Is This Spider In My Washington, D.C., Home Dangerous?


spider on window

Two Medically Dangerous Spiders Are In The Washington, D.C., Area

All spiders have fangs and possess venom, but only two in North America are medically dangerous to humans. They both have unique markers that can help homeowners identify them. It is wise for D.C., homeowners to be aware of where they hang out, what identifies them, and what to do if bitten.

Black Widow Spiders

Black widow spiders are common in and around homes, garages, barns, and other manmade structures. Female black widows are distinctive looking. They are shiny and black, 1 1/2 inches long, and identifiable by the red hourglass on their abdomen. Men are much smaller, about half the size of females. They also are lighter in color with pink to red spots on their backs. After mating, females often eat the male thus earning their name, black widow.

Black widows build tough, messy three-dimensional webs in or behind objects. The webs are typically in secluded and protected locations. In the warmer summer months, they are usually found outside under shrubs, garden plants, or near porch lights.  

A black widow bite will cause extreme physical discomfort and illness for several days to a week. Common symptoms include pain around the bite, muscle aches, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, muscular cramping, sweating, fever, and headache. Usually, there is no swelling at the site of the bite, but a small necrotic lesion may form (healing can take a period of weeks or months). 

Black widow bites are rarely life-threatening but may be dangerous for small children or individuals with chronic health conditions. If you are bitten by a black widow, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Contrary to popular belief, recluse spiders are not aggressive. They are very shy and like to hide in sheltered locations, usually underneath objects that do not get moved very much.  Only when a recluse has been extremely provoked will it bite.  In warmer climates, they can be found under rocks or fallen wood. It is rare to encounter a recluse in your home.  

Brown recluse spiders are about 3/8 of an inch with uniformly light brown legs with no stripes or spines, only hairs. Its abdomen is cream to brown and changes color depending on its meal. Brown recluse spiders have six eyes arranged in pairs. Its distinguishing feature is a darker violin-shaped mark on the back of the head and thorax (cephalothorax).

A bite frequently causes an initial sharp stinging sensation; it can be followed by other symptoms 2 to 8 hours later. Later symptoms can range from mild pain and redness to a localized open sore. Normally a bite is marked by a red zone that forms around a gradually enlarging open sore. The sore can continue to grow and deepen over a period of days or weeks (reaching the diameter of a dime). A sore like this can take anywhere from 3 to 4 months to completely heal. Because a brown recluse bite is serious, immediate medical attention is recommended.

Why You Should Contact American Pest?

American Pest of Washington, D.C., has been fighting pest problems since 1925. We have years of combatting pest problems facing businesses and residences alike giving us a wealth of knowledge and experience bringing pest control to the Washington, D.C. area. If you're struggling with spiders or other unwanted pests, reach out to the professionals at American Pest today! 


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