Why Do Spiders Bite When You Sleep?

Do Spiders Crawl On You When You Sleep or is That a Myth?

Posted on Jul 14, 2017 6:00:00 AM by Fran Oneto

Does spotting a spider creep you out? Do you squash them when you see them or do you want to run out of the room until the perceived danger has passed? Do you find it impossible to sleep if you spot a spider in your bedroom, fearing they’ll drop down into your mouth while you sleep?

Don’t be shy about admitting it, a lot of people suffer from arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders. In fact, around 55% of women and 18% of men experience some degree of arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders.

The problem with arachnophobia, as well as many other fears, is that it’s mostly unwarranted. Thanks to Hollywood, many fears have been the basis for scary movies Arachnophobia, Jaws, and Open Water are just a few. These movies can be a lot of fun to watch, but they also tend to reinforce our fears.

When it comes to spiders, the idea that they crawl on you when you sleep is a myth. Spiders tend to shy away from humans, and just because you’re asleep, doesn’t mean they take that as an opportunity to attack. Also, spiders will almost never end up in your mouth. If you sleep with your mouth open, chances are, you’re snoring. No spider is going to want to venture into the cavernous recesses of a mouth, especially when there’s an insane amount of vibration coming from it.

If you scared of getting bit by a spider, it helps to read some statistical facts. That way, you can understand how unwarranted your fears may be. For example, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were only two instances where someone died from spider bites between 2001 and 2005. And both of those were believed to be caused by brown recluse spiders. For those of us in San Joaquin Valley, as well as all of California, that should be good news – the brown recluse is not found in California.

If a spider did happen to crawl over you at night, more than likely the passage will be uneventful. Most spiders do not bite if not provoked, and they’re certainly aren’t out for human blood.

If you find yourself with too many spiders in your home, there are things you can do to make it less inviting.

  • Spiders hate the smell of cinnamon. Burn cinnamon candles, sprinkle cinnamon around windowsills and doors, and keep cinnamon satchels in areas where they’re found.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum. Spiders can hide easily in stacks of mail or piles of clothes. Keep your house tidy, and you’ll see fewer spiders.
  • Fix any holes or rips in window and door screens. These are easy access areas for spiders.

Remember that spiders are helpful to have around because they are mostly harmless, and they love to eat other, more annoying pests. If you feel you have too many spiders in or around your home, and you want them gone, consider a pest control service. They will help you get rid of spiders as well as most other annoying household pests.

www.sanjoaquinpestcontrol.com

The Surprising Cause of Most ‘Spider Bites’

By Douglas Main 05 July 2013

If the thought of spiders makes your skin crawl, you might find it reassuring that the chances of being bitten by a spider are smaller than you imagine, recent research shows.

Most so-called «spider bites» are not actually spider bites, according to researchers and several recent studies. Instead, «spider bites» are more likely to be bites or stings from other arthropods such as fleas, skin reactions to chemicals or infections, said Chris Buddle, an arachnologist at McGill University in Montreal.

«I’ve been handling spiders for almost 20 years, and I’ve never been bitten,» Buddle told LiveScience. «You really have to work to get bitten by a spider, because they don’t want to bite you.»

For one thing, spiders tend to avoid people, and have no reason to bite humans because they aren’t bloodsuckers and don’t feed on humans, Buddle said. «They are far more afraid of us than we are of them,» he said. «They’re not offensive.»

Not very scary

When spider bites do happen, they tend to occur because the eight-legged beasts are surprised — for example when a person reaches into a glove, shoe or nook that they are occupying at the moment, Buddle said.

Even then, however, the majority of spiders are not toxic to humans. Spiders prey on small invertebrates such as insects, so their venom is not geared toward large animals such as humans.

See also:  How Many Black Spider Monkeys Are Left In The World 2018?

