Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Wired)   An attempt to debunk the myth of the terrifying brown recluse spider   (wired.com ) divider line
    More: Unlikely, brown recluse spider, control structure, museum collections, skin lesions, poison control center, myths, biology, arachnids  
•       •       •

6071 clicks; posted to Geek » on 17 Mar 2014 at 2:53 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



79 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2014-03-17 01:33:38 PM  
I'll tolerate spiders I find outside my house in a garden or a bush.  But, if I spot one inside my house, it is sure to feel the sting of my shoe.
 
2014-03-17 01:51:33 PM  
I'm generally tolerant of spiders I find in the house assuming they're not someplace that's in the way. If I encounter one that is in the way, I tend to catch them and relocate them outside. Exceptions are made for wolf spiders- they can stay regardless, I just shoo them out of the way.

Now, if the fiancee happens to see one regardless of what it is, I'm going to get told that it has to die regardless of what it is.
 
2014-03-17 01:52:54 PM  

Prey4reign: I'll tolerate spiders I find outside my house in a garden or a bush.  But, if I spot one inside my house, it is sure to feel the sting of my shoe.


i182.photobucket.com
 
2014-03-17 02:32:51 PM  
You know who else wore all brown?
 
2014-03-17 02:37:52 PM  
The other spiders that are deadly LOOK scarier.  Black Widow?  Yeah...it dresses scary with a big blood stain in it's back (sometimes in the shape of an hourglass...which really is a warning to tell you that if it bites you, the hourglass is turned over and the clock is ticking on the end of your life).  .  Redback?  Terrifying.  Figure's it's in Australia...i guess when everything will kill you, what's a spider.   Funnel-Web?  Totally creepy and scary..and again, it's Australia.  What did Australia do wrong to get 2 deadly spiders?   Brazilian Wandering Spider?  C'mon, that thing looks like it could suck all the blood out of a human in a couple days.  The brown recluse?  It looks like a little house spider with little fangs that can't penetrate a lot of clothing.  The bite isn't even painful...but then after a week or so, you have a gaping hole in your body where it bit you.  It's pretty clear that the brown recluse is the spawn of satan.  Misunderstood?  No...it's a stealthy deadly skin-necrotizing bastard spider because it looks so harmless.
 
2014-03-17 02:41:55 PM  
Um...I am pretty sure brown recluse spiders do exist and they are venomous.  Maybe not DEADLY, but still unpleasant.
 
2014-03-17 02:50:15 PM  
Okay. Cool story bro time. Not too long ago, I was a contractor at a major textile processing plant in the south. I was there to inspect the machinery and generally streamline some of the production steps. Among the many products that this plant was responsible for were pillows.

I was inspecting one of the larger warehouses, when I noticed that there was an unsecured ladder going up into a dark, cramped loft/crawlspace at the edge of the building. I went up for a look around, and I noticed bales and bales of packing material that was meant to go into the pillows once the fabric was three-quarters stitched. One of the workers later told me that this was where they stored all of this stuff until they were ready for it.

Because I wanted to get a feel for how dense these bundles of material were in case they were too heavy to store in an attic, and because I like to poke things, I poked one of the bales of pillow stuffing. I withdrew my hand quickly, for immediately afterwards dozens of brown recluse spiders boiled out of the various nooks and crannies in the material, as though some bug had alighted and they were looking for a meal. As I watched in horror, the spiders milled around for about thirty seconds, and then vanished back into the bale, as though they had never been there.

I talked about this later with the warehouse foreman, who told me that they were aware that brown recluses liked to nest in the bales of pillow stuffing up in the warehouse attic. It was the job of one of the braver workers to sort of whack the bales with a stick when they brought them down to drive out the spiders before the stuff went into the pillows, and that "they were pretty sure they got all of them". Not wanting to spend any more time in this house of terror, I accepted his answer and went on my way.

I am contractually obligated to not mention which retail outlets these pillows get shipped to (you  would recognize them, and there's a lot of them), but I would suggest throwing away your pillow if you ever hear any slight scratching sounds coming from within them. I haven't been brave enough to look up how long brown recluse eggs can go without hatching.
 
