14 March 2012

The Dreaded Brown Recluse Spider

spiders, pest control, walla walla, brown recluse, hobo spider, extermination


I saw this article this morning and wanted to share it. I get questions from folks around here all the time about the dreaded brown recluse spider. They can be somewhat of a problem, except for one major detail: in our part of the country, except for very rare cases probably explained by modern motor and/or air shipping, we don't have them. The key piece of information, from the article, entitled, Deadly Brown Recluse Spider Coming to a Town Near You?:


"The spider's habitat is limited to the Southeast and Midwest, stretching from Kansas east to the Appalachian states."

Why then the persistent myth that we have these spiders living around us? It's generally thought that the assumption is due to the similarities between the wound a brown recluse bite can produce (but not always) and other conditions. An infection of the skin by MRSA bacteria, for example, can produce lesions that appear similar, sometimes leading physicians to reach a hasty conclusion about what they're looking at and diagnose it as a recluse bite. There are also a few species of spiders that exist locally that have a similar appearance to the brown recluse. The media frequently doesn't help the situation either, hence this excellent quote by Rick Vetter, an entomologist who works at the University of California, Riverside:


"These are distorted reports ... hyperbolic media crap."

That isn't to say that brown recluse spiders never injure people, but the truth is that the extreme injuries are relatively rare. Around here, it's all but impossible.

That still leaves us with our local varieties, most of which are not dangerous. That does not mean that they're enjoyable, however. Even a physically harmless spider in your house is harmful if it causes you distress. It's your house, after all, and you get to say what is acceptable and what is not. I can help you get the spiders you do have out of your home (which at this time of the year you may be seeing more of), but hopefully you'll feel a bit more at ease knowing that among the spiders you have seen lately, the brown recluse is not one of them.

Call me at 509-540-7946 if you have more spiders than you want, inside or outside, and I'll help you get them sorted out.

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