Many of us have been there.
You wake up in the morning and find a spider in your sheets, and you wonder, “Did I sleep with that all night?”
Or you look up during a shower and find an eight-legged creature watching you.
Prepare yourselves, Washingtonians. It’s spider season again.
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And with the recent hot weather, there could be more spiders than usual, KIRO 7 reports. However, most local spiders don’t pose much threat to humans.
“It’s a difficult thing to tell people who are freaking out about spiders,” entomologist Arolo Pelegrin said.
“They are afraid of us. Spiders are not well defended the way ants and beetles are. They tend to stay secretive.”
Spiders typically come out this time of year because it’s mating season, KING 5 reports. Soon, they’ll die, go back into hiding, or resume eating all the other bugs that live in your house.
But according to the state Department of Health, three Washington spiders are cause for concern: the black widow, the yellow sac and the hobo spider.
The black widow spider is common in eastern Washington, and small populations exist in western Washington. Adult female spiders have dangerous venom, but typically try to escape rather than bite. They are usually shiny black with a red hourglass marking under their bellies.
While most people develop only mild symptoms, black widow bites can be a significant health risk for the very young or the elderly.
Yellow sac spiders are typically found in eastern Washington and in the Seattle area. They’re usually yellow, but not always. They’re garden dwellers but can come inside during the fall.
Bites are rare, but can occur when a yellow sac spider is trapped against the skin. Bites are often painful, similar to a bee sting. They typically begin healing within a few days.
Hobo spiders, which are found throughout Washington, are shy and reluctant biters. They are dark brown with yellow markings on their abdomens. They tend to live in dark spaces and build funnel webs. They may bite if trapped against the skin.
The state Department of Health recommends the following treatments for spider bites:
- Wash with soap and water.
- Rest and remain calm.
- Ice the bite area with a cold pack or crushed ice wrapped with a towel. This will reduce swelling and provide pain relief.
- Compress the bite area with a stretchable bandage to reduce swelling. Loosen the bandage if it feels too tight or causes throbbing.
- Elevate the bite area of possible.
- Do not attempt to remove venom.
- Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms get worse, don’t go away, or if you suspect the bite is from a black widow.