Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Battle with Brown Recluse Spiders!

A family in Missouri is at war with brown recluse spiders.  It's scary enough if you find one of these spiders around your home.  The Bockhorn family has found hundreds!  According to a report from Fox 4 News in Kansas City, Jessica Bockhorn and her children fled their home after she was bitten by a brown recluse spider.  Darren Bockhorn is still battling the creatures that have infested his home.  He says the home was empty for a year before his family moved in.  Apparently, these brown recluse spiders took advantage of this and made the home their own.

photo courtesy of the Public Health Image Library; www.cdc.gov

Brown recluse spiders are native to the United States in the Midwestern and Southeastern states.  They are also know as fiddle-back or violin spiders because of the violin shape marking on their back (see above).  The most common places to find a brown recluse is in woodpiles, sheds, closets, garages, and basements.  Inside encounters often occur in shoes, bed sheets of infrequently used beds, clothes left lying on the floor, and inside work gloves.  The spider is not aggressive, and bites typically occur when a brown recluse is trapped against the skin, such as when the person is putting on clothes the spider is inside of.

Of all the spiders that you may encounter in the United States, only a few are considered poisonous.  The Brown Recluse is one of them.  Most bites actually result in a mild lesion that heals on its own.  Bites may even go unnoticed initially because it is painless when it occurs.  Symptoms will typically develop within the two to eight hours following the bite.  Some symptoms include itching, nausea, vomiting, fever, and muscle/joint pain.  In some cases, the bite becomes necrotic, destroying soft tissue.  Although most of these lesions heal without complication, it can sometimes take months to heal and may leave a permanent scar.  In extreme cases, the bite can become systemic, resulting in organ damage and even death.  Those most susceptible to systemic reactions are children, elderly, and debilitatingly ill individuals.

To help prevent being bitten by a brown recluse spider:
  • Perform routine, thorough house cleaning.  
  • Reduce clutter in garages, basements, and attics.  
  • Move all firewood, building material, and debris away from the foundation of the home.
  • Clean behind outside home shutters.
If you have any reason to think you have been bitten by a brown recluse, seek medical attention.  If it is possible to catch the spider, take it with you to the doctor to aid in the diagnosis.

Our thoughts go out to the Bockhorn family and the nightmare they are in. 

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