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Spiders

   
 

Venomous spiders inject offensive poisons into their victims. These are meant to disable or kill a victim so it can be eaten, and to soften or predigest the victim. Most spider bites occur at night when a spider passes over a sleeping victim. When discovered hours later, it is usually as a sore red bump. Most spiders are shy and harmless to humans, and will not attempt to bite unless trapped or held. Spiders can be beneficial to humans as they feed on harmful insects (flies, crickets, etc.) and mites. Wholesale destruction of spiders should be avoided, if possible. Some southern states not only tolerate spiders but encourage them for their nuisance insect control.


 All spiders produce venom that is poisonous to their normal prey of insects, mites and other small arthropods. Venom is injected through the hollow fangs to immobilize the prey. Since spiders can only ingest liquids, digestive fluids are either injected or regurgitated into the prey. Spiders all have eight legs, and most of them have eight eyes (though some have only six and several spiders have fewer or none)

 

A female spider can produce as many as 3,000 eggs in a series of several egg sacs which are either left in its web or carried on the mother's back. Eggs may hatch a few weeks later or wait until the following spring, and spiders reach adulthood in one year. Spiders usually molt (shed their skin) four to twelve times before reaching maturity. Most spiders can live one or two years.

Seek medical attention if a bite is suspected from a Black Widow or Brown Recluse Spider. Other spiders that can deliver painful bites include wolf and jumping spiders, wandering and garden spiders and tarantulas.
   The female Black Widow Spider is only about 5/8 inch long, and is extremely shy. She often eats the smaller male (hence her name) after mating and can store sperm, producing more egg sacs without mating again. Black Widows live in wood piles, stone walls, outside toilets and similar hiding places.

The Brown Recluse, also known as the Violin or Fiddle back Spider because of the distinctive violin-shaped marking on its back, can also deliver a painless bite or a bite that merely itches and burns at first. Later the surrounding tissue turns red, or black and blue, and begins to disintegrate from the venom which is designed to digest the victim's flesh. A crusted wound forms and, after the crust falls off, continues to deepen, forming a crater that may take months to heal. Brown Recluse bites are often not diagnosed until considerable tissue damage has taken place, so it's important to inform the doctor if you suspect a bite.
   

Prevention

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