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What Every Parent Should Know About Brown Recluse Spiders


If you were to be bitten by a brown recluse spider, chances are you would know it. If you see a brown recluse near or--worse--on you, you would be able to get away. And fast. But a baby is not able to get away. And, if an infant or a very young child is bitten, they have no way of communicating with you what is wrong. This is why it is especially important to be vigilant about brown recluse if there are young ones in the home.

While it is rare for death to occur because of brown recluse spider bites, it is reported that deaths are only reported in children younger than the age of 7. These spiders may be more likely to bite young children since they are most likely to attack if they feel threatened, and children are more likely to be unafraid of spiders and may even try to pick one up.


If you are seeing spiders in your home, it is important to be able to identify what type it is. A brown recluse is a little bigger than a quarter and has an upside-down violin shape on its back. This marking is dark brown on tan. A brown recluse also has 6 eyes, 2 of which are close together in the center, which may give the appearance of only 3 eyes. Unlike other brown spiders, a brown recluse is hairless. So, even if you can't get a close look, if you see a smooth, fast-moving brown spider, it is likely you are looking at a brown recluse.


Brown recluse are designed to deliver a certain amount of venom into its prey. While it is not typically interested in biting humans, it will bite if it is being threatened or if it is trapped against the skin. And its venom can cause a bite wound with necrotic properties. These are usually nothing more than a pimple-like blister on the skin. But, if severe enough, it can turn into a slow-to-heal wound with blood and pus.

Brown recluse bites can be painless at first, so it is possible for a bite to go unnoticed for a time. However, pain has been reported in some brown recluse bite events. Some people describe a bite from a brown recluse as having a minor burning sensation. Others have compared it to being stung by a wasp. And, if the bite is painless, symptoms can develop over time, usually 2-8 hours after the bite.

At first, the site of a bite is mildly red and may show fang marks. After a few hours have passed, this redness may give way to pallor with a red ring surrounding the area, causing a bulls-eye appearance. From here, as time passes, this lesion may appear to flow downhill and the center of the bite may blister, sink inward, and then turn bluish, and then black as the area of tissue dies. This will leave a scar.

Some symptoms associated with brown recluse bites include severe pain at the bite site, severe itching, nausea, vomiting, fever, and muscle pain. If you, or someone you know, has been bitten by a brown recluse, it is important to be seen by a doctor immediately. And, if possible, bring the biting spider with you for the doctors to be appropriately identified.


  • Shake out shoes before putting them on yourself or your child. Teach your children to do this themselves if they are old enough to do so.
  • Pull back covers and sheets before sliding in to sleep.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum. This will give these spiders fewer places to hide.
  • Reduce bugs in your common area. Having ongoing pest control will go a long way in helping to stay bug-free. This ensures that spiders have no food to feed on and they may not stick around.
  • Don't leave towels or clothing on the floor. Brown recluse love to hide in these.


To rest easy about brown recluse spiders biting adults or children in your home, professional pest control is the best option. If you're in our extensive Missouri service area, reach out to Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions. We'll help you establish a spider-free home and protect your family from unwanted bites.


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