There are about 3,000 species of spiders living in North America, however there are two in the Southwest of the United States that can be quite harmful if disturbed–these are the black widow and brown recluse spiders. Both are commonly seen within the home in Southern California. Other house spiders that are found locally, do not pose any threats, such as the jumping spider, the common house spider, the wolf spider, and the daddy long legs.
The black widow is easily identified by the red markings under their abdomen, whether it looks like an hourglass or a simple dot, staying away from these little critters is best. Black widows are comfortable in hot and dry weather and usually like to hide. They are often found in barns, outhouses and sheds; indoors, black widows prefer cluttered areas of garages, basements, and crawl spaces. Unlike the male, the female black widow is known to be aggressive, especially after laying or guarding her eggs. If a black widow bite occurs, symptoms include fever, increased blood pressure, sweating and nausea. Fatalities are unlikely as long as proper medical treatment is sought in a timely manner. To avoid black widow bites, reduce clutter in basements and garages and eliminate hiding spots. When spider webs are visible, use caution before touching the area with hands or feet.
Brown recluse spiders are light to dark brown; they are identified by the dark brown violin marking on their back, and their legs are not hairy. Brown recluse spiders are nocturnal and spin irregular webs, which are used for a home rather than a trap to catch a meal. These spiders often live outdoors, but can also be seen indoors if an undisturbed area is found, such as attics, basements, and garages. Like the black widow, the brown recluse spider bites in defense, however both males and females will bite and inject venom if disturbed. Their bite is usually not felt but results in a stinging sensation followed by intense pain as long as six to eight hours later. A small blister usually develops and can turn into an open ulcer. As with the black widow bite, a brown recluse bite requires immediate medical attention. To avoid brown recluse spiders, do not leave clothing on the floor and shake out all clothing that has been in a hamper before wearing or washing.
Friendlier spiders that do not pose serious threats are simply looking for food. These spiders actually help get rid of other bothersome insects such as flies, other spiders, cockroaches, fleas, bed bugs, and silverfish. However, if a high number of these spiders are seen around your home it is best to contact a professional for help. If you notice black widows or brown recluses, contact a professional at Accurate Termite and Pest Control immediately for proper spider control.