What could be lurking under your child's desk?

The idea of poisonous spiders crawling around at a school is enough to make any parent's skin crawl. Unfortunately parents of students at Western Elementary/High School received a message about just that.

After Reliable pest control verified that a spider found in a trap in a storage area of the school was a brown recluse, the Western Community Unit School District did not want to take any chances. The district uses an integrated pest control policy to prevent infestations and they check traps regularly for any pest problems. In addition to the single brown recluse found, there has been only one other possible sighting of the spider.

"We are being preventative by taking some action at this time," Superintendent Carol Frericks said. They will be spraying the entire exterior of the building after students are dismissed from school this Friday, March 30th, 2012.

Kris Koeller, who sits on the school board and is a member of the building committee, said they have never seen this spider at this location before, but have at another school in the district several years ago. Koeller said there were many more spiders found then, but they did not have any reports of bites during that time.

As their name suggests, brown recluse spiders are not aggressive and will not attack humans unless they are threatened. They generally live in quiet undisturbed environments, such as the storage facility where the spider was found at Western Elementary/High School.

Kevin O'Donnell, president of O'Donnell Termite and Pest Control in Quincy says brown recluse numbers have been climbing in the past ten years, and while bites are not fatal, they can cause serious problems such as causing the skin around the bite to ulcerate. "You may come across one say if you pick something up off the floor like a book bag or something, they may be underneath that, so go ahead and step on it but definitely report it to the custodian or teacher," O'Donnell said.

Have you seen or been bitten by a brown recluse? Share your stories below or on our Facebook page here.

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