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Backpacker Magazine – September 2011

Rip & Live: Spiders

Itsy bitsy? Sure, but spiders loom large in hiker phobias. They shouldn't: Only a few subspecies of the black widow and brown recluse can inflict enough damage to cut short a hike. Here's what you need to know about North America's most venomous spiders, from how to avoid them to treating their bites.

by: Gordy Megroz

PAGE 1 2 3 4
Black widow (Michael H. Francis)
Black widow (Michael H. Francis)
Brown recluse (S. Camazine/K. Visscher)
Brown recluse (S. Camazine/K. Visscher)
Infected brown recluse bite (Dale Losher)
Infected brown recluse bite (Dale Losher)
Spider anatomy (Illustration by Supercorn)
Spider anatomy (Illustration by Supercorn)


PAGE 1 2 3 4

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I was bitten in 2007 by a brown recluse at work. While researching for information on remedies I came across the Brown recluse first aid kit at http://www.brown-recluse.com/spiderinfo.html I bought one of the kit rush delivery and after using it quickly reversed the narcosis in the wound in 1 day and I was completely healed in 4 days. The product worked for me then and also worked this week when my wife came home form work claiming she had got bitten on the leg at work. I examined the wound and could see two puncture holes and concluded it was a spider bite. The bite swelling was already about 2" round. I applied the product twice a day for 3 days and it never reached the narcosis stage is completely healed now.

Liz
Oct 14, 2012

Congress should all have testicle bites, lmfao!

Ranger Danger
Oct 14, 2012

Testicle bites.... Ouch! lol

Richard
Oct 13, 2012

I can deal with spiders. But congress is another problem.

Brian McCue
Apr 28, 2012

It's the ticks here in the northeast that scare the hell out of me FAR more than any other living thing in the woods!

Pfk
Apr 28, 2012

Should I use my bee sting epipen if bitten by a spider or snake??

Ralph
Apr 27, 2012

Thanks for the article. Snakes, bears, scorpions, and now the lowdown on spyders. Guess I'll wear a HAZMAT suit next time I go out hiking. Let me google that.

Ralph
Apr 27, 2012

Thanks for the article. Snakes, bears, scorpions, and now the lowdown on spyders. Guess I'll wear a HAZMAT suit next time I go out hiking. Let me google that.

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Lets not also forget the Corvair Spyder. Infamously tagged as being "Unsafe at any Speed" by Ralph the Green Nadar

Adam
Apr 27, 2012

This is a nice article. I don't really worry about spider when hiking or camping, I see them all the time. What I try to watch out for is snakes. I still don't worry about them, but I do watch for them more than spiders.

Adam
Apr 27, 2012

This is a nice article. I don't really worry about spider when hiking or camping, I see them all the time. What I try to watch out for is snakes. I still don't worry about them, but I do watch for them more than spiders.

Patrick
Apr 27, 2012

Excruciating testicle bites? Liquified tissue? Are you kidding me? That's it- all of my backpacking gear is going on ebay and i'm taking up world of warcraft. Now i'm afraid to step foot outside my house! Thanks alot.

AZ Hiker
Apr 27, 2012

Black Widow venom messes with the victim's nervous system. For a child who has been bitten unknowingly, they may not feel any pain anywhere but might cry uncontrollably for no reason. Look for swelling and apparent location of bite. This happened to me when I was 4. For several yrs the location of the bite would swell about once a yr. There is no feeling at the end of my thumb where I was bitten. My grandmother was bitten at age 90 and after 3 days in ICU she was legally blind as the venom caused her retinas to rupture. Search your property for webs during the day then with a flashlight carefully re-visit those sites at night and kill the spider if you see it. If you can see where the spider may be hiding, you can spray spider poison at the hiding spot until it pools below and you may kill it that way. This proves to be successful as many times I check the following day and find the spider dead on the web or on the ground.

AZ Hiker
Apr 27, 2012

A mother in Australia wrapped gauze around the wrist of her baby daughter who was bitten on the hand by a deadly spider. The Drs in the ER said that action is what saved her. We saw this on a cable show about arachnids. I have never read that we should do that as part of first aid so I am wondering if it is a good thing to do or not??

AZ Hiker
Apr 27, 2012

A mother in Australia wrapped gauze around the wrist of her baby daughter who was bitten on the hand by a deadly spider. The Drs in the ER said that action is what saved her. We saw this on a cable show about arachnids. I have never read that we should do that as part of first aid so I am wondering if it is a good thing to do or not??

K Bradley
Apr 27, 2012

Try not to smash the spider when seeking an ID- this makes it very difficult. You can pop in an old pill bottle or plastic film can with a some 70% rubbing alcohol, or if live, put in a leaf or lightly damp paper towel. Check with your local university or nature center for ID help. Most alleged spider bites are really something else. These bites are rare and most spiders are great to have around for pest control and beauty. With very rare exception they only react in self-defense.
Ohio Spider Society member

BoulderCoGuy
Apr 27, 2012

I know a guy who lost his arm and another who lost his life to brown recluse bites. Both developed gangrene because of the open soars that would not heal. So technically the brown recluse didn't kill him or cause the loss of the are, thus I suspect the death and maiming rate is a bit lower than reality.

Amy
Apr 27, 2012

Agree with Chris. My dad ended up in the emergency room and nearly died from a Hobo spider bite. He had such severe head pain that they thought he was having a brain aneurysm, and it took four doses of morphine to even touch the pain. Admittedly, his experience was a bit extreme, but Hobos can be incredibly problematic for PNW hikers.

Denny
Feb 28, 2012

Brown recluse almost killed me. Once bit, I was okay till the doctor in ER lanced the bite. He thought it was a boil. I was sent to the Unniversity Hospital four days later. Once there being diabetic a lot things were going wrong from the bite. I was informed surgery now, or be dead in three hours. The rest is history and five surgeries later and learning how to walk again. My battle scar is 17 cm x 17cm and one can lay there hand in the hole. I'm alive. Becareful and check things out to make sure no creatures are around.

BradGad
Nov 08, 2011

" If youre outside their native habitat, encountering a brown recluse is unlikely." It would be nice if the article said what their native habitat *is*.

Anonymous
Oct 15, 2011

with the talk of "preventing blood vessels from pumping the spiders venom much farther than the bite spot" is it suggested to hike out immediately or just get it above the heart and keep it clean for a bit?

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Oct 03, 2011

I think I may have seen it on <a href="http://google.com">google</a> a few days ago.

leo 'weisman
Oct 02, 2011

as an aside, to FIND spiders in the night, turn on your hearlight or hold a flashlight near the plane of your eyes, and whereever you see a little sparkle, walk up close and look and you will see that the sparkle is the reflection of a spider's eyes. One of those little fun camping facts i thought you should know.

KatS
Oct 01, 2011

Thanks, but you did absolutely nothing to allay my fears. Especially with that pic of the necrotizing recluse bite. Really? What the heck were you thinking?

Chris
Sep 30, 2011

You should've included the Hobo spider, an introduced species that is now found in the Pacific Northwest. It certainly looks similar to the Brown Recluse, and is typically misidentified as such.

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