What bite should be your worst nightmare, the brown recluse spider bite or black widow spider bite? There are tons of incorrect facts about this question, so a quick scan on the internet might not even give you what you need.
A lot of spider bites are harmless unless, of course, you have an allergy to them. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for either the brown recluse bite or the black widow bite. You can find both spiders in states with warmer climates and undisturbed areas – closets, attics, and basements. Let’s look at the significant differences between brown recluse spider bites and black widow spider bites.
Brown Recluse Spider vs. Black Widow Spider
The name brown recluse spider was coined from the fact that this spider always resides in reclusive environments. Although other varieties of spiders look and behave like the brown recluse spider – desert recluse and wolf spider, they are different. Brown recluse spiders have six eyes, and it’s yellow. So for a brown recluse spider to attack an individual, it must have first felt threatened. The name black widow spider was coined from the scenario of the female spider eliminating the male spider right after mating. The southern and northern black widow spiders are the two most common types of black widow spiders.
The body of the southern black widow spider – abdomen and cephalothorax – has a shiny look with distinctive red markings. The body of the northern black widow spider is known by the red spots that trace down to the middle of the abdomen, plus the appearance of two crosswise bars on the opposite surface of the abdomen. In general, the black widow spider is about half-inch long. Hence, it’s considered medium-sized.
Habits of the Brown Recluse Spider vs. Black Widow Spider
The brown recluse spider only attacks when they feel threatened in their haven. They love their habitats warm, dry and dark. This is why most recluse spider bites happen when its summertime. Brown recluse spiders attack during the night and rest when it’s daytime – in its small web. Black widow spiders are also active at night and love to stay in dark areas too. They love lonely places, and you would rarely find them in people’s houses. However, they can be found in sheds or garages.
Also, male black widow spiders don’t bite humans, only female black widow spiders. And they attack only when they are disturbed.
The Appearance of Brown Recluse Spider Bite vs. Black Widow Spider Bite
The bite of a brown recluse spider is slightly reddish, and with a closer look, you might notice fang-like marks. It takes less than an hour for the swelling to show, but it usually takes few weeks for the scar to fade away. The scar can sometimes change from red to a faint blue color. In a more severe case, a brown recluse spider bite can lead to the death of your skin (necrosis) and also subcutaneous fat.
As for the black widow spider bite, it leaves a double fang-like mark on the skin. The severity of this bite depends totally on the immune system and age of the individual. That being said, it has a more severe effect on infants and elderly people. A few minutes after the spider’s bite, the affected area would become swollen, and it lasts for a minimum of eight days.
Dangers of Brown Recluse Spider Bite vs. Black Widow Spider Bite
A brown recluse spider bite is very toxic and harmful to the body’s cells. It emits venom that is more toxic and deadly than the venom from a rattlesnake. But due to the minimal production of the poison, it causes less damage than the venom of a rattlesnake. Brown recluse spider bite symptoms include intense itching, fever, muscle ache, and severe pain.
Black widow spider bites attack the nervous system, making it life-threatening. It emits potent neurotoxin protein into the body, and this causes the neurons to malfunction. The symptoms of a black widow spider bite include dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and chest pain.
First-Aid Care for Brown Recluse Spider Bite and Black Widow Spider Bite
There aren’t lots of first aid treatments available for a brown recluse spider bite. However, when bitten by one, the victim should use disinfectant soap and clean water to wash the surface of the affected area. Then after doing this, it’s important to seek medical help. You can proceed to administer home care only after a physician has treated you. A cold compress can help to decrease the swelling and ease the pain a little.
During the recovery phase, avoid doing strenuous activities that would cause the venom to spread rapidly through the body because this can be fatal to your health. For black widow spider bites, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers to help with the pain. Alternatively, a cold or warm compress would help as well to reduce the pain.
The Right Time to Seek Medical Help
Once you realize that you have been bitten by either the brown recluse spider or black widow spider, you must seek immediate medical help at a hospital. If possible, you can take the spider with you, so your doctor can give a proper diagnosis. Narcotic pain relievers may be administered to ease the pain and antivenin to counter the venom of the black widow spider.
You must be careful of both brown recluse and black widow spider bites, as they can both be deadly in some cases. So, you should seek medical help if you get bitten by any of the spiders.
However, prevention, they say, is always better than cure. So, while it may be possible to effectively treat the bites of the brown recluse spider and black widow spider, it is best to prevent it from happening.
To do this, you have to make sure that your home is free from these spiders, as that would prevent you and your loved ones from getting bitten. At intervals, you can call professional exterminators to run a quick check on your home and inspect your home for any of these harmful spiders. That way, you can be sure that your home is safe and secured. To get rid of spiders, professional pest control is the way to go.
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