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Creighton Entomologist Draws Attention to Region's Dangerous Spiders

Jun 26, 2017

Brown Recluse

Creighton University Professor of Entomology Dr. Theodore Burk wants people to be vigilant about two potentially dangerous spiders they might encounter this summer – the Western Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. 

He says although they love to hide in wood piles and under rocks, many people encounter them in their garages or basements – especially in areas where clutter has been left undisturbed for a period of time.  Burk says bites from both of these spiders can be very dangerous. 

“The brown recluse, it’s a necrotic poison that actually destroys the tissue. And so you get a very ugly, raw, ulcerous area around the bite. It can get very nasty, very infected with staphylococcus or something.”

Burk says children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to spider bites.  He recommends not swatting or trying to capture the spiders because this may trigger a defensive bite reaction, He also says not to scratch a bite and to seek medical attention if it the skin feels hot, gets blisters or becomes discolored.  

For more information, the website is cdc.gov.  Once you’re there, search for spider bite.