Atlanta Family Terrorized By Monster Brown Recluse Species
An Atlanta man experienced large swelling and skin discoloration in his arm and immediately sought medical attention. The doctor believed that the arm condition was caused by a spider bite, but had no scientific proof of its origin. Because the man was already on antibiotics for other health reasons, his doctor increased his intake.
Six months later, the man’s wife felt something brush against her face while she was asleep. She was sure it was a spider but was unable to find it once she had turned the light on in her room.
The following day she called us and asked for a free inspection. The inspection turned out to be her worst fear, her bedroom was infested with some of the most venomous spiders in the world.
Spider Inspection & Identification
Active Pest Control’s technical director, Ted Lieb, handled the initial inspection by placing traps in the Coweta couple’s bedroom. He caught 20 different spiders during the inspection process. Lieb believed that the spiders he captured were brown recluse spiders, but wanted confirmation since they were so much larger than usual.
Brown recluse spiders are typically so small that when their legs are fully extended, they can stand on a dime. These spiders were so large that they could easily sit on top of a coke can and touch all sides!
Lieb showed a specimen to Entomologist Dr. Daniel Suiter of the University of Georgia. Dr. Suiter originally identified the spider as a Mediterranean brown recluse due to its size. However, the Mediterranean brown recluse is not native to Georgia. Dr. Suiter conducted further research and discovered that the spider’s DNA matched that of the brown recluse spider already native to Georgia.
Neither Dr. Suiter nor Ted Lieb could explain why the brown recluse spiders in this Atlanta home grew to such large sizes. These spiders were some of the largest brown recluses ever examined and the only official record of a brown recluse being captured in Newnan or Coweta County.
Spiders, Spiders, & More Spiders
Lieb and Dr. Suiter conducted an inspection of the property to identify the possible source of the spiders, and why they were infesting the structure. What they found was one of the most severe brown recluse infestations on record.
Brown recluse spiders were observed infesting most of the house, including the bedrooms. A significant number of brown recluse spiders were spotted in the crawl space and wall voids.
Lieb developed a treatment plan to eliminate the spiders with the help of Dr. Suiter. Since spiders do not groom themselves, pesticides would not be effective in controlling the brown recluse. A brown recluse can walk through pesticide and never be impacted by the chemical because the pesticide is never ingested through its mouth parts. Lieb had to develop a plan that would control the population of brown recluse spiders without directly applying a product for spiders. His plan included a two part process:
- Eliminate the brown recluse’s food source
- Capture as many as possible by placing traps in harborage areas
Eliminating the food source
The brown recluse is an insects worse nightmare. It hunts at night by roaming around looking for prey. By eliminating the insects, this healthy brown recluse population would be forced to seek food elsewhere or die from lack of food.
Unfortunately, the brown recluse also feeds on dead insects. So, even after most of the other insects in the area were controlled there would be a lengthy time period before the brown recluse population felt the impact.
Lieb applied product to the home in order to control any food source that the brown recluses were feeding on. He treated the attic, crawlspace, and general living area of the home.
Capturing the beast
Brown recluses do not build webs to trap prey, but to use as a nest. Their webs are typically less than an inch in diameter. They prefer dry, warm, and dark areas. They hide in closets, purses, shoes, attics, crawlspaces, and wall voids.
After donning a full body protective suit, Lieb placed monitoring boards in likely harborage areas for the spider: boards were placed inside the house and crawlspace.
Every week the boards were checked for spiders. Over a period of six months, several hundred brown recluse spiders were removed from the house.
Each week the number of spiders captured decreased. Eventually the number dropped to one or two spiders each week. Currently, brown recluse spiders are rarely captured at the home. Lieb continues to monitor their population so they do not make a resurgence.
The Brown Recluse’s Bite
Brown recluse spiders have been responsible for deaths in children under the age of seven, but rarely. Brown recluse bites are most dangerous to young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.
Though the brown recluse’s venom is more toxic than rattle snakes, they inject much less venom than a rattle snake. The brown recluse bite causes the death of living cells or tissue in areas immediately surrounding the area of the bite. The bite will appear gangrenous. If left untreated the bite could develop into a life threatening illness.
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