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Man launches Overland Park pest control business after spider bite

Brown recluse bite sent man to hospital
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Posted at 6:06 AM, May 16, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brent Boles was moving cardboard boxes around a storage unit outside Kansas City, when he felt an itch on his arm. He inadvertently trapped a brown recluse spider between his arm and the box. The spider bit his forearm.

“By the next day, that itch had turned into a swollen arm with redness and progressed after that,” Boles said.

While brown recluse bites are not deadly, doctors still admitted Boles to a hospital about six days after the bite and conducted surgery to extract the venom from his arm. Soon after, Boles replaced the cardboard boxes in his storage unit with airtight, plastic containers.

“The paper products [in cardboard boxes] are an attractant that will actually get spiders and other insects in them and they will live in them,” he pointed out.

Boles, who had worked in pest control in the past, launched Green Pest Solutions in Overland Park, Kansas, after his bite. The company focuses on environmentally friendly ways to control pests like spiders. Here’s his advice to control spiders in your home:

  • Ditch cardboard boxes
  • Control access: seal cracks in foundations, doorframes and window frames where spiders can enter your home.
  • Control food sources: spiders eat other insects. If you keep other insects out of your home, spiders won’t have anything to eat and will not stay in your home.
  • Check dark, dry places for spiders before reaching your hands in to pick up items.
  • Shake clothing which has sat on the floor or been stored in cardboard boxes for long periods of time.
  • Consider hiring a professional to treat your home.

The most common venomous spiders in our region include brown recluse, black widow and yellow sac.
“I would probably be able to find a brown recluse spider in almost every house in Kansas City. They’re everywhere, but it’s not something people should be overly frightened by,” Boles said.

Generally, spiders only bite when they feel threatened or cornered. They are most active in the spring and summer.