2014-03-17 02:51:45 PM  
Creepy, crawly, creepy, crawly.....
 
2014-03-17 02:59:38 PM  
 "Note the three pairs of eyes: That's the best way to identify these guys."

So they have six eyes?
 
2014-03-17 03:01:42 PM  
The brown recluse is a pussy.  Now the Hobo spider, that's a mean motherfarker.  It's not even spring and I've killed one of those rat bastards.  I figure by the time it snows again at least another thousand will die.  Nasty goddamned aggressive bastards
 
2014-03-17 03:05:13 PM  

dryknife:  "Note the three pairs of eyes: That's the best way to identify these guys."

So they have six eyes?


As opposed to the normal 8 eyes for spiders, yes.
 
2014-03-17 03:06:29 PM  
I lucid dream a lot, but sometimes I lose control. I had a dream the other night that an alien, looked like a grey but was black in color, was f*cking with me over and over. In one of "his" little stunts he hid behind the door jamb of my bathroom and let loose a giant spider. I tried desperately to crawl toward my shoes to be able to smoosh the spider before it got to me and we met in the middle. It managed to bite me but I got my shoe and smooshed it. Then out come a million other spiders.

I then finally woke up. Had to change my shirt because I was sweating so much. At least I hope it was sweat.
 
2014-03-17 03:06:35 PM  
Trying to fight entrenched misinformation is a difficult thing. I have had a couple of FB "battles" with people in California that swear the brown recluse is both a native and widely distributed. Even quoting some of the foremost entomologists and arachnologists from the state will not dissuade these people. I have even quoted the guy from the story,Vetter, and provided his personal contact information for those people but, nope, they don't believe the evidence at hand.

I used to be bothered by spiders, and I still don't exactly like them, but instead of killing them I attempt to relocate them to a safer environment. There are only a couple of exceptions to that rule, and one of them is the Black Widow. They die a quick death if I find them.
 
2014-03-17 03:29:58 PM  
This is NOT a brown recluse bite. It's anthrax

I don't know why but this made me chuckle. Maybe I'm just a sick bastard.
 
2014-03-17 03:42:29 PM  
great article, misinformation is sometimes scarier than the information itself

when I was growing up some scout leader was telling us that these things lived in the very woods where we were camping. dick.

and back then we didn't have google to quickly dispel that possibility. anyway, good read
 
2014-03-17 03:46:46 PM  
CSB time.

When I was stationed in Texas I knew a stripper that had some pretty nasty scarring on part of the inside of her arm from a Brown Recluse bite.
 
2014-03-17 03:48:22 PM  
So apparently brown recluse can live 6 months without food and their eggs can take 30 days to hatch.

I wish I knew which manufacturer made those pillows now. because that's terrifying.
 
2014-03-17 03:48:36 PM  

Cagey B: Okay. Cool story bro time. Not too long ago, I was a contractor at a major textile processing plant in the south. I was there to inspect the machinery and generally streamline some of the production steps. Among the many products that this plant was responsible for were pillows.

I was inspecting one of the larger warehouses, when I noticed that there was an unsecured ladder going up into a dark, cramped loft/crawlspace at the edge of the building. I went up for a look around, and I noticed bales and bales of packing material that was meant to go into the pillows once the fabric was three-quarters stitched. One of the workers later told me that this was where they stored all of this stuff until they were ready for it.

Because I wanted to get a feel for how dense these bundles of material were in case they were too heavy to store in an attic, and because I like to poke things, I poked one of the bales of pillow stuffing. I withdrew my hand quickly, for immediately afterwards dozens of brown recluse spiders boiled out of the various nooks and crannies in the material, as though some bug had alighted and they were looking for a meal. As I watched in horror, the spiders milled around for about thirty seconds, and then vanished back into the bale, as though they had never been there.

I talked about this later with the warehouse foreman, who told me that they were aware that brown recluses liked to nest in the bales of pillow stuffing up in the warehouse attic. It was the job of one of the braver workers to sort of whack the bales with a stick when they brought them down to drive out the spiders before the stuff went into the pillows, and that "they were pretty sure they got all of them". Not wanting to spend any more time in this house of terror, I accepted his answer and went on my way.

