Getting bit by a brown recluse spider really derailed my summer. If you haven’t already, you can read about it in four posts starting here. At 2 months and 7 days, I’m still healing. I still have a wound just shy of an inch wide and and inch and a half long.
I read that most people say the only thing more painful is childbirth. I’ve given birth. I think I’d prefer childbirth. The pain didn’t last as long!
Seriously… Don’t get bit!
I work for a consulting company in the Northeast. The client company is in the Mid-Atlantic area. Several people had never heard of the brown recluse and were shocked by the severity of the bite.
The good news? Brown recluse bites are rare.
They’re called recluses, because they’re just that… Recluses. I’ve lived in Tennessee for 21 years and have never seen a live brown recluse spider. Not even the one that bit me. My husband has lived here for 44 years and has never seen one.
They’re nocturnal and prefer not to be seen. Turning on lights and making noises will usually make them scatter.
Also… The brown recluse is a non-aggressive spider with short fangs. The brown recluse doesn’t even hunt for food. It eats dead bugs and spiders.
The short fangs means it can’t bite you unless it’s squished up against your skin. You can flick it off you and never get bit. (If you know it’s there.)
Don’t make my mistakes!
We live in an old house. It had been unoccupied for several months before we moved in while the landlords made some repairs. There were cellar spiders everywhere when we moved in.
Being terrified of spiders, I called Terminix and had them deal with the problem. (Mistake #1) Within 3 months, we thought we were in spider-free house.
What we didn’t know…
When Terminix sprayed, it was daylight. The brown recluse spiders in the house were hiding in the far reaches of the house and weren’t effected. Any dead cellar spiders in closets or cabinets we weren’t using were an attractive buffet for brown recluse spiders.
The spider was most likely in the jeans I put on that morning. They were hanging over the laundry hamper near the closet, which has a whole to the attic. It was a prime spot for a spider to be exploring. in the pre-dawn hours when I’m usually getting dressed. 🙁
When I first moved here, I was advised to shake out clothes and shoes before putting them on. I was also advised to be careful with boxes that had been stored. For the first 15 years, I did. Then I didn’t. (Mistake #2) You can bet I do now!!!
What you can do better
If you live in the Southeastern United States or are traveling in this region, be mindful. Turn on lights and make noises when entering dark spaces. Shake out clothes and shoes EVERY SINGLE TIME.
If you treat with pesticides for any other insect or arachnid, make sure you clean out everything. Attic, cupboards, crawl spaces. EVERYTHING.
Trust me… You do not want to get bit. My healing process has been mild compared to some of the horror stories I’ve heard. Bites are rare and can be avoided.
So take precautions! Don’t get bit! (Find more information here.)
Continued prayers for healing are appreciated. 🙂