Brown recluse spider infestations on rise after Oklahoma's mild winter, summer drought

TULSA - This season a growing number of Tulsans are reporting dangerous spider sightings.

A mild winter appears to have ushered in an unusually high number of brown recluse spiders, also known as fiddlebacks. And now the summer's drought is bringing them indoors.

David Grady from Mother Nature's Pest Control says the spiders are drawn to parts of the home where they can find moisture.

"The porcelain toilet, it's cold to our touch," Grady said. "But they can actually get a drink of water off that."

Resident Sheila Disler called in an exterminator after she noticed a large number of brown recluse in her home.

"I think they are worse than I've ever seen them," she said. "We've seen a lot this summer. Especially in the bathrooms. I had one on my towel the other day."

Grady found a dozen brown recluse crawling over adhesive boards around Disler's water heater.

"I've heard horror stories about what they have done to people," Disler said. "So I knew calling in the professionals was a good idea."

Disler had good reason to worry.

Dr. Theron Bliss with Omni Medical Group says the spider's venom can cause skin irritation, disfigurement or even death.

"It can be fatal in rare cases. There is potential," Bliss said. "Those are the ones we want to catch early."

Bliss says children and the elderly are at the highest risk.

Exterminating products are available at most local hardware stores, but if you have a serious infestation, Grady says it's best to call in a professional.

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