× Welcome to the Tarantulas.co.za forum!

Tell us and our members who you are, what you like and why you became a member of this site.
We welcome all new members and hope to see you around a lot!

Hair today Gone tomorrow (urticating hairs)

More
3 years 7 months ago #72518 by Jake
Morning All (a bit long in back)
Something that has been bugging me and just something I thought I would share.

I have heard of people getting a serious reaction to urticating hairs and having to give up all species that flick hairs as the allergic reaction was not worth the effort to go through every time one needs to clean, feed, photograph or rehouse.
I did not think it would be me that would be considering this action.

Well, I'm not very happy about the idea of focusing on one species or certain spiders just yet but I have been threatening to get rid of all my spiders that flick hairs as my allergic reactions has gotten worse.

When I first started in the hobby the hairs did not even bug me as in I would not "feel" them or have a reaction to them.
2 years into my hobby, slowly I started to itch, it started on my hands, between my knuckles and inside the area where the fore arm meets the bicep, some spider hairs were more potent than others and affected me in different degrees of itching, then it seemed to kind of stop and would only be a lite itch on my forearm which you would know is there but was not bad enough to have to do anything about it.

Over the past year and a bit I have started having a constant reaction to urticating hairs regardless what species of flicking spider it is or how many times the spider kicks, worst of all it is on my face, back, neck and chest.
To go into more detail of the area that gets affected, under my nose and sometimes inside of the start of my nose, top and bottom of my right eye, right side of my neck under my ear down round the front of my throat to my chest and then the left side of my face on my cheek under my eye and the left side of my left eye.
and my wrist from time to time.
Even with safety glasses it ends up around my eyes which is my biggest worry with regards to urticating hairs.

I have started with a couple precautions to prevent the less amount of hairs finding a spot to land and itch.
I also have rules of not touching, rubbing my face or anywhere else on my body while I'm working with my spiders and molts, I often wash my hands a good couple of times during the course of spider time.

Once a spider has flicked, I close the lid, walk away or mist in the air in hopes that the water drops will attach to the hairs. I also mist my face to stop any hairs from sticking to me.
I also wash my face with warm water soap and vinegar but with all the precautions I still find that the hairs find me more often than not.

The worse thing of all I don't work with my spiders allot, I only work with them when it is cage maintainces or rehousing really, feeding is fast and just a matter of lifting the lids and dropping the feeders in.
Water is given from a bottle or a bottle with a long pipe or water dishes which I have stopped using as they are always fulled with peat or the bolus.
The main times I get flicked is when I'm removing the uneaten prey item, the bolus, mold (does not occur often), molt. rehousing or want to take pictures of the spider.
I think this lack of me making contact with them makes it worse, some of the spiders are insane with flicking, they keep kicking as far as they run.

I often tell my spiders I'm going to get rid of you if you don't stop flicking me.
But before that happens I will try some methods to get around the itching.

1st is those disposable hazmat suits and gloves and some kind of face shield. (a bit of a pain to get dressed but one does after you take a shower so why not with the spiders :drunk: :laugh:)
2nd is using a fan that has a mist of water spraying out, blowing in one direction that will blow any flicked hairs away from me. (this method has more chance of failing as the hairs are getting blown into the air to settle on a later stage so doubt it will be used.)
3rd change the design of cages for least amount of contact between the spiders and myself..
4th cup all the spiders before working in and around the cage.
6th keep all the cages moist to allow for Isopods to survive in all the cages.
5th get rid of them all. :deal


Anyone else has some good ideas please share.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
3 years 7 months ago #72519 by Shaun Tosen
Fortunately I had my reactions to hairs when I only had 1 T. I decided to only keep OW.

As for my only NW T. I only open the cage a little to feed or water. And I never take pics of him. He is a MM LP and is very bold, so I think that helps.


Good luck fighting off those hairs

Sent from my Q10 using Tapatalk 2
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
3 years 7 months ago #72520 by Stanley A. Schultz

Jake wrote: Morning All (a bit long in back)
Something that has been bugging me and just something I thought I would share.

