PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Spiders in general, including the black widow and brown recluse, bite only in defense, when being crushed between your skin and another object.
To prevent spider bites:
- Wear a long-sleeve shirt, hat, gloves and boots when handling stored boxes or firewood, and when cleaning out sheds, garages, basements, attics and crawl spaces.
- Inspect and shake out gardening gloves, boots and clothing that have been unused for a while.
- Use insect repellents, such as DEET or Picaridin, on clothing and footwear.
- Keep insects and spiders out of the house by installing tight-fitting screens on windows and doors, and caulking or sealing cracks or crevices where spiders can come in.
- Discard old boxes, clothing and other unwanted items from storage areas.
- Store items you want to keep off of the floor and away from walls.
- Remove piles of rocks or lumber from the area around your house.
- Avoid storing firewood against the house.
- Vacuum spiders and spider webs and dispose of them in a sealed bag outside to prevent re-entry into the house.
- Vetter RS, et al. Approach to the patient with a suspected spider bite: An overview. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Spider bites. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/bites_and_stings/spider_bites.html?qt=spider bites&alt=sh. Accessed March 14, 2013.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Venomous spiders. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/spiders. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Vetter RS, et al. Bites of widow spiders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Vetter RS, et al. Bites of recluse spiders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Brown recluse spider. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/brown_recluse_spider.pdf. Accessed March 15, 2013.
- Auerbach PS, et al. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00052-0&isbn=978-1-4377-1678-8&sid=1418655681&uniqId=405544036-3#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1678-8..00052-0. Accessed March 15, 2013.