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The Differences Between Black Widows And Brown Recluses

The Differences Between Black Widows And Brown Recluses

Out of all the spider species that enter the home, two stand out – the black widow and the brown recluse. Not only are these spiders extremely venomous, they are also quite common in home infestation. In this article we’re going to go over the differences between these two species.

Differences in appearance

Black widows and brown recluses are very easy to distinguish visually. Black widows have the iconic black, shiny coloration with a red hourglass on the abdomen. However, only females have this appearance. Male and spiderling black widows do not, and they are often confused for other species. Luckily, it is only the female that has the very potent venom, so misidentifying males and spiderlings is only an issue insofar as a black widow infestation does not go unnoticed. Brown recluses also have a distinctive appearance. They are brown in coloration, as the name suggests, but they also have a “violin” shaped marking on their abdomen.

Differences in venom

While both spiders have a very powerful venom, the venoms themselves are very different. The black widow venom will induce nausea, vomiting, fever, sweating, chills and muscle cramps among other symptoms. It can also cause more severe symptoms such as unresponsiveness, seizures and shortness of breath. The black widow bite will rarely lead to death in the US thanks to the robust medical infrastructure

Brown recluse venom on the other hand causes necrosis – it causes flesh to rot. The bite results in intense pain that can last for several hours, and the bite location develops into a blister and afterwards into an open wound. The wound can be disfiguring.

The bites of both species require medical attention.

Differences in habitat

Both species like to hide in dark corners, but their webs will be quite different. Black widow spiders will build tangled webs on the upper parts of a building, and the spiders will hang upside down somewhere in the vicinity. Brown recluse webs are close to the ground, and they will use them as shelter.

The control process

The control process is similar for the two species. First the webs and the spiders are removed, and then residual insecticides are applied to protect areas of the home and deny the spiders entry into the home in the future.

If you have any questions about these two species, or if you suspect that you have a black widow or a brown recluse infestation, contact us today.