When summer arrives and the weather warms up, all the creepy crawlies that people would rather not have anywhere near them come out of their hiding spots to bask in the glorious desert sun. As you might have guessed, the critters people most fear, those terrifying desert spiders, are the ones that come out in droves to enjoy the nice weather. Arizona is known for it’s rather frightening arachnids, some that are definitely deserving of your caution and respect, and others that look quite dangerous, but are really quite harmless. So, what spiders should you be wary of that you are likely to spot in your yard or home this summer?
The first of the two spiders that people need to be wary of at this time year is the infamous black widow, known for its black body with the red hourglass shape on its abdomen. At least they are easily recognized, if not exactly a creature you want to spot around your home. Both male and female black widow spiders during all the stages of their life cycle, even the eggs, so any that you find need to be very carefully removed. Their venom is a nerve toxin, so it acts on the nervous system. The initial bite might not even be felt, but can cause you to feel muscle pain, difficulty breathing, among other symptoms as the venom spreads. Black widow webs do not look like the neat, circular webs of other spider species, but rather messy-looking, with strands branching out in all different directions. Thankfully, black widow spiders are not usually found inside homes, and tend to appear in outbuildings such as sheds or garages. You should always shake out any shoes or clothing before putting them just to be safe.
The other spider you should be on the watch for is the Arizona brown spider, often mistaken for brown recluse spiders. They both look and have similarly dangerous venom, however, and so are often mistaken for each other and given the same treatment for bites. Arizona brown spiders appear two-toned, with their front being a tan color and the rear grey. They also have a dark brown mark on the front of their body that looks rather like a violin. They tend to stay away from the indoors of people’s homes, nesting in protected outside areas such as under pieces of wood or dead cactus. When they are found in more urban areas, it is usually because they are attached to these pieces of wood or dead cacti brought inside as firewood or for landscaping purposes. The Arizona brown spider is generally very timid and will only bite when they feel they are trapped or being attacked. The initial bite is often painless, with a blister forming over the area as time progresses. This blister can become an open ulcer, and lead to symptoms such as fever and nausea.
Have you ever been bitten by a black widow or Arizona brown spider? What were your symptoms?