Autumn can start to feel a little creepy with fewer daylight hours, scary Halloween decorations, spooky corn mazes, chilly weather… and spiders. Yes, spiders. As these creepy crawlies come out of hiding from the dry summer heat, you’ll probably see a few sneaking across your bathroom floor or busy building a web right outside of your front door. You and your kids will be glad to know that most spider bites and other bug bites aren’t harmful, but there are some insect species in Texas that are poisonous. If you have a bad case of arachnophobia, be forewarned— the following descriptions might make you squeamish!

Which Bug Bites Are Dangerous?

Dangerous Bug Bite #1 Scorpion: The scorpion is among the most dangerous insects in Texas. They actually don’t bite, they sting. Although their stings aren’t typically lethal, they can cause intense pain (often described as feeling “like an electric current”), and difficulty breathing. More than 18 scorpion species live in Texas, including striped bark scorpions, the most common.

Dangerous Bug Bite #2Brown Recluse: Brown recluse adult spiders are typically more prevalent during spring, but you may also see younger brown recluse spiders in your home after the summer mating season. Although these spiders are described as shy and non-aggressive, one or two bug bites from a brown recluse can lead to severe pain, disfiguring skin ulcers, and even life-threatening complications. These spiders often live in dark areas like cellars, closets, attics, in small crevices, and under sinks and furniture.

Dangerous Bug Bite #3Black Widow: In Texas, black widow spiders are a triple threat. Throughout the state you can find the southern black widow (Latrodectus mactans), the western black widow (L. hesperus), and the northern black widow (L. variolus). They live in dark places including houses, garages, and cellars. If you are bitten by a black widow, you may experience chills, fever, severe pain, tremors, difficulty breathing, and you may quickly lose consciousness.

When to Go to the ER for Bug Bites

If you experience the following symptoms, go to your nearest urgent care or emergency care clinic in Tyler or Longview:

  • Shock
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Overall feelings of malaise
  • Rash
  • Excessive swelling

In some instances, like in the case of a recluse spider, you may feel pain, burning, or itching around the site of the bite but more serious symptoms usually won’t develop for several hours. If you’re unsure what bit you or how the bite will progress, seek medical advice to err on the side of caution.