Spiders in general, including the black widow and brown recluse, bite only in defense, when being trapped between your skin and another object.
To prevent spider bites:
- Learn what dangerous spiders look like and their preferred habitat.
- Wear a long-sleeve shirt, hat, long pants tucked into socks, gloves and boots when handling stored boxes or firewood, and when cleaning out sheds, garages, basements, attics and crawl spaces.
- Inspect and shake out gardening gloves, boots and clothing that have been unused for a while.
- Use insect repellents, such as DEET or Picaridin, on clothing and footwear.
- Keep insects and spiders out of the house by installing tightfitting screens on windows and doors, sealing cracks where spiders can come in and using safe indoor insecticides.
- Remove piles of rocks or lumber from the area around your house and avoid storing firewood against the house.
- Make sure beds aren't pushed against the wall and that only the legs of the bed touch the floor. Don't store items under the bed and don't let bedding drag on the floor.
- Vacuum spiders and spiderwebs and dispose of them in a sealed bag outside to prevent re-entry into the house.
Aug. 23, 2017
- Vetter RS, et al. Approach to the patient with a suspected spider bite: An overview. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 8, 2016.
- Habif TP. Infestations and bites. In: Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 6th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 8, 2016.
- Spider bites. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/SearchResults?query=spider+bites. Accessed March 8, 2016.
- Venomous spiders. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/spiders. Accessed March 8, 2016.
- Vetter RS, et al. Management of widow spider bites. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 8, 2016.
- Vetter RS, et al. Bites of recluse spiders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 8, 2016.
- Brown recluse spider. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/brown_recluse_spider.pdf. Accessed March 8, 2016.
- Diaz JH, et al. Common spider bites. American Family Physician. 2007;75:869.
- Claypool DW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 24, 2014.
- Juckett G. Arthropod bites. American Family Physician. 2013;88:841.
- Black widow spider. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. http:www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/black_widow_spider.pdf. Accessed March 23, 2016.