Working in the garden or landscaping around the home is a great way to relieve stress and pressure for many people, that is until one experiences a spider bite. Did you know that there are over 35,000 species of spiders in the world?  Of those spiders only about 200 species are of medical concern to humans. In Indiana there are only two species of spider that fit that category.  To be fair, there are a few spiders that can bite and cause considerable pain in Indiana, but only two are venomous: the recluse spider and the widow spider.

The first venomous spider on our list is the Brown Recluse. This spider has a distinguishing violin marking on its cephalothorax or back. The Brown Recluse is a hunting spider that does not wait around for prey to come to it but instead actively hunts, mainly at night. Most spiders have 8 eyes, but the brown recluse has only 6 eyes. It is a relatively small spider with its body only being around 3/8 of an inch including legs might be the size of a quarter. The recluse possesses necrotic venom that kills off skin and flesh in the localized area where the bite takes place. Without medical attention, infection is common, and the area of necrosis increases in size if not treated. It is painful and, in some cases, requires surgery to correct damage to the flesh. The Brown Recluse prefers living indoors with us but may also be outside in places such as wood piles or heavy foliage.

The second venomous spider is the Black Widow. The Black Widow spider is shiny black in color. The Black Widow is a small spider whose marking is the shape of an hourglass appearing on the underside of the abdomen of the spider. In Indiana, the hourglass is red. Its venom is a neurotoxin that damages, destroys or impairs the function of the central nervous system. Most of the time people do not need treatment because it is such a small amount of venom. Symptoms may include sweat, headaches, and vomiting.

Interestingly, there has only been one death attributed to our venomous spiders in Indiana since 1983, but that does not mean that the bites are not painful and of medical importance. To decrease the chance of being bitten by one of these spiders, it is important to eliminate clutter in the home and overgrown foliage or weeds around the home. Be proactive in eliminating harborages both inside and out that provide a home for these venomous spiders. The second most effective plan would be to have an inside and an outside perimeter spray.