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Widow

crpy

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
2,574
Dave is an acquaintance of mine when I was in aviation. He told me about a black widow (L. hesperus) bite he received a few years ago on a job site in Arizona. At the time Dave was 5'8 180 pounds and in good health. Dave is a no bs person and is true to his word, and the way he told the story is kinda funny.

Dave is a home builder (owner of the company) and was working on a site in Arizona. He had to take a potty break and went into the Port-a-potty on the site. As he sat there, he contemplated the days events. Thinking about all the money he was raking in on the homes he was building on top of those "T"s (probably was not thinking about the "T"s), Dave felt a little...well for lack of a better word, pinch.
He look down only to see a spider attached to his "you know what". The sight of the spider made him finish his business with the propulsion of an F-16 fighter jet. He swiped the spider off and vacated the gaseous place of comfort. Other than thinking the event was alittle creepy, he didn't think much of it. Returning to the job, Dave told his brother of the event laughingly. His brother advised him to seek medical help beacause it might be a widow spider,but Dave continued to work. After about 7 minutes Dave began to feel feverish is if coming down with the flu. He started getting sweats and abdominal cramping, the pain was becoming unbearable. His brother put him in a truck and drove him to the hospital.

By the time Dave got to the hospital he was experiencing violent cramps down his back and chest and eventually went into a coma lasting three days. He was most likely given calcium glueconate in the hospital and released after a week. He was bitten in a very venus place and Dave said that for an entire year his "love function " did not work.

Dave is NOT an animal person , he wouldn't know a black widow from a cow.

I just thought i'd share his story
 

Malcara

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
241
I hate those things

They are everywhere where I live I've been bitten 4 times that I'm sure of and a 5th that had similar symptoms. Black/Brown/Red widows are all over the place here. In the summer they get in my house and love making nests in your shoes. Since my parents don't spray EVER and we have the doors and windows open during the cooler months bugs just walk in and make themselves at home. Symtoms are intense Body pains like you get with a bad flu only much worse, muscles and joints stiffen up, bit area constantly burns and stings as your tissue in the general area dies. The bit area also fills up with fluid which you have to constantly keep drained. My first 2 times I went to the hospital, but got the same treatment from the Doc, nothing... They will tell you that you can only get Black widow antivenine once in your life so you should only use your one opertunity if your in danger of dieing. Other than that they may or may not keep you there. I chose to go home and go into my family Doc and let my mother who is a nurse take care of it. By the way symtoms can last up to 60 hours depending on wherer you have been bitten. Shorter i on extremeties, longer if on the torso since it's closer to your heart.

MODERATOR'S COMMENT: This report is potentially garbage and not very good as a *bite* (notice the singular) report but I'm not going to delete it outright since it presents an opportunity for some factual information.
  • First, without the poster stating their geographic location, I question the statement about black, brown, & red widows being present, being that there's only a small chunk of North America, possibly in western Mississippi to eastern Texas, maybe, where it could happen, but probably not because of what ecologists call niche theory. Even if all three exist in their general location, it is highly unlikely that more than one will live in the immediate vicinity of their home.
  • Second, they will not make a nest in a shoe unless that shoe is sitting under a shelf edge near a wall in a cool, moist basement or garage and hasn't been touched for several weeks, then, maybe. This is not to say that widows won't ever enter a shoe seeking short term shelter, but things like this generally happen outdoors, and probably because you were camping and disturbed their shrubberies where their cobwebs were and the displaced spiders opted on your moist boots as a likely place to hide out from the strange, large creatures disturbing their environment. At any rate, other than basements and garages, human dwellings make terrible widow territories. If you really dislike them, fill your basements and garages with common and harmless Steodota genera cobweavers - same family, same ecological niche, much better at surviving in human homes and will, as a result keep any possible widow species, from establishing themselves. Unless you've done a lot of eradication, the Steodota are probably already there anyhow, I know my garage and basement are filled with them. As an aside, they also do a fantastic job of eating any ground spiders that make their way inside your house - my basement is constant class warfare.
  • Third, spraying does next to nothing to control spiders, so don't blame your parents for any widow invasions you may or may not be having.
  • Fourth, unless you had an allergic reaction to the antibodies the first time, there is no reason you can't receive antivenin again and again and again. If doctors really did make this claim either they were wrong, something not unknown with doctors, or they were trying to steer away the "crazy people" who always show up claiming to have been bitten by widows even though they have no body to confirm species.
  • Last, widow spiders are among the least aggressive/defensive spiders out there. Even if you go into a cobweb with eggsacs the female will run or curl up in a ball rather than defend the eggs. The only scenario you are likely to be bitten is if you were the agressor, intentionally or otherwise. For example you might pick up a log or board the spider had anchored her web to and crush the spider and she bites you as a last defensive action. As another example, maybe you're just in the habit of smashing spiders and you get what you ask for.
That all said, the description about the bites themselves is not entirely implausible, so I'll stop with the corrections on the off chance the poster really has been bitten this many times and is simply uninformed as well as prone to hyperbole.
Here's a peer reviewed fact sheet on widow spiders and bites written by me with some photos contributed by board members: http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/entomology/444-422/444-422.html
 
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