I am contractually obligated to not mention which retail outlets these pillows get shipped to (you  would recognize them, and there's a lot of them), but I would suggest throwing away ...


Thanks for that.  I didn't want to sleep anymore, ever.

/FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
//UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
///UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
 
2014-03-17 03:48:55 PM  
This guy thinks brown recluse spiders live a lot further down in Florida than that map indicates.  Or he did think that until he died.
 
2014-03-17 03:51:52 PM  

cannotsuggestaname: Trying to fight entrenched misinformation is a difficult thing. I have had a couple of FB "battles" with people in California that swear the brown recluse is both a native and widely distributed. Even quoting some of the foremost entomologists and arachnologists from the state will not dissuade these people. I have even quoted the guy from the story, Vetter, and provided his personal contact information for those people but, nope, they don't believe the evidence at hand.


It's maddening. I had plenty of similar arguments with friends and acquaintances in Upstate NY back in the 90's. Fourth-hand anecdotal "evidence" always trumped the Cornell entomologists.
 
2014-03-17 03:53:08 PM  
I went through basic training in the fall at Ft Leonard Wood in MS back in 1987.  One of my squad-mates, a kid from Guam got a brown-recluse bite on his arm and wound up disappearing to the infirmary (i.e., hospital) for over month.  As I was held-over waiting for my security clearance to come though, I was still there when he came back with a quarter inch wide scar from the back of his hand up to his elbow where they'd opened him up to remove the necrotizing flesh.  He said they told him he was lucky to still have his arm and it took another month before he could even start doing pushups again.  On a side note, December in Missouri with a kid who's never been off Guam was pretty funny....that guy was wearing every stitch of clothing the Army had issued to him and he was STILL cold.
 
2014-03-17 04:01:33 PM  

Manfred J. Hattan: This guy thinks brown recluse spiders live a lot further down in Florida than that map indicates.  Or he did think that until he died.


Doctors in states a thousand miles away from brown recluse regions diagnose brown recluse bites all the time. I could be convinced but I didn't see anything in that article that was conclusive. At any rate central Florida is close enough he could have traveled and got the bite
 
2014-03-17 04:02:29 PM  
It's not a myth that the BR is terrifying.  Have you SEEN one of those bites?

/shudder
 
2014-03-17 04:06:24 PM  

cgraves67: dryknife:  "Note the three pairs of eyes: That's the best way to identify these guys."

So they have six eyes?

As opposed to the normal 8 eyes for spiders, yes.


Knock yourself out.
fc07.deviantart.net
 
2014-03-17 04:06:28 PM  

Hella Fark: when I was growing up some scout leader was telling us that these things lived in the very woods where we were camping. dick.


I went to a week long scouting camp when I was a young'n. The *very first day* someone discovered a huge black widow nursery in the latrine. I didn't shiat for a week. I'm probably lucky I didn't end up compacted.
 
2014-03-17 04:12:37 PM  

JohnBigBootay: Manfred J. Hattan: This guy thinks brown recluse spiders live a lot further down in Florida than that map indicates.  Or he did think that until he died.

Doctors in states a thousand miles away from brown recluse regions diagnose brown recluse bites all the time diagnose necrotic wounds as brown recluse bites with no proof. I could be convinced but I didn't see anything in that article that was conclusive. At any rate central Florida is close enough he could have traveled and got the bite

FTFY
 
2014-03-17 04:16:10 PM  
I grew up in MS.  The last house my parents had in MS was a freaking hotbed of spiders.  There were a great many brown recluse spiders in that house.  That said, only one bite was recorded in their 10-12 years in that house.  My dad got bit on the chest one night.  He has a 1" scar.

However, I woke up one morning, grabbed a t-shirt(from the floor of course...I was a teenager), and put it on.  I immediately felt crawly things and whipped that shirt off instantly.  Two (2) brown recluses crawled out of it to their demise.

