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Identifying North Carolina Spiders: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Recently, we sat down to do a little bit of a refresher course on one of the creepiest common pests in North Carolina: spiders. While we were doing a little bit of research, a brilliant thought occurred to us: We should tell everyone about these spiders. They deserve to know. So upon further reflection, we decided the best way to communicate this absolutely skin-crawling information was to break spiders down into 3 basic categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the best, the worst, and the even worse still spiders that lurk around North Carolina.

The Good

Orb Weaver spider crawling in web

“Aw look at that spider, so cute!” is a sentence that you’re not usually gonna hear come out of someone in your household unless you have a pre-teen who’s just entering their goth phase. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some spiders that actually can do some good and cause little to no threat. In fact, that actually accounts for a majority of spiders that you see sneaking around your home and garden, including: 

  • Orb Weaver spiders 
  • Black and Yellow Garden spiders 
  • White Sac spiders
  • Carolina Wolf spiders 
  • Dark Fishing spiders

Ok, honestly these spiders aren’t exactly angels. Their bites can still cause some minor and admittedly uncomfortable symptoms, and even though spiders, on the whole, aren’t really aggressive, that doesn’t mean you want to deal with the potential of a bunch of spider bites. So why are we calling them “good”? Well on the spectrum of spiders, this is about as good as it gets, and these spiders also do some useful things, such as:

  • Eating more disruptive pests, like roaches, flies, mosquitoes, and clothes moths. 
  • Killing other (and sometimes deadlier) spiders. 
  • Because they eat more disruptive pests, they also help cut back on the spread of disease from some of the insects listed above, like mosquitoes. 

So now that we’ve seen the (sort of) good, I think we both know what comes next.

The Bad 

We’ll be honest, this spider is pretty rare in North Carolina, but hey, they’ve been spotted on occasion so we think they’re at least worth covering. And the winner issss….

Brown Recluse Spider on the prowl

…the Brown Recluse spider! But wait, weren’t we just talking about how spiders are amazing? Well, some of them are ok, but the brown recluse is actually poisonous to humans, whereas the spiders above are only venomous. Here’s what you could be in for when it comes to a bite from one of these spiders: 

  • Inflammation and possible burning at the site of the bite. 
  • Redness and blistering. 
  • In severe bites the spread of venom sometimes causes the development of dead, or necrotic, tissue.
  • Chills 
  • Dizziness 
  • Fever
  • Rash 
  • Vomiting 

Clearly that all sounds awful. What could possibly be worse?

The Ugly 

Black Widow Spider weaving its web

You probably could’ve guessed it, but as bad North Carolina spiders go, the Black Widow is the baddest of them all; after all, they didn’t get that bad reputation for no reason. Basically, it boils down to the bites. As the most venomous spiders in North America, a black widow bite can get nasty quick – and while it is incredibly rare for those bites to be fatal to humans, it can mean

  • Severe nausea 
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Sweating 
  • Tremors 
  • Severe abdominal pain 
  • Rashing 
  • Swollen eyelids 
  • Weakness and possible inability to move legs

So yea…a black widow bite isn’t a pretty sight. So what does all this mean?

In conclusion…

As we saw, most spiders are almost harmless, except for irritating bites. But should you let them stick around? It depends. If you’re willing to risk the occasional irritating, itchy bite and web cleanup in exchange for nature’s version of pest control, go for it. Well, except when it comes to those poisonous spiders, because in that case, absolutely not! If you know you have a poisonous spider problem, contact the professionals. Remember, safety first!

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