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The Brown Recluse is Often Wrongly Accused

Making It Grow Minute

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.   Many stories abound of people who have gotten horrific wounds from the bite of a brown recluse spider. In South Carolina, doctors reported 738 brown recluse spider bites but in the entire history of record keeping, only 44 true brown recluse spiders have been found. A Georgia researcher, Nancy Hinkle, thinks most of the wounds attributed to brown recluse spider bites were MRSA, necrotizing bacteria, or the result of another wound infection.  Actually, only ten percent of brown recluse spider bites result in a wound that needs medical attention. The treatment varies greatly so it is important that we encourage medical professionals and the general public to not immediately think “Brown Recluse Spider Bite” when a puzzling infection occurs. They spiders are native to only seven states, Arkansas and Missouri having the largest population.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.