In-laws … bill collectors … door-to-door salespeople. While the list of unwanted visitors to Michiganders’ homes can be endless, Rose Pest Solutions contends the brown recluse spider will almost certainly not be one of them.
“Brown recluse spiders are pretty rare in Michigan as we are outside of their natural range,” said Mark Sheperdigian, Rose entomologist and vice president of Technical Services. “They are prevalent in the country’s middle, western and southern states and can be found in southern Ohio. They do not, however, extend into Michigan.”
Individuals will often self-diagnose and health professionals can misdiagnose approximately 40 different medical conditions as brown recluse bites.
“There are many explanations that should be ruled out before determining a bump or sore is from a brown recluse bite,” Sheperdigian said. “The only way to be certain is to actually see the spider.”
This species lives communally in other parts of the country where homeowners seldom will find only one, but rather an infestation of dozens or even hundreds. While it is possible for a brown recluse to be transported into Michigan via a box or other container, it is not common and even less likely that a structure will become infested.
Suggesting that milder Michigan winters are conducive to a growing brown recluse spider population is unfounded as they aren’t being discovered with any regularity, as well as not being found in outdoor locations.
Brown recluse spiders generally thrive indoors. They are not aggressive and only bite when they are provoked. Though their bite can be serious, mysterious wounds identified as brown recluse spider bites are more likely to be caused by ticks or a Staphylococcus bacterial infection.
Other bumps and sores frequently misdiagnosed as a brown recluse bite include poison oak or ivy, shingles, diabetic ulcer, skin cancer, fungal infection, pyoderma gangrenosum, bacterial infection or even an adverse reaction to prescribed drugs.
In their combined 44 years with Rose Pest Solutions, Sheperdigian and his fellow entomologist and manager of education and training, Mark Vanderwerp, have seen only one confirmed brown recluse spider infestation in Michigan in a house where previous tenants had moved in from Kansas, a key brown recluse locale.
“We know it can happen, but we see no indications that it’s common or should be a major concern for Michigan residents,” Vanderwerp said.
To test the premise that brown recluse spiders are extremely rare in Michigan, Rose Pest Solutions invites residents of the Great Lakes State to submit a photo of one or more suspected brown recluse spiders found in or around their home to [email protected]. Submissions must include the homeowner’s name, address, phone number and email address.
Any Michigander submitting an identifiable brown recluse spider image from his or her home will receive a complimentary residential visit and inspection. If brown recluse spiders are detected, Rose will provide free treatment to eradicate the infestation, as well as provide a $300 reward. The offer runs through Sept. 28.
For more information about brown recluse or any spider, contact [email protected]. For general information about the company and its other services, go to www.rosepestsolutions.com.