A couple of hours after working in her flower bed at her home near Dodson, Lori Boyett noticed a small red spot on her finger, an area that was somewhat painful to touch.
“I went to bed and woke up two hours later with lots of pain, and some swelling. I took some Ibuprofen, went back to bed and woke up at three in the morning with extreme pain and a huge raised blister that appeared black,” Boyett explained.
The following day, she noticed that the pain and swelling had become worse with red streaks beginning to spread up her arm.
Lori Boyett had experienced the bite of a brown recluse spider, later confirmed by her doctor when she went for treatment. She didn’t see the spider nor did she feel the bite.
I had a similar experience several years ago when I was bitten on the forearm by what my doctor assumed was a brown recluse spider. After treatment, the painful site returned to normal and today, there is a barely detectible scar on my arm.
My experience and that of Boyett prompted me to do some research on these nasty creatures and find out what I could about their modus operandi. While neither Boyett nor I suffered serious consequences from being bitten, others have not been so fortunate.
“While the majority of brown recluse spider bites do not result in any symptoms, cutaneous symptoms (affecting the skin) occur more frequently than systemic symptoms,” according to Wikipedia.
“In such instances, the bite forms an ulcer that destroys soft tissue and may take months to heal, leaving deep scars.”
I’ve seen photos of some of these more serious bites that can literally turn your stomach with the damage an untreated bite can cause.
Where do these nasty rascals hang out and what is the best way to avoid coming in contact with a brown recluse spider?
“They frequently build their webs in woodpiles and sheds, closets, garages, cellars and other places that are dry and generally undisturbed,” according to the site I visited.
When dwelling in human residences, they seem to favor cardboard, says Wikipedia, possibly because it mimics the rotting tree bark when they inhabit naturally.
Here’s one site that invites these spiders, one I have to be careful about. Sometime during hunting season, rather than hang each article of clothing, I’ll place them on the floor in the bottom of my closet. That, I’m learning, is a no-no; brown recluse spiders love to hang out in stacked or piled clothes as well as inside dressers, in bed sheets of infrequently used beds and inside work gloves.
If I persist on leaving my hunting clothes on the closet floor, I hope I’ll have enough gumption to give them a good close exam and shake before putting them on.
How do you know a brown recluse when you see one? They’re relatively small – a photo I observed showed a penny next to a brown recluse and the spider was just a tad larger. The most telling mark is to examine one closely if you dare and note the outline of a fiddle on the back.
Brown recluse spiders are shy creatures and scurry away when disturbed. However, as Boyett and I can attest, make one feel threatened and that sucker can and often will bite.
OK, gotta run and hang up my hunting clothes. Just in case.
Contact Glynn at firstname.lastname@example.org