Delivering pest control in Murrieta means we receive many questions about black widow spiders, especially what to do if you accidentally get bitten by one.
Unfortunately, an estimated 2,500 black widow bites are reported to the American Poison Control Center every year. Black widows do not bite without being provoked. Biting is usually a defense mechanism when they feel threatened.
There are different steps to follow depending on who had the unfortunate encounter with a black widow spider. First, we'll go over what a black widow bite looks like, the results of a bite, and what to do as a result.
Special note: If you are reading this because you think a black widow has bitten you or a loved one and they are having severe reactions, please seek medical attention immediately. If a black widow has bitten a child or an elderly loved one, please immediately take them to the hospital.
Pest Control in Murrieta: What Do Black Widows Look Like?
First, to determine that it was a black widow that bit you or a loved one, it's essential to know what they look like.
Black, shiny color
Females have the signature red hourglass marking under the abdomen
Males may also have the red hourglass marking, while some for some it may be yellow or white
Low, curved bristles on hind legs (used for covering meals in silk)
Females measure 0.5 inches in length. Males are about half the size of females.
While both male and female black widows pack venomous bites, scientists say a bite from a female black widow is more potent than a bite from a male. Usually, male black widows do not bite humans, or if they do, they tend not to be as strong as females, so not as much venom will release.
Signs of a Black Widow Spider Bite
While black widows are known to pack a powerful bite, if you are bitten by one, you are most likely to experience a sharp pain followed by swelling and redness at the site of the bite. You'll probably also notice two tiny fang marks.
However, a black widow bite can also bring on more severe symptoms anywhere from 30-60 minutes after the bite happens:
Muscle cramps and spasms that start at the area of the bite and spread, increasing in severity as more time passes
Chills and fever
Nausea and vomiting
Rash and itching
Severe pain in the stomach, chest, or back
Severe high blood pressure
These more severe symptoms can happen because the venom from the black spider attacks the nervous system. For some, there may just be pain and swelling; for others, the reaction can be more serious.
If you experience more severe reactions to a black widow spider bite, please go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
Treating a Black Widow Spider Bite
For most healthy adults, you can treat a black widow spider bite at home with a follow-up appointment with your doctor. The key is to treat symptoms and to prevent any infection from growing.
Gently wash the affected bite area with soap and water.
After washing, place a cold washcloth or ice pack to help with swelling.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol, to help control the pain, and it won't raise your blood pressure.
For a bite on the arm or leg, keep that body part elevated to help with swelling.
Use antibiotic cream to help with healing and to prevent itching
Schedule an appointment with your doctor so they can recommend any further treatment if needed
If you can try to capture the spider that bit you or your loved one in a jar so you can also show it to your doctor for an official confirmation, it is a black widow spider.
Your doctor may provide medicine for high blood pressure or black widow antivenin, depending on the severity. Scientists create antivenin through a process involving horses. First, a small dose of black widow venom is injected into a horse, and as a result, the horse produces antibodies that fight against the venom. Doctors then extract that blood and pull out the antibodies to be used on humans.
If a Black Widow Bites a Child
It's an entirely different situation if a black widow spider bites a child. A black widow is small, so when it bites an adult, the amount of venom isn't considered deadly. But since a child is smaller, the amount of venom can be fatal.
Try to stay as calm as possible and let the child know they will be fine.
Gently wash the affected area with soap and water.
Place a cold washcloth or icepack on the area, along with antibiotic lotion.
Take your child to the emergency room to receive antivenin treatment.
The size and age of your child will determine the reaction they will have to the venom. Also, if you’re able, capture the suspected spider so you can also show it to the healthcare professionals. If it seems like your child is doing OK, you can also call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for instructions.
Pest Control in Murrieta: How to Prevent Black Widow Spider Bites
Black widows in Murrieta love nesting in dark areas. So outside, you can find black widows in between rocks, woodpiles, inside garages and barns, and near foundations. Females, in particular, rarely leave their web as they wait for unsuspecting prey.
If black widows make it into your home, they particularly love closets, attics, crawl spaces, and dark spots under furniture. Some of the best preventive measures you can follow to keep black widows out of your home include:
Block all possible entries: Seal up any possible way a spider could enter your home, from cracked foundation to loose doorframes.
Declutter: Black widows look for dark areas to nest, so keep your home free of boxes and excess clutter.
General pest control: Black widows set up home where they think they can find food. If you have insects in your home, spiders are not far behind.
Routine pest control sprayings: Hiring a certified tech, like The Local Bug Guy, to routinely spray around your home for black widows is one of the best prevention methods for keeping you and your family safe.
Protect Your Family in Murrieta From Black Widow Bites
Following a few simple tips and hiring an expert pest control company like The Local Bug Guy can help you keep you and your family safe from black widow bites.
If you would like a free estimate for routine pest control maintenance, please call us. We'd be happy to discuss our easy pricing options so you and your family can rest easy.