MEMPHIS, TN--Spider populations are booming in the hot weather. Pest control companies have seen an increase in calls about brown recluse spiders in the Mid-South. Experts say the hot weather drives the brown recluse mating cycle. Several neighborhoods in Shelby County are hot spots for this type of venomous spider, such as Kimbrough Woods and Dexter Woods. Homes with wood shingles and lots of exterior shrubbery can give brown recluse spiders easy access into an attic space, their favorite living place.
Entomologist James Weir, Weir Pest Control, says, “Once brown recluse get into a structure, you cannot get rid of them completely. It isn’t possible.”
Weir says residents can keep their population from getting out of control by having their home sprayed throughout the year. Just like the name suggests, brown recluse spiders are reclusive and do not seek out humans to bite them. Experts think people may be bitten by this type of spider often since it is so common in the Mid-South. People most commonly associate the brown recluse with the scary and life-threatening reactions to the venom. However, serious reactions to the venom typically only happen if a person is allergic to the venom.
“You have to have two or three things go wrong at the same time,” says Weir.
If a person is allergic to a bee sting, they are allergic to the protein-based venom of a brown recluse spider. If a brown recluse has recently eaten before biting a human, it will not contain a full sack of venom to deliver to its victim. Thirdly, in order for all of the venom in the sack to be administered, the spider must have a secure grip. If a good grip is not established, the reaction to the bite will be less.
The brown recluse poses the most danger to children because their tissue is softer and absorbs the venom more efficiently. A brown recluse spider normally does not spin a web and it has the classic violin symbol on its back.