“I’ve been getting lots of calls about supposed spider bites lately," said Steve Smith from Deadant Termite and Pest Control, located at Century Plaza on Old Lincoln Highway.
“All insects in our area have doubled in number in the past few years, due to the increased moisture and mild temperatures. When there are more insects to eat, there are also more spiders to eat them,” he added.
"Sixty percent of all diagnosed spider bites are actually staph infections,” says Smith. "Chances of being bit by a spider while living anywhere in the United States are one in 500,000 and chances of being bit twice in a lifetime are one in a million. Unless the doctor does a culture on the area, there is no foolproof way to know if it is a spider bite."
Prevention is the best defense for spiders in the home. Keep mulch away from the home. Make sure you seal all holes and cracks in windows, doors and other spaces. If spiders have already made their way inside, the first line of defense is to use a broom to get rid of their webs as soon as you see them.
"Exclusion is half the battle," said Smith.
If you want more protection against spiders, Deadant or another exterminator can do an indoor and outdoor spider spray. Smith also recommends using sticky traps where spiders have been found.
If you do have lots of spiders in your home, then you can be fairly certain that you also have other insects hiding inside because spiders can't survive without insects to eat.
Spider Species in PA
Smith says that the two most common spiders in our area are the garden spider and the daddy long leg.
According to Steve Jacobs, Senior Extension Associate for Penn State’s Department of Agriculture, most of the 3,000 species of spiders found in the United States are harmless to most people, unless they are allergic or have a weak immune system. The two most dangerous spiders are the black widow and the brown recluse. The black widow is native to our area but rare and the brown recluse is only found here if it has been brought in from another area.
According to Smith though, more brown recluses are showing up in eastern pa because they are being shipped here in boxes. Once they crawl out of the box and are inside of a structure, they can easily survive and breed.
According to Jacobs, “most spiders are too small to be of concern. The fangs of these tiny creatures cannot penetrate the human epidermis unless the spider is held in place and allowed to bite the very thin skin between the fingers and toes. Large spiders can bite but they are shy and will attempt to escape unless trapped between the skin and some other object, such as clothing, sheets or shoes.”
Spider Bite Suspected?
- Take Benadryl to calm the reaction.
- Clean the wound.
- Let the wound breathe. If it is a spider bite, covering it will keep it moist and help the infection to spread through your body.
- See a skin doctor or if you see your regular doctor or go to the ER, insist on a skin culture.