Are there any venomous spiders in Washington?

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According to the WA State Department of health, these are the spiders to be concerned about:

Nearly all spiders are venomous to some extent, yet very few are harmful to people. There are two spiders of medical significance in Washington, the black widow spider, and the yellow sac spider. Although spiders usually are not aggressive, bites can happen when they become trapped or accidentally disturbed.

How can you recognize a black recluse spider and where are they found?

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Black widow spiders are common to eastern Washington. Adult female black widows have dangerous venom, but will often try to escape rather than bite unless guarding their eggs. Female black widows are normally shiny black with a red hourglass marking on the underside of their abdomen. The marking can also be yellowish-orange and its shape can vary, resembling an hourglass, two marks, or a single dot. The body of an adult female is relatively large, about a half-inch long.

Black widow spiders prefer dark undisturbed areas, such as woodpiles, bales of hay, water meter boxes, under eaves, and fences. Indoors, they may be found in undisturbed, cluttered areas in basements, crawl spaces, or unused areas of garages. Female black widows build messy-looking webs in or behind objects in secluded and protected locations.

What about the yellow sac? Where are they found?

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Yellow sac spiders (Cheiracanthium species) are found in eastern Washington and in the Seattle area. Their body is small, about a quarter to a half-inch long. Yellow sac spiders can be yellow, white, or even greenish, and their legs and upper body darker than the abdomen. These spiders can bite when trapped against a person's skin in clothing or bedding.

Yellow sac spiders are mainly garden-dwellers in the warm season, but can make their way indoors in the fall. They move quickly, and are good climbers. Indoors, they are often found along walls and ceilings. Instead of webs, yellow sac spiders build small silken sacs where they hide during the daytime. Outdoors, the sacs may be found under planters, firewood, and in curled up leaves. In homes, the sacs can be found in the corners of walls and ceilings, behind shelves and pictures, and along windowsills.

Read more about spiders and how to deal with them, here.

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