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Lakeland, Florida -- They aren't much bigger than a thumbnail, but don't judge them by their size.

A Lakeland family says their son is dead after being bit by a brown recluse spider. Bill Reese says he is still very upset after laying his 62-year-old son Ron to rest.

"It's been devastating," says Reese.

Bill says 6 months ago when Ron was tearing down a roof at an old house near Mulberry, he was bitten by a brown recluse spider.

"He came home and said a spider bit me on the neck," says Reese.

For months Ron lived in constant pain and even became paralyzed at one point.

"He would holler, 'Help me. I'm hurting. I'm hurting," says Reese.

Dr. Daniela Chiriboga with the Polk County Department says the brown recluse spider is not native to Florida, but many have moved this way.

"They look like they have violin or hour glass on back," says Chiriboga. Although they spider deaths are very rare, about one or 2 a year, brown recluses can cause harm.

Chiriboga says there are things you can do to protect yourself from the eight legged creature.

"People can be careful about being bitten by spiders. Use a flashlight while looking in a closet and make sure if you're working outside, use long sleeves, and makes sure there is no clutter," says Chiriboga.

For Bill, he says the only thing getting him through is that his son is no longer living in pain.

"I didn't have no peace for 6 months and now the lord gave me peace," says Reese.

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