Please don't send any more photos of supposed spider bites. I
can't tell you what may have bitten you, and you should go to your
doctor and get it properly diagnosed. Further more, this site is not
here to promote the few bites that people get from spiders but to
encourage people to understand spiders a bit better and how they are of
benefit to us. This includes the fact that of the few people who suffer
from spider bites, many of these aren't spider bites but from something
else. Here's a photo of a bite that doctors
diagnosed as a recluse bite which turned out to be something different
altogether!! Read below the photo for what the bite was from!!
Supposed brown recluse bite was diagnosed by a
hospital in southwest Virginia. After many tests, the bite turned out to
probably be from a Lone Star Tick which is the most common tick species
in VA. Estimated date of tick bite was early May 2013. Note they had an extremely wet spring [record-breaking], which caused unusual amounts of vegetation growth. The Virginia Dept. of Health can provide lots more interesting details about the many new tick-borne pathogens which seem to be invading the region.
Photo supplied with permission of the bearer of the bite who does not
wish to be identified but agreed to have it published in the
public interest, to show how bites from other creatures are often
misidentified as being from a recluse or hobo simply because they look
similar!! However treatment is often vastly different depending on what
has caused the wound and it is best to get a correct identification to
hasten recovery!! glen
for an article by George
Fiedler on one of the most common infections that is often mistaken for
a recluse bite.
Brown Recluse Spiders are also known as Fiddleback spiders or Violin Spiders and
their bite has been believed to cause a very serious reaction.
However, recent theories
tend to dispute
the fact that most of these bites are from the brown recluse. According
to Rick Vetter from the American Arachnological Society - "even if you
have a recluse, bites from them are extremely rare, despite all the
stories. Many of the really graphic nasty wounds you see on the
internet as recluse bites can also be other conditions like necrotizing
bacteria and pyoderma gangrenosum. Ninety percent of brown recluse
bites are not medically significant, heal very nicely often without
medical. intervention and treatment for most brown recluse bites is
simple first aid (RICE therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
Many conditions are misdiagnosed as recluse bites when their cause is
something else like infection, bad reaction to medication, diabetic
ulcers, Lyme disease, or other underlying medical conditions."
This is not to suggest that anyone should go around handling any spiders
- brown recluse or otherwise - treat all spiders with caution and
interesting email with a different sort of treatment for a brown
In April, I visited a friend in the mountains of Tennessee. While I
was sleeping in the seldom used loft bedroom, I was bitten on the
cheek by a brown recluse spider. This was on a Saturday night. By
Monday morning my face was very swollen, right eye swollen shut, very
red and painful. I was taken to an Instacare type facility and given
antibiotics and an injection of cortisone in my hip. The next day, I
flew home to Sedona, AZ. My face, the swelling, the pain were much
worse. I started calling doctors. Several recommended me to a local
Naturpath who specialized in venomous bites. When I called he said to
come in asap. When I walked in, my bite area was turning a yucky
brownish color, and he said, "Day 5". I said, "yep!".
The treatment was painful - 2 injections of ozone into the bite area.
He told me it would be painful, but not last for long. Then I was
given an IV and went home an hour or so later. The bite area never
got worse or went necrotic. It stayed red for some days and slowly,
over weeks, faded in color and the ache also grew weaker. The venom
had begun to move into my sinus and lymph areas, and this too began
to retract. Now it is September and my cheek looks fine, maybe like a
have a light blush. Occasionally, I feel a twinge in the area of the
bite, and the eye muscles still twitch often, but I feel blessed. I
have talked to many people, doctors and nurses who have seen much
worse, and even the loss of flesh and feet from these bites.
Here's an email with
a bit more info from Becky:
Glen, I found your site today as part of my work as a teacher.
You have some pics of this man's bite:
These are pics of necrosis from what the docs decided was
definitely a brown recluse. See the emed article here. Pics of
Dale's leg are near the bottom:
The thumb bite pics at your site (http://www.spiderzrule.com/reclusebitethumb.htm)
looks very much like pics I saw when I was working at Torbitt &
Castleman in Buckner KY. The pics were of a maintenance guy's
thumb. He was working at the plant and reached up under a floor
sweeper when he was bit. News of the bite went around the plant
like wild fire. That guy was on sick leave for a couple of
months...I left the factory before he came back. His friends
told me of the extreme pain he endured. He wanted everyone at
the plant to be more careful so he submitted his pics to the
company intranet. Sincerely, Becky Rathbun
About the Brown Recluse:
The body of the brown recluse
is light tan to dark brown in colour. It is about 1/2" to 1/4 " in size. The
males are usually smaller than the females. With leg span included the Brown
is about the size of a half dollar. The legs are long, thins and delicate.
They have only six eyes. The most distinguishing mark is the violin like
dark patch on their head with the skinny part of violin pointing toward the
abdomen. They can be found in the south central states of the United States
including Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Alabama, and Oklahoma. In
the home the Brown Recluse seeks secluded areas: around the hot water
heater, in closets, under
beds and furniture. Around the home they can be
found under the porch, in a woodpile, and in the garage. Their lifespan
ranges from 2 to 10 years. Females lay eggs from May to August. It takes a
month for the eggs to hatch. The spider can tolerate temps from near
freezing to over 100 degrees F. (Photo - R. Vetter ©)
Symptoms can be:
* Rarely any pain when bitten.
* Bite site becomes reddened surrounding a raised bump similar to a fire ant
bite with a dark
centre similar to a bulls eye.
* Flu-like symptoms (fever, nausea, chills, aches) .
* Painful ulceration develops.
* Skin and muscle tissue dies, leaving a deep, infected wound that enlarges,
fails to heal or heals slowly. The wound site can be affected for a long
time, even years. This is called Necrosis.
If you have been bitten:
* Wash the area with soap and water.
* Apply ice to reduce swelling and redness.
* Do Not Use Heat.
* Search for spider- take it with you to the doctor for identification.
* Call your doctor .
To Avoid being bitten:
* Shake clothing that has been on the floor or not been worn in a while.
* Wear long sleeves and
gloves when moving boxes or working in storage
* Wash or check bed linens in beds that have not been slept in for a while.
Click below for some
pages of supposed spider bites. One sent in anonymously, of a bite to the thumb and
another sent in by Dale Losher of Illinois of a bite to his leg and the
most recent one from Tracey in Georgia. I have provided these images as
a public service and do not claim that the stories are true or correct.