Spider sightings spike in the Texas Panhandle
AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) —
With heavier rainfall comes higher than usual spider sightings.
"Most of the spiders you see are harmless,” said Amarillo Zoo Educator Haley Wilde. “They're good for pest control. They keep insect numbers down. Pretty often if you see a spider it's not going to be one of the more dangerous spiders that we usually think of."
"We get about 300 calls a year for Brown Recluse spider bites," said Dr. Thomas Martin, medical director of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center. “Maybe 150 to 200 black widow spider bites a year, in the State of Texas."
Experts said wolf and grass spiders are common and harmless.
However, Black Widows and Brown Recluse spiders can cause some serious damage.
"The Black Widow can cause severe chest and abdominal pain and that can be really problematic in older people,” said Dr. Martin. “It can cause older people to have a heart attack."
If you do get bit by a spider, Wilde suggested trapping it to bring to the doctor.
"Capture the spider if you can," Wilde said. "That's very important because if it does happen to be a Black Widow or Brown Recluse they're going to need to know when you go see a doctor."
Other side effects of a Black Widow bite include nausea and tremors.
With a Brown Recluse, experts said you might not even know you've been bitten.
"Black Widows usually leave a pretty identifiable bite,” said Wilde. “You usually see two small openings where that animal would've bitten into your skin. A Brown Recluse is a little more unsure. A lot of times their bite looks like any other invertebrate bite, maybe an insect sting."
Wilde said spiders play an important role in the Panhandle ecosystem, so your first reaction shouldn't be to kill them.
"We would definitely prefer people don't kill them," Wilde said. "Every little creature has its role. If you can relocate a spider, centipede, scorpion, all those things we don't really like, and move it away from your house rather than killing it that's a win-win for everybody."
Dr. Martin said to call the Texas Poison Center if you are unsure about a bite and they will be able to tell you if you need to see a doctor or if it's nothing to worry about it.