Many spiders aren’t even capable of piercing human flesh. Buddle said he has observed spiders «moving their fangs back and forth against his skin,» all to no avail. [Creepy, Crawly & Incredible: Photos of Spiders]

Only about a dozen of the approximately 40,000 spider species worldwide can cause serious harm to the average healthy adult human. In North America, there are only two groups of spiders that are medically important: the widow group (which includes black widows) and the recluse group (brown recluses). These spiders do bite people, and if they live in your area, you should know what they look like, Buddle said. But still, records show bites from these spiders are very infrequent.

The bite of widow spiders like the black widow is one of the only well-recognized spider bites in North America, with obvious, unmistakable symptoms, said Rick Vetter, a retired arachnologist at the University of California at Riverside. Signs can include intense pain and muscle contractions, which occur because the bite interferes with nerves in muscles.

Nowadays, deaths from the bite are rare thanks to widow spider antivenom. Before this was developed, however, treatments for black widow bites included whiskey, cocaine and nitroglycerine, according to a review Vetter published this month in the journal Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America.

Misidentified ‘bites’

Often, black widow and brown recluse spiders are misidentified, and reported in regions where they are extremely unlikely to actually live, Vetter said. For example, In South Carolina, 940 physicians responding to a survey reported a total of 478 brown recluse spider bites in the state — but only one brown recluse bite has ever been definitively confirmed in the state. Recluses are mainly found in the central and southern United States, according to Vetter’s study.

«I’ve had 100 recluse spiders running up my arm, and I’ve never been bitten by one,» Vetter told LiveScience.

The vast majority of «spider bites» are caused by something else, research shows. One study Vetter cited found that of 182 Southern California patients seeking treatment for spider bites, only 3.8 percent had actual spider bites, while 85.7 percent had infections.

And a national study found that nearly 30 percent of people with skin lesions who said they had a spider bite actually had methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Other things that can cause symptoms that mimic spider bites include biting fleas or bedbugs, allergies, poison oak and poison ivy, besides various viral and bacterial infections, Vetter said.

In recent years, doctors have become better at identifying true spider bites, Vetter writes.

But spiders are still widely regarded as dangerous to humans, which is generally not the case, Buddle said.

Spiders are good at killing «nuisance insects,» which may be more likely to bite humans than spiders, Buddle added. «In the vast majority of cases, spiders are our friends.»

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Bedbugs and spider bites can both make you itch — here’s how to tell which one you have

  • Bedbug bites and spider bites share some common symptoms.
  • Both types of bites can cause redness, itching, and swelling.
  • However, there are differences in where each type of bite usually occurs.

Insect bites can be unpleasant and painful no matter what critter caused them. However, suspecting that you have been bitten by bedbugs might be cause for extra alarm, as it could signal a possible infestation in your home.

Spider bites are rare, as only a few species have fangs long enough to pierce human skin, but they can cause symptoms similar to bedbug bites.

Here’s how to tell if you’ve been bitten by a spider or bedbugs.

Your bites might be caused by bedbugs if you woke up with them.

Bed bugs generally feed on human blood during the night while their host sleeps. In fact, they’re attracted to their human hosts by the carbon dioxide and body heat we emit in our sleep. Peak feeding time for bed bugs occurs between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

If you’re waking up with bites that you didn’t have the night before, you may be dealing with a bed bug problem.

Bedbug bites often appear in a line, while spider bites are usually singular.

If you notice that your skin is sporting a line of red, itchy bites, bedbugs are the likely culprits.

According to Verywell Health, bedbugs frequently appear in a line or group. This is because a single bedbug often bites its host more than once during a feeding session. bedbugs do not jump or fly, but walk across the skin.

Spiders, on the other hand, normally only bite once . Their bites are usually unintentional and in response to a perceived threat.

Additionally, the NHS advised that bedbug bites are most frequently found on the neck, hands, face, and arms. Spider bites may occur anywhere on the body.

Spider bites frequently leave distinct puncture marks.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), spider bites usually leave tiny puncture marks on the skin which can often be seen with the naked eye. These puncture marks may appear side by side.

In contrast, bedbug bites normally appear as small red dots that may swell or itch, especially if you have been bitten by bedbugs before. The bites may also have dark red centers, but puncture marks are usually not evident.