It also had VERY large wolf spiders(that's what we called them anyway)...I mean the ones whose legs span 3-4 inches.  It's not pleasant to walk into the bathroom at night and flick on the switch and see one of those.  Even now, 20+ years later, I always turn on the light going into the bathroom at night.

The garden spiders were pretty amazing and we'd feed them crickets from the yard by tossing them into their webs.
 
2014-03-17 04:17:07 PM  
Spider octofecta in play?
 
2014-03-17 04:18:06 PM  

Repo Man: FTFY


Sure, ok. My main point being that just because the person sought professional help and had actual doctors and shiat is in no way proof that gentleman had a bite from a brown recluse. Doctors be farking that shiat us just as much as regular folk.
 
2014-03-17 04:29:23 PM  

Cagey B: Okay. Cool story bro time. Not too long ago, I was a contractor at a major textile processing plant in the south. I was there to inspect the machinery and generally streamline some of the production steps. Among the many products that this plant was responsible for were pillows.

I was inspecting one of the larger warehouses, when I noticed that there was an unsecured ladder going up into a dark, cramped loft/crawlspace at the edge of the building. I went up for a look around, and I noticed bales and bales of packing material that was meant to go into the pillows once the fabric was three-quarters stitched. One of the workers later told me that this was where they stored all of this stuff until they were ready for it.

Because I wanted to get a feel for how dense these bundles of material were in case they were too heavy to store in an attic, and because I like to poke things, I poked one of the bales of pillow stuffing. I withdrew my hand quickly, for immediately afterwards dozens of brown recluse spiders boiled out of the various nooks and crannies in the material, as though some bug had alighted and they were looking for a meal. As I watched in horror, the spiders milled around for about thirty seconds, and then vanished back into the bale, as though they had never been there.

I talked about this later with the warehouse foreman, who told me that they were aware that brown recluses liked to nest in the bales of pillow stuffing up in the warehouse attic. It was the job of one of the braver workers to sort of whack the bales with a stick when they brought them down to drive out the spiders before the stuff went into the pillows, and that "they were pretty sure they got all of them". Not wanting to spend any more time in this house of terror, I accepted his answer and went on my way.

I am contractually obligated to not mention which retail outlets these pillows get shipped to (you  would recognize them, and there's a lot of them), but I would suggest throwing away ...


Thanks for the nightmare fuel...jerk. :P
 
2014-03-17 04:30:28 PM  
www.malevolentdesign.org
Hai, guyz!
 
2014-03-17 04:31:05 PM  

Cagey B: Okay. Cool story bro time. Not too long ago, I was a contractor at a major textile processing plant in the south. I was there to inspect the machinery and generally streamline some of the production steps. Among the many products that this plant was responsible for were pillows.

I was inspecting one of the larger warehouses, when I noticed that there was an unsecured ladder going up into a dark, cramped loft/crawlspace at the edge of the building. I went up for a look around, and I noticed bales and bales of packing material that was meant to go into the pillows once the fabric was three-quarters stitched. One of the workers later told me that this was where they stored all of this stuff until they were ready for it.

Because I wanted to get a feel for how dense these bundles of material were in case they were too heavy to store in an attic, and because I like to poke things, I poked one of the bales of pillow stuffing. I withdrew my hand quickly, for immediately afterwards dozens of brown recluse spiders boiled out of the various nooks and crannies in the material, as though some bug had alighted and they were looking for a meal. As I watched in horror, the spiders milled around for about thirty seconds, and then vanished back into the bale, as though they had never been there.

I talked about this later with the warehouse foreman, who told me that they were aware that brown recluses liked to nest in the bales of pillow stuffing up in the warehouse attic. It was the job of one of the braver workers to sort of whack the bales with a stick when they brought them down to drive out the spiders before the stuff went into the pillows, and that "they were pretty sure they got all of them". Not wanting to spend any more time in this house of terror, I accepted his answer and went on my way.

I am contractually obligated to not mention which retail outlets these pillows get shipped to (you  would recognize them, and there's a lot of them), but I would suggest throwing away your pillow if you ever hear any slight scratching sounds coming from within them. I haven't been brave enough to look up how long brown recluse eggs can go without hatching.


