Brown Widows, Brown Recluses Give Spiders A Bad Name In Alabama

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Spiders have a special ability to send people shrieking and shoes flying, even when they're harmless.  In the summer heat, though, some of the more toxic, dangerous spiders are seeking refuge in our homes and gardens and giving us a reason to flee.

If spiders have a bad reputation in Alabama, it's probably because of brown widows and the brown recluse.  They're two of the few dangerous spiders in the state.

They lurk in dark corners of your home, in your garden, and garage.  The venom from a
brown widow bite is thought to be less dangerous than that of its black widow counterpart, but could still land you in the hospital.

"It causes an irritation, your heart to race. Makes you feel real sick," said Shawn Levie of ATEC Pest Control. "You have mark on your arm leg, a bite mark; at that point you would call a physician and get medical care."

You can spot a brown widow by the orange or red hourglass formation on its abdomen.
As for the brown recluse, you might not be able to spot one at all, unless you catch it in a trap.

"[A] brown recluse would have a fiddle on its back," said Levie. "Long legs, as it says it's recluse most of the time -- you're not going to see it walking around the house."

In some cases, a brown recluse bite can be potentially deadly.  They start out looking like a bullseye.  The recluse's venom kills the skin around the bite, eventually resulting in an open wound that won't easily heal.

"Right now I'd be wary of the brown recluse," said Levie.

One pest control company says their staff has treated 15 homes for brown recluse spiders in just the past two weeks.

Also, none of these spiders will just jump out and attack.  The bites usually occur when you stick your hand in a box they've inhabited or they get caught in your clothes.