spider eyesPeople have very different opinions on spiders ranging from arachnophobia, to spider handlers. Arachnophobia is a mental condition that creates a fear of spiders, and those who have it may have extreme reactions when around spiders. For a majority of the human population a negative reaction to spiders may stem from lack of education on spiders.

Spiders in fact are not insects, but air breathing arthropods under the order of arachnid with eight legs and eight eyes or less. With thousands of different species, spiders have adapted to all different conditions from hot to cold, dark to light, and wet to dry. Spiders generally locate themselves away from humans and generally only come in the home if they are trying to escape the weather and temperature conditions. All these conditions can be found in Texas and there are a couple of types of spiders that everyone should be aware.

The first type is the black widow, and is one of the largest spiders under the Theridiidae family. With a shiny black exterior, the black widow typically has a red hourglass shape on their back, and will usually spin their web upside down to illustrate the marking. The adult female will generally be between 8-10 mm and the male is smaller, between 3-4 mm. Judging this spider by size alone is NOT a good idea because the black widow can inject venom, with its bite, that can be stronger than that of a rattlesnake.

The other type of spider to be aware of is the brown recluse spider, a.k.a. the violin spider. These spiders can grow between 1/4-3/4 of an inch (6-20 mm) and may vary in color between cream colored to dark brown and blackish gray. Do not identify the brown recluse by its markings simply because the markings, and color, can be confused with similarities of the cellar spiders and pirate spiders. The brown recluse is a house spider and will begin to hunt an hour or two after dark, so most bites occur while people are sleeping. If bitten it is necessary to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. If you think there is a chance that you have some in your home, it is best to seek the professional advice of an exterminator.