It's a shame the graveyard shift foreman didn't take you down to the subbasement with a high pressure hose to also solve the mystery of the rat problem there.
 
2014-03-17 04:32:46 PM  

Cagey B: Okay. Cool story bro time...

i59.tinypic.com
 
2014-03-17 04:34:39 PM  

dryknife:  "Note the three pairs of eyes: That's the best way to identify these guys."

So they have six eyes?


Well, they wear glasses and a monocle, really
 
2014-03-17 04:45:14 PM  

Explodo: However, I woke up one morning, grabbed a t-shirt(from the floor of course...I was a teenager), and put it on. I immediately felt crawly things and whipped that shirt off instantly.


Just as I was reading this, my cell phone buzzed in my shirt pocket.
 
2014-03-17 04:45:42 PM  

Thunderboy: cannotsuggestaname: Trying to fight entrenched misinformation is a difficult thing. I have had a couple of FB "battles" with people in California that swear the brown recluse is both a native and widely distributed. Even quoting some of the foremost entomologists and arachnologists from the state will not dissuade these people. I have even quoted the guy from the story, Vetter, and provided his personal contact information for those people but, nope, they don't believe the evidence at hand.

It's maddening. I had plenty of similar arguments with friends and acquaintances in Upstate NY back in the 90's. Fourth-hand anecdotal "evidence" always trumped the Cornell entomologists.


The doctor was pretty surprised when my dad brought in the spider (in a jar) than bit him in eastern Maryland. Can't remember what he was doing there, but he was there for work. A brown recluse got him on the inside of his right ankle. They had to remove some of the tissue inside of the bite, and he was down and out for 3-4 weeks when get got home. Probably have some pictures of the ankle somewhere around my house. My dad said it would have been kind of awesome if it didn't hurt so much.
 
2014-03-17 04:58:30 PM  
Brown recluses are poisonous as shiat and extremely common, but it's balanced by the fact that they simply will not bite you unless you're farking trying to hug and kiss the bastards.

Basically the bite condition for a brown recluse is "trapped tightly against the skin".  If you see one crawling on you, just brush that bastard off or squish it instead of giving it a firm but loving caress and you won't get bitten.

They're sort of the diamondback rattlesnake of the spider world-- if you're bitten and actually injected, sure, you're in trouble, but there's almost no way that you getting bitten wasn't your own farking fault.

// I'd go with the "brush it off", indoors a Brown Recluse is  excellent pest control.
// The ones that are poisonous and relatively aggressive are black widows.
 
2014-03-17 05:00:26 PM  

Smeggy Smurf: The brown recluse is a pussy.  Now the Hobo spider, that's a mean motherfarker. It's not even spring and I've killed one of those rat bastards.  I figure by the time it snows again at least another thousand will die.  Nasty goddamned aggressive bastards

I greatly dislike that the fearsome hobo spider and harmless "giant house spider" are nearly indistinguishable. A couple times a year I'll find them trapped in the bathtub when I go to step into the shower in the morning. Come their mating season, these mofo's love to retreat to the warmth of inside a house. I've tried my best at sealing up every nook and cranny, but they find a way in regardless.

Shower spider is watching you shower!
fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net

Flushed down the toilet is their fate - flushed 3x's for good measure.
 
2014-03-17 05:01:05 PM  
One of my cousins was bitten by a brown recluse and spent about a month in the hospital. Another time his appendix burst and he spent another month in the hospital. The time he got struck by lightening, he didn't have to spend near as much time in the hospital.


/We call him Lucky.
 
2014-03-17 05:02:52 PM  
Well, I have seen them in Michigan, despite what TFA says. Yes, I'm sure (I used to be a bit of an arachnophile, so I knew my spiders) and yes, I've been really close to them and counted the eyes.
 
2014-03-17 05:03:05 PM  
Only 10% of its bites cause necrotic skin lesions, so there's nothing to worry about.

