ST. LOUIS — The heat has brown recluse spiders moving into our homes, and pest companies in the St. Louis area have been busy fielding calls.
“This is our number one spider right now, as far as calls with these temperatures. We’ve had this pattern for a couple of weeks, three to four weeks,” said Jay Everitt, the technical director for Rottler Pest Solutions.
Everitt said in many cases, they’re coming down from the attic.
“We tend to see the activity in the upper parts of the house, as well as some of the lower parts,” he said. “So, your crawl spaces are heating up. Your attic spaces are heating up. So, that’s what driving these insects down.”
Everitt said professional help is important and glue traps are useful. The bite from a brown recluse is typically reactive.
They’re not going to search you out. But if they get in your shoe, hat, jacket, or under the sheets of your bed, these are the times that the arachnid, spider/human conflict can come into play.
Allison Williamson, a pediatric nurse practitioner with SSM Health, said that just because someone gets bitten, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get sick.
“Unfortunately, children, because they are really small and their immune systems aren’t as robust as an adult’s immune system, they typically are the ones that might have those more severe reactions,” Williamson said.
Within several hours, it may at first look like any common insect bite.
“It’s kind of watchful waiting, and you see if it progresses into anything worse than just looking like a general insect bite,” said Williamson.
The bite will evolve after three to five days. It can ulcerate where the puncture site is.
“There are even more rare instances where children can get even [sicker] from brown recluse bites,” Williamson said.
She said symptoms can include fever, headaches, and a rash all over the body, which would be a reason to seek emergency care. It’s also good practice to take some precautions.
“Shake out your clothes,” Williamson said. “Turn your shoes upside down and shake them just to make sure you don’t end up with a brown recluse bite because when they’re indoors they are going to hide in those kinds of places.”