Bedbug bites may be an ongoing problem, while spider bites are usually a one-time occurrence.

According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a typical spider might may include red or inflamed skin around the bite site. The bite may also be itchy. In most cases, common spider bites tend to heal within a few days and do not cause any further symptoms.

See also:  Types Of Spider Bites And What They Look Like?

In the case of bed bugs, you may notice new bites each day or every few days as the bedbugs continue to multiply and feed.

Bedbugs aren’t dangerous, but some spider bites can cause serious symptoms.

Though they’re commonly associated with dirty surroundings, bedbugs do not transmit diseases to humans and are just as likely to take up residence in a clean home as a filthy one.

In contrast, a very small proportion of spiders can inflict venomous bites. According to Mayo Clinic, of the thousands of spider species on Earth, only a few have fangs long enough and venom strong enough to inflict a dangerous bite on a human.

In the US, venomous spiders include the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider. Venomous spiders in the UK include the cellar spider, the woodlouse spider, and the false widow spider.

However, the bite of certain venom spiders such as the black widow or brown recluse can cause severe abdominal, back, or chest pain. You might also experience fever, chills, cramping, and excessive sweating.

In very rare cases , the skin around the bite site may die within a few hours or the bite site may develop into an open ulcer. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to a spider bite that could compromise their ability to breathe. You should seek immediate medical care if you notice any of these serious symptoms.

Though bedbug bites themselves are not dangerous, an infestation can cause significant psychological stress and even lead to insomnia.

If you suspect you have been bitten by bedbugs, take steps to check your home for signs of an infestation.

A bedbug infestation can progress rapidly, so it’s important to take aggressive steps to stop the problem early on.

If your doctor agrees that your bites are probably related to bedbugs, contact a pest control group and check your home for signs of bedbugs. These can include brown spots or insect parts on mattresses, sofas, carpets, or curtains. If you find signs of an infestation, your best bet is to employ professional help rather than trying to deal with the problem alone.

SEE ALSO: Bed bug bites vs mosquito bites

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Spider Bites: What You Need to Know

Are They Poisonous?

Spiders are blamed for all kinds of things that turn out to be skin infections or some other bug’s fault. Most don’t even have fangs long enough to break your skin. When they do bite, they’re typically harmless. In the U.S., only the black widow and brown recluse have venom strong enough to really hurt you. And their bites are rarely deadly to humans.

What Do Bites Look Like?

They’re pretty much just like an insect bite. For the most part, you can’t tellВ a spider bit you just from your symptoms. You’ll get a little bump on your skin. It might get red, itchy, and swell up a bit. It might hurt, but no more than a bee sting and usually not for more than an hour or so. That’s basically it — unless you’re bitten by a venomous spider.

Black Widows

This spider’s telltale sign is the red hourglass shape on the bottom of its big, round abdomen — the back part of the body. Black widows are shiny and black and about half an inch long. You can find them anywhere in North America, but mostly they’re in the southern and western areas in the U.S. They like quiet, out-of-the-way places like closets, sheds, garages, and woodpiles.

What’s a Black Widow Bite Like?

The bite feels like a pinprick, so you may not notice it. The first signs might be small, red marks with some swelling. Within an hour, it’ll hurt a little more, and the pain might spread to your back, belly, and chest. You might have stomach cramps, and your belly might feel a little stiff. You may also sweat a lot. In serious cases, you can have trouble breathing, along with a fast heart rate, nausea, and vomiting. The area around the bite may continue to get redder and more swollen.

Brown Recluse

People sometimes say to look for the small violin shape on the part of the body where the legs attach, but that’s easy to get wrong. Check the eyes instead. Most spiders have eight eyes in two rows of four. Here, look for six eyes: two in front, and two on each side. They live mostly in the southern Midwest and parts of the South. They like to stay indoors, tucked away deep in the stuff in your basement or attic.

What’s a Brown Recluse Bite Like?