/tell me I'm not the only one that thinks that number is fraking scary
 
2014-03-17 05:06:26 PM  
I had a lesion/sore on my scalp a couple of years ago. Dr. at first suspected an insect bite or skin infection. Turned out to be shingles, but he was fooled because the skin thing presented before the pain. Valtrex is worth every damn penny they want for it.
 
2014-03-17 05:10:01 PM  
Most bites happen when you roll over in the night or put your foot into a shoe. See, there's nothing to fear. I read that and now I'm not going to roll over in bed for a month and I'm shaking out my shoes as I type this. This author is terrible at allaying fears.
 
2014-03-17 05:12:38 PM  

Weenie_Boy: I went through basic training in the fall at Ft Leonard Wood in MS back in 1987.  One of my squad-mates, a kid from Guam got a brown-recluse bite on his arm and wound up disappearing to the infirmary (i.e., hospital) for over month.  As I was held-over waiting for my security clearance to come though, I was still there when he came back with a quarter inch wide scar from the back of his hand up to his elbow where they'd opened him up to remove the necrotizing flesh.  He said they told him he was lucky to still have his arm and it took another month before he could even start doing pushups again.  On a side note, December in Missouri with a kid who's never been off Guam was pretty funny....that guy was wearing every stitch of clothing the Army had issued to him and he was STILL cold.


I was there in 91, from July till nearly december. Farking brown recluse and deer tick infestation. To this day I've never been back to missouri. Place is... not pleasant IMO.
 
2014-03-17 05:19:08 PM  

dittybopper: Creepy, crawly, creepy, crawly.....


Our favorite Halloween decoration is named Boris.
 
2014-03-17 05:22:34 PM  
Got bit on the back of the neck, like in the picture.
Left a brown birthmark the size of a 50 cent piece that lasted for ~5 years
Got over it.
 
2014-03-17 05:23:37 PM  

Ambivalence: Um...I am pretty sure brown recluse spiders do exist and they are venomous.  Maybe not DEADLY, but still unpleasant.


Yeah, I'm not sure how it's a "myth" if they exist, live in the US, bite, and are venomous, all things that TFA confirms. It may be blown out of proportion, but it's not a myth if it actually exists. I think they've been watching Mythbusters too much.

Hell, their own graphic shows that the regular brown recluse covers about 1/4 of the country,and the other species cover a large portion of the south, and about half of Arizona. So while people may be thinking more things are recluse bites than they really are, they didn't do a good job of showing that the things'don't live in the US'...

Smeggy Smurf: The brown recluse is a pussy.   Now the Hobo spider, that's a mean motherfarker.  It's not even spring and I've killed one of those rat bastards.  I figure by the time it snows again at least another thousand will die.  Nasty goddamned aggressive bastards


I hear we're supposed to have those here, but luckily I haven't run into one yet. Supposedly, they aren't the best climbing spiders out there, so you tend to find them more on your ground floor or your basement. When we lived in the previous house, and moved our bedroom to the basement, I out out sticky spider traps, but I still have no idea if the random brown spiders that I occasionally found were hobo spiders or not. I'm just happy that we don't have farking black widows everywhere like I did in AZ.
 
2014-03-17 05:24:24 PM  

Russ1642: Most bites happen when you roll over in the night or put your foot into a shoe. See, there's nothing to fear. I read that and now I'm not going to roll over in bed for a month and I'm shaking out my shoes as I type this. This author is terrible at allaying fears.


Their fangs are not long enough to get through most cloth.  Just wear socks and you can put on your shoes without going all OCD... now sleeping.... I got no constructive advice to give.
 
2014-03-17 05:25:27 PM  
www.funnyjunksite.com
 
2014-03-17 05:28:46 PM  
Used to see them in my garage.  Stayed aware, kept my distance, and kept it tidy enough to avoid much proliferation.  ("I'll tolerate you, as long as you mutha farkers don't farkin' even think about coming inside.")  And then my garage was colonized by house geckos.  Know what terrifies a spider?

/there are none left out there to ask
 
Displayed 50 of 79 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all


View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter






In Other Media
  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report