I have heard of people getting a serious reaction to urticating hairs and having to give up all species that flick hairs as the allergic reaction was not worth the effort to go through every time one needs to clean, feed, photograph or rehouse.
I did not think it would be me that would be considering this action. ...


Wow! Heavy stuff! All the means that you've tried so far to reduce the itching haven't worked very well, and I doubt that any of these will either.

Jake wrote: ... 1st is those disposable hazmat suits and gloves and some kind of face shield. (a bit of a pain to get dressed but one does after you take a shower so why not with the spiders :drunk: :laugh:) ...


These are expensive and cumbersome. And, they're usually made to be disposable, so they won't last more than a very few uses. They'll work in a short term, temporary, or emergency situation, but aren't very practical for the long haul.

Jake wrote: ... 2nd is using a fan that has a mist of water spraying out, blowing in one direction that will blow any flicked hairs away from me. (this method has more chance of failing as the hairs are getting blown into the air to settle on a later stage so doubt it will be used.) ...


Worse yet, the air that you're blowing has to come from someplace. In the closed environment of a room, the fan sucks in air from the back and blows it out the front. Whereupon the air, being confined by the walls of the room, circles around and re-enters the back of the fan again. Repeat every few seconds to minutes depending on a number of variables. All the while this is happening, the moving air is picking up more bristles that have scattered around the room or that you inadvertently lift into the air out of the cages, and hold it in this swirling, doughnut shaped vortex. So, instead of removing the bristles from your vicinity, you're actually increasing the bristle density in the air around you.

Jake wrote: ... 3rd change the design of cages for least amount of contact between the spiders and myself. ...


This then begs the question, "Then what's the point of having the tarantulas in the first place if you can't interact with them?"

Jake wrote: ... 4th cup all the spiders before working in and around the cage. ...


Won't work. Those tarantulas with urticating bristles are shedding them constantly just like you and your dog shed hair. A thin layer of those bristles coats everything within a rather wide fallout zone, most likely the entire room. Every movement within that zone is bound to lift at least a few bristles into the air with the number of bristles lifted being in some way proportional to how vehement or violent the movement is. It isn't just the tarantulas kicking those bristles. The bristles are functionally just a special kind of dust. And anything that would lift generic dust into the air is also going to lift the bristles into the air.

Jake wrote: ... 6th keep all the cages moist to allow for Isopods to survive in all the cages. ...


I'm not convinced that isopods will eat the bristles. Yes, I know they're scavengers, but nowhere have I seen anyone comment that their isopods got rid of bristles. And, the bristles are so small (on the order of a few tens of microns long), that I question if isopods would even notice them.

This hypothesis also presumes that the bristles would present themselves as something edible to the isopods. Isopods don't eat everything. For instance, they apparently don't eat shredded coconut husk in spite of the amount of organic matter it's composed of. And, they apparently don't eat the silken webbing of tarantulas (maybe 90%+ protein), or their molted exuvia (composed of a lot of chitin, a complex carbohydrate/protein concoction) in spite of their presumed food value. At first blush, one would assume these would be an excellent food for a scavenger. In fact, the bristles are actually only specially shaped bits of exoskeleton that are laced with some sort of irritating chemical. (And, I am always amazed that some enterprising biochemist hasn't boiled a little of the urticating bristles in a number of different solvents, then performed some basic chromatography on the resulting solutions in an effort to try to identify the "Itch Factor." Hey, wait! This could be an incredible school science fair project. That could develop into a PhD in biochemistry or toxicology! Outstanding!)

Jake wrote: ... 5th get rid of them all. ...


You're not going to give up that easily, are you?

Considering that nearly the only tarantulas that possess urticating bristles that effect humans belong to the subfamily Theraphosinae, that still leaves you with literally hundreds of other species, some quite rare, others absolutely gorgeous, to play with. (Yes, I know there are exceptions. But only a few, and most of those exceptions either lack an effective delivery method for their urticating bristles, or the bristles apparently don't cause an irritation in humans.)

