the next several days. Because of this, if you think you’ve been bitten by a recluse spider, seek medical attention immediately.
Other symptoms from a recluse bite may be skin rashes, chills, fever, joint pain, vomiting or nausea.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
It may be challenging to keep spiders and other pests away from your home, but there are a few things you can do to help prevent them from getting inside:
- Seal cracks and crevices where spiders and other pests may enter. Be sure to use good quality caulk (expanding foam breaks down much faster over time)
- Install mesh screens on all outdoor vents
- Install screens on windows
- Install weatherstripping to close gaps on windows and doors
- When bringing inside pots, boxes, or other such materials, give them a quick inspection to make sure there are no pests hiding inside
Spiders feed on a lot of other pests, so protecting your home from pests also means making it less attractive for spiders. If you have a spider or any other pest infestation, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional pest control company to have them safely and effectively removed from your property.
For more information on spiders, check out our Spider Archives!