Are The Spiders In My Norfolk Home Dangerous?

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Here in Norfolk, we’re no strangers to the occasional spider spinning a web in our living room corner or stalking the space underneath the fridge. But have you ever wondered if any of these spiders could hurt you? Most of the time, the answer is no. However, we do have a couple of spiders here in Virginia that are what we call “medically significant,” meaning they possess venom that can injure or sicken most people and even put some people (like small children and individuals with allergies) in danger of death. Below, we’ll talk about a couple of them.

Dangerous Spiders

All spiders have fangs and venom, but only two spiders in Virginia have strong enough bites to do serious damage: the brown recluse and the black widow. Fortunately, it’s not common to find either of these spiders in your home. Even so, you need to know what to look for.

Brown Recluse

The brown recluse isn’t native to Virginia, but in recent years, isolated populations have started popping up throughout the state. The brown recluse is a pretty unremarkable-looking spider: brown or yellowish with long legs, an oval-shaped abdomen, and a fiddle-shaped marking on the cephalothorax. Don’t let the marking fool you – several other spider species have it. What really distinguishes brown recluses is their six eyes (most spiders have eight).

Brown recluse spider bites aren’t usually very painful. Sometimes you may not even know you were bitten until after the fact. Many people also don’t have a serious reaction to the bites. However, because the brown recluse’s venom is hemotoxic, it can cause necrosis, gangrene, and tissue loss in some individuals.

Black Widow

The infamous black widow is more common in Virginia than the brown recluse. Also unlike the recluse, the black widow has a pretty distinct look. These medium-sized spiders have long, spindly legs, round abdomens, and shiny, black exoskeletons. The females also have a bright red hourglass marking on their underbellies. 
The venom of the black widow is neurotoxic, so it can cause a range of symptoms that affect the nervous system, as well as other systems in your body. Symptoms include chills, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, nausea, headache, belly pain, and confusion or stupor. If you’re bitten by a black widow, seek help right away. Fortunately, most healthy adults don’t have to worry about actually dying from a black widow bite, but medical attention can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

Prevention Tips

If you want to keep black widows and brown recluses (as well as other spiders) out of your home, the most important thing to do is get rid of other infestations that attract them. Spiders have no reason to enter your home unless they’re following their natural prey, like roaches, flies, silverfish, etc. To keep out prey and spider infestations:

  • Seal damage such as holes and cracks around your home
  • Tightly cover all food and trash to eliminate attractive smells 
  • Vacuum and clear clutter to reduce hiding spots 
  • Clear cobwebs wherever you find them

If even these prevention methods don’t seem to be keeping the spiders out of your Norfolk home, it’s time to call in the experts. Here at PESTOUT, we’re locally owned and operated, and our unique integrative pest control approach combines the most sophisticated products on the market with natural extermination methods for a safe, effective solution to your pest problems. Our services include inspection, termination, and regularly scheduled maintenance visits to ensure your problem doesn’t come back. So give us a call here at PESTOUT at (757) 856-6557 or visit our contact page to schedule service today!