New species. New 8-legged, little buddies. New behavioral patterns. New personalities. New vistas. Besides, aren't you getting a little tired of pet rocks already?


A reality check is when your little 8-legged, screaming banshee from Hell has YOU backed into the deli cup!

The Tarantula Whisperers!
Stan Schultz
Marguerite Schultz
Co-authors of the TARANTULA KEEPER'S GUIDE, now in its third edition!
Private Messages have been turned OFF!
Please send all E-mail postings directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
3 years 7 months ago - 3 years 7 months ago #72524 by Jake
Evening Uncle Stanley

Stanley A. Schultz wrote: These are expensive and cumbersome. And, they're usually made to be disposable, so they won't last more than a very few uses. They'll work in a short term, temporary, or emergency situation, but aren't very practical for the long haul. .


I had the wrong name the ones I'm looking at are called disposable coveralls.
I got a price for them which is not bad at all R70.00 ($7.00)
The PPE company is just waiting for stock to arrive.

This is more or less what I will be getting.

Attachment disposable-coverall-ab.jpg not found



Stanley A. Schultz wrote: Worse yet, the air that you're blowing has to come from someplace. In the closed environment of a room, the fan sucks in air from the back and blows it out the front. Whereupon the air, being confined by the walls of the room, circles around and re-enters the back of the fan again. Repeat every few seconds to minutes depending on a number of variables. All the while this is happening, the moving air is picking up more bristles that have scattered around the room or that you inadvertently lift into the air out of the cages, and hold it in this swirling, doughnut shaped vortex. So, instead of removing the bristles from your vicinity, you're actually increasing the bristle density in the air around you.


That what I was worried about, greater chance of finding the bristles in your eyes or all over the house.
I did not think about the air recirculation though I just thought of forward motion and not that the bristles are lite and will just float around.

But what about the idea of adding water to the fan, this will create a fine mist that should latch onto the bristle and cause them to fall the floor or table?
And then what about adding a blanket to the mix, where by the fan blows directly into the blanket which should cause the bristles to attach to the materiel and then by adding the mist to the mix you have even bigger catchment of bristles?

I have basically scrapped the whole fan idea, it just seems a bit overkill but it is still there to be used if all else fails.

Picture of fan that sprays a mist of water out

Attachment humidibreeze-portable-misting-system-1.jpg not found



Stanley A. Schultz wrote: This then begs the question, "Then what's the point of having the tarantulas in the first place if you can't interact with them?"


This I must agree and I don't like the idea myself, and I miss being able to have the cage lid open and watch the spider without a lid or glass in front of me and this is the whole reason for the thread as I have not had much interaction with my spiders since my reactions got worse, I try to have the least amount of interaction as possible just to avoid the dreaded itch.

Stanley A. Schultz wrote: Won't work.

Again, another idea scraped, even though you cupping the spider you still need to lift the cup and still have to put yourself into the firing line.

Stanley A. Schultz wrote: I'm not convinced that isopods will eat the bristles. Yes, I know they're scavengers, but nowhere have I seen anyone comment that their isopods got rid of bristles. And, the bristles are so small (on the order of a few tens of microns long), that I question if isopods would even notice them.


I meant for the isopods to maintain the tanks for me as in keeping it clean so I don't have to hardly open the enclosure to remove the bolus or dead feeder item.
Isopods are not perfect, if they could remove mushrooms, give water, remove molts and clean the poo off the side of the tanks they would be best house keepers out there :lol:

Stanley A. Schultz wrote: You're not going to give up that easily, are you?


Nope, I have my ideas to try out first before I would consider giving up just yet.

I know there is a decent amount of other spiders that I could keep without flicking hairs.
At the moment I have a bit of everything and no matter hoe hard I think or try and make my mind up I can't see myself being so disciplined and only having/being able to keep a select few.

But if the itching gets worse and I have not come up with a win win then I guess I will be forced to adapted to my situation.