You might feel a little sting at first, but it’ll hurt more over the next 8 hours. You also might see a small white blister that has a red ring around it, like a bullseye. Sometimes, the skin in the middle of the bite can turn blue or purple, and you may have an open sore that gets bigger for up to 10 days. It doesn’t happen often, but some people also have other symptoms like fever, chills, rash, and an upset stomach.

Tarantulas

Their big, hairy look is much worse than their bite. At least this is true for the ones in the U.S., where you find them mostly in the Southwest. Make no mistake, their bite hurts, sometimes for up to a week. It might also get red and warm, but that’s the worst of it. Some types of tarantulas can also flick fine barbed hairs from their belly at you. If these stick in your skin, they can cause itching, swelling, and irritation.

False Black Widow

These look a lot like black widows, but they don’t have the red hourglass. And their color ranges from purplish-brown to black. They like to cozy up in homes along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. Pain from their bite can get worse in the first hour and you may get some blisters around it. It might make you feel generally sick with a headache or an upset stomach, but this will pass within a few days.

See also:  What Plants Do Spiders Eat?

Hobo Spider

At one point, these were thought to be really dangerous, like the brown recluse. But the past 15 years of research says they’re mostly harmless. You won’t get much more than some redness and mild pain, and maybe some swelling. They’re found in the Pacific Northwest, usually in places like woodpiles and retaining walls. They often have a light stripe running down the middle of their bodies.В

What to Do

The first steps are the same for all spider bites, even those from a black widow or brown recluse. Clean the area with soap and water and put on some antibiotic cream. Then take a cloth and wet it with cold water or wrap it around some ice and put that on the bite. If you were bitten on your arm or leg, raise it up. You can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and an antihistamine for swelling.

When to See a Doctor

Get checked out right away if you have symptoms beyond the bite, like serious pain in your belly, cramps, throwing up, or trouble breathing. You also should see your doctor if you have an open sore or a bullseye mark, or if the bite gets worse after 24 hours. Look out for things like pain around the bite getting worse, redness that’s spreading, and fluid coming from the bite. If you can do it safely, take the spider with you, even if it’s dead.

Treatment for Black Widow Bites

You may get prescription drugs to ease the pain and relax your muscles. There’s an antivenom for black widows, but it’s rarely used because some people have a serious reaction to it. And it’s almost never really needed. It’s saved for more serious bites in the very young, very old, or people who have other health issues.В

Treatment for Brown Recluse Bites

This is mostly about managing the wound so it doesn’t get infected. If you have a bump and redness, your doctor might recommend antihistamines or a cream to help with swelling and itchiness. For an open sore, you need to clean it daily and use antibiotic cream. From there, you should keep an eye on things, especially for symptoms beyond the bite, like fever or chills.

Allergic Reactions

It’s not very common, but just like with bee stings, some people are allergic to spider bites. Watch for swelling in your face or mouth, trouble talking or swallowing, tightness in your chest, or trouble breathing. If you feel any of these symptoms or see them in someone you’re with, get help right away.

How to Prevent a Spider Bite

If you’re poking around in woodpiles, sheds, attics, and other areas, wear long sleeves and a hat, and tuck your pants into your socks. Make sure to shake out work gloves, boots, and clothes you haven’t used in a while, because spiders can hide in them, too. And don’t keep rocks, lumber, or firewood near your house. Inside, don’t put your bed directly against the wall, and don’t store things under it.

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Mayo Clinic: “Spider Bites,” “Spider Bites: First Aid.”

PestWorld.org: “Spider Bites: Symptoms, Signs & Spider Bite Treatment.”

KidsHealth: “First Aid: Spider Bites.”

University of California Riverside: “Brown Recluse ID.”

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health: “Venomous Spiders.”

Merck Manual, Professional Version: “Spider Bites.”

American Family Physician: “Common Spider Bites.”

Medscape: “Medically Significant Spider Bites: Keys to Diagnosis and Treatment.”

University of Florida Health: “Tarantula Spider Bite.”

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: “False Black Widow Spider.”

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “Spider Bites.”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 05, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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