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Oklahoma home to dangerous spider species

Oklahoma is the natural habitat for two of the world’s most dangerous spiders.

“The Brown Recluse, and Black Widow — those are two of the most venomous spiders we have in the United States,” said Dr. Hal Reed, professor of biology at ORU.

On Oct. 29, students spotted a spider with the unmistakable red hourglass mark of the Black Widow outside
the GC.

Junior Sarah Pease quickly informed security of the spider. Security handled the situation with a weighty stomp.The whole ordeal lasted less than five minutes.

Both Brown Recluses and Black Widows are commonly found in Midwest states.

“Tulsa is the epicenter of Brown Recluses,” Reed said.

On Oct. 29, Kelsey Maggard, a sophomore, was bitten by a Brown Recluse.

Her left arm bears the proof of its venom. The poison ate through her skin, which is a common symptom of a Recluse bite. Symptoms also include fever, redness, mild to intense pain,
and nausea.

ERgent Care on Riverside confirmed Maggard’s suspicions of the bite being that of a Recluse.

“They gave me a steroid shot, and medicine for 10 days,” Maggard said.

Earlier in October, sophomore Augustine Mendoza’s pinky was bitten by what he believes was a Brown Recluse.

“It took me about a week to believe it was a spider bite,” Mendoza said.

As time passed, the bite became annoying to the point that Mendoza could not write.

“My finger was swelling and it looked infected,” Mendoza said.

ORU is doing all they can to keep bugs out, but it’s nearly impossible to eliminate
all bugs.

Due to the spiders’ tendency to live in dark undisturbed spaces, they are hard to find. The spiders can usually be found hiding under beds, or
in closets.

“You never completely get rid of bugs,”  said Tim Philley, executive vice president
of ORU.

The university took advantage of the students’ absence during fall break 2013 to spray the dorms, but there will always be bugs no matter where you go.

“Last year, we had a cricket infestation [in Tulsa], this year I guess it’s a spider infestation. It doesn’t exactly surprise me, but I don’t like it,” said sophomore Ashley Beck.

If you spot a dangerous spider on campus, contact security or locate your heaviest footwear.

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