Perhaps one of our readers can confirm something for me. Though I write for pest professionals, I am not one. Nor am I an entomologist. I AM, however, a spider bite victim.
How do you know it’s a spider bite, you might be asking yourself? Well, truth be known, I don’t know definitively — but I’ve made a solid educated guess based on some photos I took and a little research.
I see spiders all the time in and around my apartment. They neither scare me, nor disturb me. I know that, in many ways, they’re the pest management pros of the pest world. They keep other would-be pests in check and mostly stay out of my way. If I see one in a place I’d rather not see one, I scoop it up with a piece of paper and release it outside. But sometimes they surprise me, and evidently I surprise them from time to time too.
I believe I might have surprised a yellow sac spider (my best guess – see photo); the markings are consistent with images I found online and my bite symptoms (which I recognize can be different for everyone) consistent with yellow sac spider bites. Thing is, at first I didn’t know WHAT I was dealing with. (“Dear God, please don’t let it be bed bugs!) Itching, burning and swelling (in that order) until I had what looked like a large red blister(!). I’d never had a bug bite like it and for this reason, it freaked me out a little bit. It never occurred to me it might be a spider … UNTIL, I did an inspection of my bed for the pest whose name I need not mention again. I was happy, after checking everywhere in my room around the bed, it’s seams, the box springs and mattress, picture frames, nightstand, wall outlets, etc., to find no evidence of any blood suckers. HOWEVER, when I pulled back my top sheet to remove it from the mattress for further inspection, there it was. A very familiar looking spider, smashed into my bed right about where my shoulder blade would rest when I go horizontal for the night.
From all accounts I could find online, yellow sac spiders aren’t aggressive – unless threatened. One entomology piece I read said that unless there’s one hiding in a glove or your shoe, there’s a slim chance you’d ever deal with a yellow sac spider bite. Well, I imagine one roll in the night to sleep on my other side qualified as a significant threat to the spider. The bite wasn’t enough to wake me (not much can when I’m deep in REM mode) but it left an impression.
What’s more, the yellow sac’s telltale signs, as described by entomologists, were evident – embarrassingly so.
So, maybe I don’t always think to take a duster to my apartment’s ceiling corners but when I looked up I noticed some things I’d not noticed before: (Evidently, I don’t look up enough) funnel-shaped webs and a crack in the wall high above my bed that had left a significant sized opening in the wall.
For days after the bite, I began to see the same spiders everywhere; in the bathroom sink basin, on my bedroom ceiling, scurrying up the cord of my hair clippers while cutting the little hair I have left. The bite healed up quickly and in about 48 hours you could barely see signs of where it had been.
Finally, I was quick enough to grab my camera before one disappeared, (These little guys move FAST.) and it was in a outstanding place for a photo. It had climbed out from behind the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie poster, hanging on the wall in my hallway. (Yes, my apartment is essentially a glorified dorm room. Bachelor life has its ups and downs.) Just as my little friend was about to scurry across “Nancy’s” face a grabbed my phone and got a pretty decent pic. (So decent, I Instagram’d that baby!) Take a look. Did I I.D. the culprit correctly? And if so, how many spiders make a call to a PMP appropriate? Like I said, I don’t mind living with spiders – even had a few tarantulas as pets in my youth – but I’m not in the market for an infestation of these guys, let alone any more bites like the one I’m accusing it of taking.