Almost all spiders found in the United States, including Appling, Wayne, Jeff Davis, Bacon, Tatnall, and Pierce Counties, are harmless to humans and most species do not attempt to bite unless they are provoked. Spiders usually remain hidden and do not seek out humans to bite. Most spiders cannot penetrate human skin with their fangs. Almost all spiders possess venom, but only a couple are considered dangerous to humans, such as the brown recluse and black widow.

The brown recluse spider is recognized by the distinctive dark violin-shaped mark located on its head and thorax. It is a medium size spider, about 1/4″ – 1/2″ long. It is light tan to deep reddish brown. It is usually found in sheds, garages and areas where items are stored. It may hide in arms or legs of stored garments or in beds that have been unoccupied for some time. Persons bitten by the brown recluse usually do not feel the pain for 2 – 3 hours. A blister arises followed by inflammation. Eventually, the tissue dies leaving a sunken sore, and may take 6 – 8 weeks to heal.

The black widow spider is glossy black and has a complete, red hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen. It is usually found outdoors, in protected areas, such as under rocks and boards, and in and around old buildings. With its legs extended, the black widow is about 1 1/2″ long.

The bite of the black widow spider feels like a pin-prick. The initial pain disappears rapidly, leaving local swelling and 2 tiny red marks. Muscular cramps in the shoulder, thigh and back usually begin within 15 minutes to 3 hours. In severe cases, pain spreads to the abdomen. Death seldom occurs if a physician is consulted and treatment is prompt.