Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Don't Want To Scare Anyone

but its getting warmer and our little violin marked, 6-eyed demon spider from hell, the Missouri Brown Recluse is up and scurrying around dry dark places.

Its called a recluse for a reason: it likes to stay out of sight. It likes empty shoes especially. They build a unique tri-sided web, mostly in closets and behind counters, but will set up house in just about any corner thats usually hidden by a door thats always open.

I have had run-ins with these nasty little creatures and was almost bitten once. I actually picked one up and managed to let go right as his fangs were about to enter my finger. I hope he enjoyed his last ride.

Do not under-estimate the ferocious nature of this arachnid.
He will fight back if confronted.

A Kansas research project says this about our 6-eyed friend:

"Brown Recluse spiders are the Navy seals, the Green Berets...and the Top Guns of the spider world."
Kansas State University - Brown Recluse Research Project

He will also bite as he is being crushed by a foot sliding into a shoe. I know a man who was bitten by a brown recluse, (in Missouri, of all places), in the late 60's. He never fully recovered, and he walked with a limp til the day he passed away some 30 years later. He was bitten on his toe as he was putting his slippers on. He never saw the spider. He thought it was a piece of trash that had fallen into his slipper and caused a slight pin prick as his foot slid in. He almost lost his leg.

Watch this video

Meet the Missouri Brown Recluse
Loxosceles Recluse

I used to drive a moving van when I was younger. I got to meet a lot of interesting and educated people. I moved one of the engineers who helped developed the Space Shuttle program for NASA down to Houston after the first successful shuttle launch. His exact quote to me was; "We now have an official Buck Rogers spaceship"

I also got to meet an entomologist from VaTech. We rolled up in the house ready to go to work, and he has jars and jars of dead spiders that need to be packed. My brother, whose fear of spiders is unmatched in the known universe, refused to handle the glass specimen jars with the dead spiders inside. I made an off-hand comment about not being afraid of any spider except a Black Widow, and the good doctor proceeded to introduce me to Mr Brown Recluse, a spider I had never heard of before then. What the good doctor told me has caused me to develop a habit of shaking everything I pick up before I put it on, and to always check my shoes or boots before slipping my feet into them.

Effects of the bite -

In a short period of time, the venom in a Brown Recluse spider bite has the ability to cause major tissue necrosis. Necrosis is the death of living cells. The venom comes into contact with the living cells and they simply die. The result is a very painful and gruesome "flesh-rotting" open wound.

Fatalities are rare, but are most common with children, the elderly, and those in poor physical condition. The severity of the bite wound can vary greatly with some bites going unnoticed while others (though rare) reach the size of dinner plates. The amount of venom the spider injects can vary and tests indicate the spider is able to control the amount of venom injected.

Brown Recluse spider bites can be difficult to diagnose, even by physicians. Diagnostic tests to detect Brown Recluse venom in tissue are not readily available.

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