Brown recluse spiders are a venomous species of spider that as their name suggests, like to live alone in dark and hard to access places. They are typically found in the Southern regions of the United States. Even though they are a venomous species, they are still an ecologically beneficial species. Brown recluse spiders feed on other spiders and nuisance insects helping to keep those populations down in homes, gardens, and other places.
Brown recluse spiders are most easily identified by a “violin” shaped pattern on the top of the body. They also have three pairs of eyes that are organized in a semi-circle pattern. They range in color from light yellowish-gray to dark brown and they have an oblong abdomen that is covered in gray hairs with long legs that are darker in color than the rest of their body. Adults grow to be ¼- ½ inch in length and the females are larger than the males.
The life cycle of the brown recluse spider begins when the female deposits her eggs into a silken case where they develop for the next 24-36 days. Once the young hatch they molt inside of the silken case before abandoning it. They then molt 5-8 more times before reaching adulthood. This molting process can take approximately 10-12 months for them to reach adult status. The speed of their development depends greatly on food availability and weather conditions.
Brown recluse spiders are poisonous. If bitten the bite site swells and becomes tender about 8 hours after the bite occurs. Fever, restlessness, and sleeping difficulties are other common symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite. A few days later the skin around the bite will begin to ulcerate. The wound area is very prone to infection and heals very slowly (weeks or months). While death occurring from a brown recluse spider bite is rare the wound can leave a scar or in severe cases be disfiguring.
The brown recluse spider can be found living outdoors in places such as; under leaf piles and rocks, and in woodpiles, garages, and sheds. They will accidentally move inside of homes through cracks in foundations, air conditioning units, or underneath of doors while searching for prey and shelter. Inside they hide in quiet, undisturbed areas like closets, inside of clothing, boxes, basements, attics, crawl spaces, and underneath of furniture.
Brown recluse spiders do not build webs like other species; instead they emerge from their hiding spots overnight and actively “hunt” for their prey. Because these spiders are shy and nocturnal, seeing or coming into contact with them is rare, however if you do spot one in your home it is important to realize that where there is one there are probably many more hiding.
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Utilizing a professional home pest control and prevention program is the optimum way to prevent brown recluse spiders from coming into your house or making your property a place that they desire to live. There are, however, some simple things that you can do to help stop brown recluse spiders from coming into your house:
Seal cracks and crevices in the buildings foundation
Install door sweeps
Caulk around windows and doors
Repair or replace insect screens in windows and doors
Keep clutter to a minimum in storage areas
Shake out clothing or shoes after storage to dislodge any hiding spiders.
The best way to safely control dangerous spiders is with the help of a professional. Here at Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions, our highly trained technicians applying a residual liquid insecticide around the foundation perimeter, molding and trim, and under eaves, low siding, patio, deck and chimney attachments. We also treat mulch and other landscaping as necessary. All outbuildings including sheds and garages will be treated as well. Indoor insecticides may be used in basements, attics, and other conducive areas such as closets and baseboards. We may also use sticky monitors and traps to help reduce the number of spiders inside. Having a year-round residential pest control program in place not only will help with brown recluse spiders, but will also help to control other common insects that spiders feed on.