Spiders have an ominous, but undeserved reputation. Though most spiders are venomous and considered predators, of the thousands of species found in Canada, few are atually considered a health threat. In fact, spiders are actually helpful in controlling other pests in the home or garden since they feed on other insects and spiders. They generally bite and inject venom into their prey. Spiders, however, rarely bite humans.
Although spiders are often unpopular, the venom of most species is not very toxic to humans, usually resulting in no mare than a slight swelling, inflammation, or itching sensation. Most spiders fangs are too small or weak to puncture human skin. Spiders usually will not attempt to bite unless accidentally trapped against the skin or grasped, although some species guard their egg sacs or young.
Two spiders that can be a health risk are the brown recluse and black widow.
The brown recluse spider is a poisonous spider that is light brown in colour. It is about 1/2 inch in length, has a violin-shaped marking on the thorax and is sometimes called a fiddleback spider due to the unique markings. While most spiders have 8 eyes, the brown recluse has 6. The brown reluse spider received its name because of its colour and reclusive behavior. These spiders make an irregular and sticky web that is used for shelter rather than for trapping insects.
The female black widow spider is a poisonous spider that has a somewhat round, shiny black abdomen with red markings that respemble an hourglass on the underside. The size of the body is approximately 1/2 inch wide and 1 1/2 to 1 3/8 inches long. Despite common opinion, the female rarely kills the male after mating.