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Black widow spider bite reported in Cumberland County

Updated: Wednesday, September 4 2013, 05:56 PM CDT
Reported by: Kyle Rogers

LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP -- Lower Allen Township officials took to Facebook to warn residents of reported black widow spider bites.

A township official confirms somebody reported a bite from the spider known for its toxic venom. While the name and condition of the person involved was not released, officials say it happened in the vicinity of Morningside Drive.

Sherry Swank, who’s lived along the small Cumberland County drive for several years, said she’s noticed more spiders and insects in her home and yard this summer.

“There were more spider webs than normal,” said Swank. “But I saw this one that was a little bit bigger.”

Swank said she was in her basement when she discovered the mysterious spider and soon after killed it. 

Known for its hourglass figure, the black widow is not a stranger to Pennsylvania. By the same token, is a rarity to see, according to experts. 

On its Facebook page, township officials said they do not plan to spray the area after getting the report of the bites. However, the post linked to the United States Department of Labor for tips on how to recognize and handle black widow encounters. 

The fact sheet states the black widow is found outside in woodpiles, rubble piles, under rocks and stones, as well as in sheds and garages. Inside, black widows have been known to inhabit cluttered areas, typically in basements.

Symptoms of a bite include nausea, extreme sweating, increased blood pressure, and fever. Varying from case to case, victims may experience some pain or none at all. However, bite marks can swell and lead to back and abdominal pain. 

Bug spray comes in handy, especially for those who spend a lot of time outside. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, hat, gloves, and boots while handling firewood and lumber to avoid a bite from the Black Widow, according to the report.

As for treatment, medical attention should be sought especially in cases where one may feel uncomfortable. The report advises those who think they have been bitten to clean the bite area with soap and water, put ice over it, and lift the area up. 

For Swank, while she and most of her neighbors were not aware of the black widow reports, she said she’ll be keeping an extra eye out for the bugs. 

“I’m certainly going to be on the lookout, though,” she said.  
Black widow spider bite reported in Cumberland County

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