Debunking San Diego spider myths with Ms. Mallory

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Ms. Mallory from Ms. Mallory Adventures joined Good Morning San Diego to debunk some myths about spiders that live in San Diego

Myth 1:  Many of the species of spiders found in San Diego are dangerous to residents.

Truth: Of the dozens of spider species in San Diego, the majority of them don’t have fangs strong enough to pierce your skin and/or don’t have venom that will be potent enough to offer more than a red bump- unless you are allergic to the venom.  

San Diego residents really only need to be able to recognize 3 potentially dangerous ones.

Black Widow
Desert Recluse
Brown Widow

Myth 2:  Many people die of spider bites from these three species

No one has ever died from a desert recluse or brown widow.  According to the CDC, no one has died from a black widow bite since 1983.

Myth 3: Daddy Long legs are highly venomous, but don’t have fangs big enough to pierce the skin.

Daddy long legs (AKA Harvestman) do not have fangs or venom glands.  

Myth 4: The bigger/hairier the spider, the more venomous.

Hairs on a spider are used for sensing what is around it, not a venom potency indicator. Bigger spiders tend to have less potent venom because they can subdue prey with their size.  

It’s pretty easy to recognize a widow, so here are some ‘rules’ to reassure yourself that you are not face to face with a recluse:

1. Does it have a solid tan, upside down violin on its head?  Only recluses have this feature. 2. 2. Does it have hair? Both widows and recluses have shiny, smooth bodies.
3. Does it have a multi-colored body or legs?  Recluses are all one color with a brown violin on its head.
4. Is it outdoors near a web?  More than likely this is an orb weaver.
5. Is it larger than an inch and a half?  Recluses are less than 1.5 inches.

How to avoid spider bites
• Wear shoes outdoors.
• Do not reach into holes, under furniture or in woodpiles where you cannot see them.
• Shake out clothing, towels, shoes, gloves, and boots before each use.
• Use caution around outdoor toilets (favorite places for spiders).
Controlling Spiders
To keep spiders out of your home, take these steps:
• Clean up woodpiles and leaves around the home.
• Seal cracks on the house foundation, and around windows and doors.
• Use a high-pressure hose to spray spiders on outside walls.
• Be sure not to carry spiders into your home on plants and in boxes.
• Vacuum or sweep windows, corners of rooms, storage areas, garages, and basements to help remove spiders and their webs.
• Spraying insecticide may also keep spiders under control. Choose the product that is right for your home and follow the label instructions carefully.                        

Categories: Good Morning San Diego