Stanley A. Schultz wrote: (And, I am always amazed that some enterprising biochemist hasn't boiled a little of the urticating bristles in a number of different solvents, then performed some basic chromatography on the resulting solutions in an effort to try to identify the "Itch Factor." Hey, wait! This could be an incredible school science fair project. That could develop into a PhD in biochemistry or toxicology! Outstanding!)


Is there not a way you could find someone with your great book of connection out there to do the test and you could publish it in the revised edition of TKG??
Attachments:
Last Edit: 3 years 7 months ago by Jake.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
3 years 7 months ago #72525 by Stanley A. Schultz

Jake wrote: Evening Uncle Stanley ...


What happened to Oom Stan? :silly:

Jake wrote: ... I had the wrong name the ones I'm looking at are called disposable coveralls.
I got a price for them which is not bad at all R70.00 ($7.00)
The PPE company is just waiting for stock to arrive.

This is more or less what I will be getting. ...


Those disposable coveralls leave your face and hands exposed. You can always use rubber gloves, I guess, but what can you do to protect your face? And after you get all bundled up, are you really going to enjoy working with your tarantulas?

There comes a time when you have to look in a mirror and ask yourself if the game is really worth the candle ?

Jake wrote: ... But what about the idea of adding water to the fan, this will create a fine mist that should latch onto the bristle and cause them to fall the floor or table? ...


Some of them, yes. But enough of them?

Jake wrote: ... And then what about adding a blanket to the mix, where by the fan blows directly into the blanket which should cause the bristles to attach to the materiel and then by adding the mist to the mix you have even bigger catchment of bristles? ...


At the blanket, not into the blanket. Whereupon the mist/bristle laden breeze merely blows around the blanket to contaminate whatever hasn't already been showered.with bristles.

Jake wrote: ... Picture of fan that sprays a mist of water out

...


I have to admit that I've never seen one like that.

Jake wrote: ... I meant for the isopods to maintain the tanks for me as in keeping it clean so I don't have to hardly open the enclosure to remove the bolus or dead feeder item.
Isopods are not perfect, if they could remove mushrooms, give water, remove molts and clean the poo off the side of the tanks they would be best house keepers out there :lol: ...


I know the feeling. I'm trying to figure a way to teach my Shelties how to drive and run the vacuum cleaner! (Click or right-click the thumbnail to see a larger image.)


Jake wrote: ... I know there is a decent amount of other spiders that I could keep without flicking hairs.
At the moment I have a bit of everything and no matter hoe hard I think or try and make my mind up I can't see myself being so disciplined and only having/being able to keep a select few. ...


Not just a few. There are literally HUNDREDS of them available.

Jake wrote: ... Is there not a way you could find someone with your great book of connection out there to do the test and you could publish it in the revised edition of TKG??


I am hoping that someone reading these forums would take the hint.


Douglas Adams was wrong, by the way. The masters of the universe aren't white mice. They're large, fuzzy spiders!

The Tarantula Whisperers!
Stan Schultz
Marguerite Schultz
Co-authors of the TARANTULA KEEPER'S GUIDE, now in its third edition!
Private Messages have been turned OFF!
Please send all E-mail postings directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
3 years 7 months ago #72538 by Deon
Hi Uncle Stan and Jake, thanks for an interesting debate. I love the big hairy terrestrials and I'm lucky not to suffer the irritation by the bristles, hope it will stay that way.

I'd like to run a suggestion by you. If you put cream on your hands and face before working with your T's, the bristles should attach to the cream and not your skin. You can then just wash your hands and face normally after the chores. It could be normal hand cream or even sunblock etc. This way you don't need to dress for the occasion.

I'm thinking the bristles would normally attach to any slightly sticky or sweaty surface or bends etc and the cream could just keep it off your skin for the time it takes to finish working with them. A soap like dettol hand wash should then easily get rid of the cream and hairs and disinfect any left over bristles or chemicals microscopically left behind.

Africa is a tough country. When the going gets tough, we get going.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.425 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum