There are two spiders in Michigan with dangerous venomous bites: the black widow and the brown recluse. The black widow may be more famous, but the brown recluse tends to be scarier. At least you always know a black widow when you see it! These spiders, on the other hand, tend to look like every other little brown spider. So, of course, they’re the first thing you think of when you see any little brown spider.
If you don’t want to freak out about every brown spider, you should learn how to spot a brown recluse by sight. This isn’t as hard as it might sound! There are actually quite a few ways to tell a Brown recluse apart from other spiders. You just have to know what to look for. Next time you spot a spider, look for each of the following “tells.” If the spider looks like the brown recluse below, then you’ll know to watch out for it:
Still not sure whether you’re looking at a brown recluse spider? VERY sure you’re looking at one and want help removing it right away? Just want help removing your spiders, no matter what they are?
No matter your spider problem, Griffin Pest is your solution. We’ll remove spiders, figure out how they got in, and make sure they can’t get in again. You won’t have to worry about dealing with spider infestations–venomous or otherwise–ever again.
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Michigan is home to more of the scariest pests around than you might imagine. We play host to venomous spiders, aggressive predators, and something called an ASSASSIN BUG. These pests are different species, live in different environments, and want different things. The only thing they have in common is they all terrify.
These four Michigan-infesting baddies aren’t the most common, destructive, or even dangerous pests we contend with. Not this time. No, these pests are simply the pests we’d least like to find underneath a couch cushion or… in our beds. “We ain’t afraid of no pests,” of course, but even the hardest professional would think twice about approaching these top four scariest pests in Michigan:
Masked Hunter Assassin Bug
First of all: get a load of that name. We told you we weren’t kidding around about true “scariest” contenders here. The Reduvius personatus belongs to the assassin bug family (yeah, there’s a whole family) of insects. Masked hunters are small, glossy dark brown or black insects with wide abdomens, horizontal distinctive “beaks.” Along with their name and fearsome appearance, assassin bugs are scary because of how they feed.
Masked hunters prey on smaller insects like bed bugs. Their “beak” mouthparts are actually hollow and sharp, like a syringe. They stab this mouthpart into their prey, then use it to inject a digestive enzyme into the victim’s body. This enzyme literally liquefies their vicitim’s insides, which the bug then drinks up through its beak–like a straw! That’s… probably the scariest thing we’ve ever heard. Before you pack your bags and move away, you should know that assassin bugs can’t drink your insides. They will bite you if they feel threatened (it’s about as painful as a wasp sting), but that bite isn’t dangerous. That’s gotta be some solace… right?
This spider has a lot of nicknames: “sowbug killer,” “woodlouse,” “pillbug hunter,” “literally the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.” Females are about ½ to ¾”, while males are generally less than ½” long. Their many names reference the fact that woodlouse spiders are predatory. They hunt at night and primarily feed on sowbugs and pillbugs.
Woodlouse spiders are easy to spot for a couple of reasons. Their coloration is distinctive: adults have a purple-brown body and bright orange legs. These legs are arranged largely in front of the spider’s body, enabling it to run very quickly. They also have large, scary forward-pointing fangs. The spider uses these fangs like a pair of scissors to grab its prey. It’s unpleasant. Luckily, Woodlouse spiders rarely bite humans. Even if one did happen to bite you, the bite wouldn’t be medically significant (read: dangerous). Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for the next spider on our list…
Brown Recluse Spider
Yes, unfortunately, the infamous brown recluse spider appears to have taken up residence in Michigan. Brown recluses are also known as “violin” or “fiddleback” spiders because of the dark, violin-shaped mark on their backs. They measure about 1.3 centimeters long (about the size of a quarter), and appear brown, grey-brown, or tan in color. Unlike most spiders, brown recluses only have six eyes.
Unlike the Woodlouse spider, the Brown recluse isn’t just scary. They’re also one of the most dangerous pests in Michigan. Brown recluse spiders may administer a potent hemotoxic venom through their bites. This venom may cause fever, chills, rashes, nausea, vomiting, or even necrosis, or cell death. Fortunately, brown recluse spiders are, well, reclusive. They’re not aggressive and prefer to run or hide from humans. Brown recluse spider bites are very rare, even if the spiders live among people. Brown recluse spiders aren’t the only venomous spider in Michigan, however…
Northern Black Widow Spider
You’re probably already familiar with the Black widow. They’re arguably the most infamously scary spider in the world, much less in the US. And one particular species, the Northern black widow (Latrodectus variolus) lives in Michigan. Northern black widows are about the size of a paper clip. They’re mostly black in color, except for an hourglass-shaped red marking on their abdomens.
