According to the website, bugguide.net, there are approximately 546 different species of spiders that call Arkansas home. Of those species, there are four that can be considered dangerously venomous.
The number one most dangerous spider in Arkansas is the Brown Recluse, whose bites can cause severe damage to your skin and its surrounding tissue and in severe cases, kidney failure. But the next most common, dangerous in the state is the Widow class of spiders.
There are three different types of Widow spiders that can be found in Arkansas: The Brown, Northern Black, and the Southern Black Widow. All three spiders belong to what is called the Latrodectus genus of spiders whose venom causes the illness Latrodectism. The symptoms of widow bites include pain, muscle rigidity, vomiting, and sweating. Contrary to popular belief, latrodectism is very rarely fatal to adults, though children and the elderly may have a more severe reaction.
All three types of widow spiders are naturally nocturnal, meaning they are most active at nighttime. The widow spiders are roughly the same size, each measuring approximately 1.5 to 2 inches except for the male spiders of the species, which can be up to ⅓ smaller than their female counterparts.
All of these spiders are classified as defensive, meaning that they only bite when they’re scared or when defending their egg sacs. One way to identify whether you’re dealing with one of these spiders is to try to get a good look at their abdomen. The widow spiders normally hang upside down in their webs, exposing their prominent hourglass markings. For all types of the widow spider family, the males are generally less dangerous and venomous than their female counterparts.
How to Identify Each:
The Brown Widow Spider
This particular widow spider is actually brown, unlike its cousins. Although they do also sport the tell-tale hourglass marking, these markings normally run from bright orange to yellow. The biggest clue that the spider you’re dealing with is a Brown Widow is the unique, spiky shape of its egg sac.
The Northern Black Widow
The biggest difference between the Northern Black and the Southern Black Widow spiders are their markings. While it’s very easy to identify a Southern Black widow by the bright red hourglass marking on its abdomen, a Northern Black widow’s markings are more distinct. The Northern Black usually has an incomplete hourglass that looks more like a row of dots with white stripes running diagonally down the sides of its abdomen.
The Southern Black Widow
The Southern Black Widow spider is the most easily identifiable of the widow family. The bright red hourglass on the abdomen is the biggest clue that you’re dealing with the real thing. This member of the widow family also has an additional red dot on the very back end of the abdomen, just above its spinnerets.
What to do:
The final common characteristic is that all three types can usually be found on outdoor patios, patio furniture, grills, sheds, the underside of decks, and in garages. So, keep your eyes peeled when you are outside!
If you see these spiders out and around your home, approach with caution especially if you notice an egg sac in its web. A widow egg sac can hold anywhere from 200-250 eggs in it and they are usually very protective of their offspring.
If you need any assistance with the removal and prevention of spiders, please contact us online or by phone at any of our locations.
Little Rock: 501-228-0322
North Little Rock: 501-758-0322
Hot Springs: 501-623-2335