Jefferson Lab is in a natural setting, and as such, we interact with all types of wildlife. Most of this wildlife will typically not enter buildings. However, sometimes spiders will seek dry, dark areas, therefore we need to be aware of the hazards and implement the proper controls.
Black widows are present in the Hampton Roads area; they live in wood piles, under house eaves and in other generally undisturbed places. They are known for the seriousness of their bite symptoms, including pain radiating from the site, nausea, overall body-aches, profuse sweating, and labored breathing. Black widow bites are much more serious in children than in adults; in either case, if bitten you should immediately contact Occupational Medicine at 7539, or seek emergency medical attention if after hours.
There is some debate concerning the presence of brown recluse spiders in Hampton Roads. These spiders build irregular webs in dry, generally undisturbed places. Bites from brown recluse spiders are rare; it is not an aggressive spider and generally only bites when pressed against the skin. However, a brown recluse bite causes severe local tissue damage and can possibly lead to necrosis. Again, if bitten, you should immediately contact Occupational Medicine at 7539, or seek emergency medical attention if after hours.
Symptoms from other types of spider bites include brown spots in the middle of the bite area with localized swelling. If there is any doubt as to the seriousness of a bite, you should promptly seek medical attention. Tips to avoid spider bites include not working in areas where vision is not adequate, as well as wearing proper hand gloves and other long clothing.
Submitted: Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 3:00pm