Black widows are considered the most venomous spider in North America. The venom they can inject via bites is considered 15 times more potentthan a rattlesnake’s. Black widow venom is a “latrotoxin,” which means it attacks the nervous system. Their bites can trigger nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fevers, and even more severe symptoms. Luckily, black widows bite humans very rarely, and even when they do bite they don’t inject much venom. Black widow bites are rare, but if a black widow bites you, you should take it very seriously.
From the scary dangerous to the just plain scary, Michigan has its fair share of monster pests to contend with. Luckily, you’ve also got your own personal monster slaying force: Griffin Pest Control.
If you’re losing sleep about the creepy-crawlies in your basement or attic, give us a call today. We’ll bust those pests before you can say “Happy Halloween!”
Unfortunately, Michigan is home to several pests that can be quite dangerous. Some, like the black widow spider, are dangerous because of their venom. Others, like the Blacklegged tick, are dangerous because of diseases they can transmit. No matter why these pests are dangerous, however, you’ll want to keep away from them.
Ironically, the best way to keep away from dangerous pests in Michigan is to learn a thing or two about them. If you can reliably identify Michigan’s biggest baddies, you can take important steps to stay safe from them. Here’s what you should know about Michigan’s four most dangerous pests:
The Northern black widow spider’s habitat ranges throughout the eastern and central US. Michigan’s trees and prey make it the ideal environment for the poisonous spider to thrive in. Northern black widows are inch-and-a-half long, black spiders with a red “hour glass” marking on the back of their abdomens. The spider is common around Michigan’s lower peninsula, especially in the Southwest.
While it’s true that they are common in Michigan, widow bites are quite rare. Black widows are timid and only bite if their web is threatened. Widows build their webs anywhere they can catch prey. They’re most commonly found in dark, damp locations like old stumps, hollow logs, fence posts, sheds, crawlspaces, basements, and woodpiles. Symptoms of black widow bites appear after 30 to 60 minutes and include muscle spasms, chills, nausea, fever, sweating, aches and pain, and headaches. If you’re bitten by a black widow, seek medical help immediately.
Brown Recluse Spider
The brown recluse is a poisonous spider native to the Southeast US. Experts traditionally believed that Michigan winters keep brown recluses out. However, from 2011 to 2017, six populations of brown recluse spiders have been identified in Michigan. The most recent population in Davison, Genesee County, lived in an unheated, detached garage. The fact that they lived through the winter in an unheated environment may imply that they can establish themselves in Michigan permanently.
Recluses are around 6 to 20 millimeters long and tan or dark brown. They have a dark, violin-shaped mark on their thorax, or the back upper torso. Brown recluses seek out warmth and dampness and are usually found in rotting wood or cardboard. Brown recluse bites can rarely cause potentially life-threatening necrosis, or flesh death. If you think you’ve spotted or been bitten by a brown recluse, let the experts know right away.
The Ixodes scapularis, aka the “blacklegged” or “deer” tick, is one of three hard ticks commonly found in Michigan. Blacklegged ticks are most common in Western Michigan, but you could find them in any grassy area. Blacklegged ticks are small brown ticks with distinctive black legs (hence their common name). Like all ticks, Blacklegged ticks hunt or “quest” by perching on plant life and clinging to passing prey. This tick species primarily feed on humans during summer months.
Blacklegged ticks are the primary transmitters of Lyme disease in the North-central US. Blacklegged ticks pick up the disease-causing Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria when they feed on deer. Then, when they feed on a human, they transmit the bacteria into that human’s bloodstream. Lyme disease causes fevers, headaches, fatigue, and an expanding rash called Erythema migrans. Avoid tick bites by applying repellent when walking outside and staying out of grassy areas. Remove any ticks that attach themselves to you right away.
You know what mosquitoes are. Everyone knows what mosquitoes are, especially here in Michigan. Yes, of course they’re annoying… but are they really dangerous? Unfortunately, mosquitoes are dangerous because they carry and transmit various diseases. Worldwide, mosquitoes are among the most important and deadly disease transmitters. In Michigan, some species of mosquito may spread the West Nile virus. Mosquitoes pick up the disease when they feed on birds. They spread it via blood contact when they feed on humans.
80% of people afflicted with the West Nile virus never show any symptoms. For about 19% of people, West Nile triggers fevers, headaches, vomiting, and a rash. In less than 1% of cases, West Nile also triggers encephalitis or meningitis. Both of these inflammatory disorders are very serious and could have permanent or fatal effects. The best way to avoid West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito stings. Always wear repellent when walking outside and avoid mosquito breeding environments.
Hopefully we haven’t made you afraid to live in your own state! While it’s true that we’ve got some dangerous pests up here, they’re all more afraid of you than you are of them. By learning to identify pests like these and staying out of their way, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
And, of course, if you do end up confronting dangerous pests in your home, you can give us a call anytime. Michigan’s big bads have nothing on us!