Why are spiders so scary? Is it their long, creepy legs? Or the fear of being bitten? Each arachnophobic individual probably has their own reason for their fear. But sometimes learning more about them will lessen the fear. Maybe. It’s worth a shot, so here goes:
As far as notoriety goes, the black widow spider is possibly the most widely known of all arachnids, at least among the venomous kind. There are more kinds of widow spiders, but the main ones found in Florida are the black and brown widows.
Although, all widow spiders are poisonous, they are not aggressive. They don’t seek out humans to bite, usually a person leans on one or puts his hand down on a web or in a dark corner. They will bite if they feel threatened, but they don’t attack.
The brown widow is the lesser known spider, but it is also more prolific. It seems that they like to inhabit cars, trucks and recreational vehicles, which would explain why they seem to be spreading at an alarming rate. The brown widow spider was first found in Florida in 1935. But since the year 2000, this spider has quickly spread throughout Florida and in most of the southern states. Apparently, they like to travel.
The two spiders differ in appearance and also in their toxicity. The brown widow’s venom is twice as toxic, but when they bite, they dispense less of it. They are also not likely to defend their web, being very timid, according to Dr. G.B. Edwards, an arachnologist with the Florida State Collection of Arthropods in Gainesville. http://sarasota.ifas.ufl.edu/IPM/BrownWidow.htm. Statistically, deaths from a widow bite account for less than one percent of people bitten, which is apparently the same odds as being struck by lightening.
While it is always good to be aware of the areas we might come in contact with a spider, such as a dark corner or under rocks and things, there is no reason to be scared of them. Just like most things that are much smaller than we are, they are more scared of us than we are of them. Unless, of course, you are arachnophobic, then by all means, run…..or better yet, call your pest control expert and let them deal with the problem.