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Is the Bite of a Brown Recluse Spider Deadly?

If you have arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, it doesn’t matter what type of spider you see. You’re going to treat it like it’s deadly. Whether that means running for your life or calling your local pest control expert, that’s up to you.

However, one spider has risen up the ranks in recent years as one of the most feared eight-legged insects. If you’ve heard or met anyone who has experienced a bite from a brown recluse spider, you know why they’ve become feared by many.

While the brown recluse spider sounds intimidating, is it lethal? Let’s see!

What Is a Brown Recluse Spider?

Brown recluse spiders are one of three spiders in North America with medically significant venom. In terms of toxicity, it’s up there with the Chilean recluse and the black widow. These spiders typically are 0.24 inches to 0.79 inches in size but can grow larger.

They’re brown or blackish-gray and can have an abdominal area that differs in color. They’re typically easily identified by a black line that runs along their dorsal sides and points toward the rear of their bodies.

These spiders are common in the Midwestern states of Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. However, they can also be as far south as Texas and Georgia. They thrive in woodpiles, sheds, closets, garages, cellars, and other cool and dark places.

They love to hide in cardboard and look for clothing, shoes, and other safe places to call home.

Is the Brown Recluse Spider Lethal?

While brown recluse spider bites rarely result in death, you should take them seriously. When left untreated, these bites can cause serious skin damage, nausea, and muscle pain.

If you seek medical attention as soon as possible, most bites resolve themselves within days to weeks. However, the most extreme or severe bites can take months to heal fully.

What to Do if Bitten by a Brown Recluse?

If you experience a bite from what you suspect is a brown recluse, you should clean the area immediately with soap and water. You should then place a damp cloth with cold water and an ice pack on the area to help reduce any swelling. If you can, elevate the bite area as much as possible.

You should monitor the person who experienced the bite for any signs of a serious reaction over the next 24 to 48 hours. Keep an eye on the bite site to ensure the condition isn’t worsening. If the victim begins to experience nausea or any unusual symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. When in doubt, head to your local urgent care or emergency room if necessary.

How Long After Brown Recluse Bite to Symptoms Appear?

The symptoms of a brown recluse bite likely won’t appear instantly. It can take upwards of two to eight hours after the spider has bitten you before you notice any potential issues.

A burning sensation may occur and increase in intensity as the skin and inflamed area react to the venom. Two small fang marks will likely mark the site of the bite.

Is a Black Widow or Brown Recluse Worse?

While black widow and brown recluse spiders are both dangerous, the black widow’s bite is worse. This is because its venom can affect an individual’s neurological system.

If you were to compare a black widow’s spider drop for drop against a rattlesnake, the Black Widow’s venom is 15 times more deadly. However, a minimal amount of venom gets injected during a Black Widow bite. Deaths are very rare.

What Spider Has Caused the Most Deaths?

The Guinness World Records identifies the Sydney funnel-web spider as the most dangerous spider to humans worldwide.

Approximately 0.2 mg/kg is considered a lethal dose of venom from these spiders for humans. Bites from males are four to six times more potent than female spiders. Luckily, anti-venom for these bites was developed in 1981, and bites from this type of spider rarely end in death.

What Kills Brown Recluse Instantly?

Aside from a size 10 tennis shoe, white vinegar is an excellent source for helping to get rid of brown recluse spiders instantly. If you frequently see them in your home, it might be worth keeping a bottle of spray readily available. However, the battle doesn’t end there. Where there’s one, there’s likely more. 

You should then put every effort into making your home the least hospitable place possible for spiders. Get rid of as much cardboard as you can, and consider signing up for a routine visit from a professional pest control service.

You want to do everything to have a spider-free home as quickly as possible. These services might cost you a few bucks, but being able to sleep knowing you have a solid defense against these pests is worth every penny.

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