Of Florida’s spiders, only four have venomous bites: the brown recluse and the widow spiders, black, brown, and red.
Did you know that the red widow spider only exists in Florida? We learned about it some years ago during a Florida Native Plant Society meeting, where the speaker had studied red widow spiders along the Yearling Trail and Pat’s Island in the Ocala National Forest. The red widow is found in sand pine scrub habitats from the Ocala National Forest south through the Lake Wales Ridge and into Martin County.
The brown recluse is most troublesome, resulting in more bites per year than the others due to its tendency to crawl into loose clothing or sleeping bags. Keep that tent zipper zipped!
A brown recluse bite may bubble up into a hard blister. Its venom dissolves tissue, leading to death of tissue at the bite site and a nasty, scarring divot in the skin.
Other spider bites can cause a painful swelling and itching. If you’re having any kind of reaction to a spider bite, seek medical attention quickly.