There exists two spider species in the United States that are commonly cited by experts as being potentially dangerous to humans due to the toxicity of their venom. These two spider species are the black widow and the brown recluse. Black widow bites can cause victims to develop a medical condition known as “latrodectism” if a high enough dose of venom is delivered into the bloodstream. Although symptoms of this condition are unpleasant, fatalities very rarely result.
Brown recluse venom is considered medically significant due to the toxic compounds it contains, but unlike the black widow, the brown recluse is not found within Massachusetts. The black widow’s distribution within Massachusetts and other northeast states is a disputed matter among experts, but in any case, the black widow is not often spotted within Massachusetts homes. However, there exists other spider species that commonly invade homes in Massachusetts, some of which are known for being relatively aggressive species that inflict painful bites to humans.
The eastern Parson spider is a species of ground spider that is commonly spotted within Massachusetts homes and buildings. Of the 89 documented Parson spider sightings reported by citizen scientists in Massachusetts, all but two were found indoors. Due to this species’ rapid speed and erratically directed getaways, these spiders are known for being difficult to capture when spotted indoors. While this species’ venomous bites are not considered medically significant, they are known for being quite painful, and some individuals experience serious allergic reactions from their venom. Most Parson spider bites occur indoors when a person’s skin comes into contact with the spider as it rests in clothing or bedding fabrics.
During the daytime, this nocturnal spider species prefers to dwell beneath items like rocks, yard litter and tree bark on residential properties. Once the winter season arrives, these spiders move into homes to overwinter where they may establish egg sacs beneath decks, and in crawl spaces. The Parson spider is spotted within Massachusetts homes all year round, but sightings are most prevalent during the spring and early summer.
Have you ever encountered a spider that possessed bodily hairs within your home?