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What You Need to Know about Brown Recluse Spiders

The name brown recluse strikes fear in the hearts of many people.  It is a deadly spider that is great at hiding.  They are most common in southern and Midwestern states of our nation, but can be found anywhere.  Aside from being super careful when moving around boxes in your attic and basement, preventative measures can be taken to reduce the risk of an incident.

Brown Recluse Behavior

It is called a recluse for a reason.  These shy spiders prefer to hide in dark places away from high traffic areas.  They do not spin webs like most spiders to catch their prey.  They have irregular shaped webs that they create for more of a retreat.  These almost cocoon like silk structures are commonly found on the sides of cardboard boxes or on shelves near walls.  They are ambush predators and commonly feed on cockroaches, ants, crickets, and other small insects or other spiders.  Aside from attics and basements, they are also found in crawl spaces and unused areas of closets.

The Dangerous Bite

Brown recluse spiders only bite when they are attacking their prey or perceive a threat.  They will hide from humans before they bite them.  Both males and females carry a highly poisonous venom that is delivered through a painless bite.  However, around 6-8 hours later, the bite site becomes extremely painful and forms a blister over the invenomated site. This blister begins to transform into an ulcer and if medical treatment is not received will begin to turn black as necrosis sets in.  Fever and restlessness are common side effects of a brown recluse bite.

Preventative Measures

Quarterly pest control maintenance will help with keeping all pests, including brown recluse, outside of your living space.  Sprays are applied at doorways and along baseboards.  These travel junctions for insects become impassable and keep the unwanted spiders outside.

Basements should be kept free of clutter and boxes should be stacked.  Never place your hands up on shelves or inside boxes, stored clothing, gloves, or shoes without looking first.  Clothing can be washed first and work or gardening gloves should be wrung and twisted to ensure no spiders are lurking in the finger spaces before you put your hand inside.  Shrubs and ornamental tree branches should be trimmed back off of your home as well.

Brown recluse spiders are brown and have a violin shaped marking on their back.  They range from ¼ to ½ of an inch.  If you or a loved one are bitten by any spider, seek medical treatment and then call your pest control servicer.

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