If you're a Michigander who suffers from arachnophobia--the fear of spiders--then this is a good news/bad news sort of situation.
The bad news: there are in fact venomous spiders in Michigan. The good news: there are only two of them!
Of all the various species of spiders here in the Mitten, only two of those species are venomous and pose a threat to residents and pets across the state. A bite by either of these spiders can cause severe health complications including fever, muscle cramping, and/or blisters.
Although these spider bites are rarely fatal, they do pose a threat to vulnerable populations like the elderly. Here's what you should look out for:
Experts at Michigan State say,
There are rare, isolated populations of brown recluse spiders living in Michigan, but the vast majority of Michiganders will never come within a half-mile of a brown recluse spider.
The brown recluse prefers to hide in dry, secluded habitats like the garden or backyard, but it's a wandering hunter which means it may find its way into your home! You can usually identify a brown recluse by its infamous fiddle-shaped outline on its back.
The northern widow is a common sub-species of black widow spider that is native to the lower peninsula and can typically be found hiding in outdoor woodpiles or logs. You'll know the black widow by the red hourglass markings on her belly.
Funnily enough, it's only the female black widows that are dangerous. Male black widow spiders lack the red hourglass and are not dangerous.
How To Tell If You've Been Bit
If you've been bitten by either of these two venomous spiders you may not realize it at first. If you've been bitten by a black widow you'll probably start to notice a dull body ache start to come on. After time symptoms can elevate to severe muscle cramps, fever, and nausea.
If you are bitten by a brown recluse you may start to notice a sharp pain at the site of the spider bite. A blister may begin to form or worse, the tissue around the bit may begin to die and cause an ulcerated sore. Ouch!
When To Seek Medical Attention
Experts suggest applying ice directly to the bite. If you know that you've been bitten by a black widow seek medical attention immediately! In some cases doctors may prescribe medication to control blood pressure or an antivenom may be necessary.
Bites from a brown recluse don't require such urgency, but continue to monitor symptoms and if they get worse or if the tissue around the bite becomes necrotic you'll need to see a doctor.