From the Field Editorial: U.K. Pest Control Short Course, Day 2 — The Spider Man Warns PMPs Not to Get Caught in a Web of Deceit

|  October 5, 2006

By: Marty Whitford

Rich Vetter, aka The Spider Man, warns pest management professionals (PMPs) and their customers not to get caught up in a web of deceit when it comes to identifying (IDing) brown recluse spiders and their bites.

Vetter of the University of California – Riverside, delivered brown recluse control tips at the University of Kentucky (U.K.) 36th Annual Pest Control Short Course, being held Oct. 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Ky.

Following are just a few Vetter’s brown recluse IDing suggestions, stories and statistics:

  • “In a recent poll, people said they’re more afraid of spiders than terrorists.”
  • Brown recluse spiders are three-eighths of an inch long and have six eyes (not eight), only one color on their abdomens and legs (which, by the way, are never dark brown), and have thin hairs (not conspicuous spines) on their legs.
  • Brown recluse spiders are not funnel weaving spiders, woodlouse spiders, yellow sac spiders, orb-weaver spiders, fishing spiders, Parson spiders or common house spiders.
  • In Vetter’s Brown Recluse Challenge, he asked people to send him samples of spiders they thought were brown recluse spiders. From 2000 to 2005, he received 1,773 supposed brown recluse spiders from 49 states — but only 324 of them turned out to be the real deal.
  • One homeowner in Lenexa, Kan., claimed she and her family were bitten a total of more than 2,000 times in a six-month period by brown recluse spiders in their home. “Once you hit 1,000 bites in one home, why are you still counting?” Vetter asked tongue in cheek.
  • One man who initially swore he had a brown recluse bite on his left leg, eventually discovered the burn was caused by his own hand — he realized the day before he had oversprayed high-strength oven cleaner onto his leg. “How did he come to this conclusion?” Vetter asked. “Well, he sprayed the oven cleaner on his other leg and it burned just as badly, of course.”
This article is tagged with and posted in Brown Recluse Spiders, Common House Spiders, Invasive/Occasional Species, Spiders

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