Jul 182011


There are only two main types of venomous spiders found in Richardson, Texas: the Brown Recluse Spider and the Black Widow Spider.

These spiders are nocturnal and are therefore often found in or under objects where their presence is not immediately obvious. To maintain safety, it is recommended that people wear gloves when doing activities in which they cannot see where their hands are being placed such as reaching into storage boxes or lifting boards or firewood. Also, all clothing that hasn’t been used for a considerable time should be checked before wearing as a spider may have taken up residence within it.

Different Species Of Black Widow

Four species of this spider are commonly found in the Richardson, Texas area

Southern Black Widow: Most common of the native widow spiders in the Richardson, Texas area. It is the classic spider in that it is found in all of the usual spider habitats. Its appearance is the typical glossy jet black all over, including body and legs. The only red marks are the bright red hourglass mark on the underside of the abdomen, and a red spot just behind and above the spinnerets.

Western Black Widow: Found more frequently than the Southern Widow in the Western part of the state, this type is generally found in southwestern Texas through the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the adjoining parts of Mexico. It’s appearance usually has the hourglass marking connected or complete with the anterior triangle larger and wider than the posterior triangle. Some adults have been found to keep their brilliant immature colors. However, further west, the coloration of the species appears to grade back to black.

Brown Widow

Brown Widow: Can vary in color from almost black to almost white. However, typically, it is a light to medium brown, with an orange hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen rather than the red found on its cousins. Their leg segments are banded, with one half of each segment lighter in color than the other half. Its back often has a row of white spots though they will rarely be seen in orange or light blue, and there are a few white stripes on each side. The darker Brown Widows lack these markings and are difficult to distinguish from black widows. They can sometimes be identified by their egg sac if it is present. Their egg sacs resemble a sandspur and are tan, spherical, and have many small tufts of silk sticking out from them, while the others make white, smooth egg sacs tending to be pear-shaped.

The Brown Widow tends to be extremely timid and has rarely been reported to bite. Its webs may occur anywhere that there is sufficient space to make one. It may be extremely abundant in houses and other man-made structures (e.g., barns, fences, guard rails, bridges). They reproduce frequently and disperses rapidly, which makes it nearly impossible to control.

Facts About Their Bites

Generally, Widow Spiders are very timid and only bite in self-defense such as when they accidentally come in contact with humans. They will usually attempt to flee even when their web is disturbed before attacking. Generally bites will occur when they become trapped against the skin. Bite symptoms of the widows are systemic, spreading through the body via the lymphatic system. They usually start about 1-3 hours after the bite has occurred. The most common symptoms of this spider bite are intense pain, rigid abdominal muscles, muscle cramping, nausea, vomiting, general malaise (not feeling well), local sweating and hypertension (high blood pressure). If left untreated, bite symptoms will generally last 3-5 days. If you or someone you know has been bitten by what you believe to be a black widow, seek medical attention immediately. Treatment includes Calcium gluconate and/or antivenin which is administered to relieve or counteract symptoms. These treatments are generally not found at your regular doctor’s office, so you will more than likely need to go to the nearest emergency department.

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