The infamous brown recluse spider is one of the most venomous spiders in North America. These little guys have been know to cause a lot of people some serious problems. In this class I will teach you how to identify and get rid of brown recluse spiders as well as some simple to tips to help prevent them naturally and with chemicals.
How to Identify Brown Recluse Spiders
Brown recluse spiders are typically found in southern California to western Arizona. They are usually 5-20 mm (1/4″ – 3/4″) in size and range in color from cream colored to dark brown. Generally the easiest way to identify a brown recluse is they have a black line on their cephalothorax resembling a violin which has resulted in nicknames of fiddleback spider, brown fiddler or violin spider. Another thing separating their looks from most spiders is that they only have three pairs of eyes where as most spiders will have four.
Brown recluse spiders can be found in the southern states ranging from souther California to western Georgia. They spin irregular webs patterns that usually include a shelter made of disorderly threads. They usually will build their homes in sheds, closets, basements and other dry undisturbed areas. Human encounters occur when these undisturbed habitats are entered by humans and the brown recluse feels threatened.
Symptoms of a Brown Recluse Bite
When bitten by a brown recluse they will release a hemotoxic venom which can break down read blood cells and cause tissue to die. Most bites won’t result in any serious symptoms, but in some cases the bites can lead to medical complications and sometimes death. The elderly and young children are more likely to have complications from a bite.
If you know you were bitten by a brown recluse make sure to notify someone and monitor yourself for symptoms over the next few hours. If you have any pain, nausea, fever or rashes I would highly suggest you visit a physician. I included the picture to the right not to scare you but to show you what a bite can turn into, and that it is something to take serious if it occurs.
Brown Recluse Control
When trying to prevent or get rid of brown recluse spiders I always suggest you start with the most logical and natural methods.
- Prevent Access From Your Home - All pest control inside your house begins with preventing access into your home. Start out by sealing up any cracks in your foundation and around pipes entering your house. Also install door guards getting rid of large gaps on exterior doors.
- Limit Debris Around House - Pick up any leaves or trash piles around your home and cut down any overgrowing vegetation on your house such as ivy. These spiders love secluded spots.
- Pick Up Your Kids Toys - Toys left out in the yard can become a very serious situation especially if you have young children. Make sure to check any toys in your yard and playground sets before allowing your kids to play with them. Children can be very inquisitive and see a spider and try to pick them up.
- Don’t Make Them Angry - As funny as this sounds it’s true as brown recluses will attack when they feel threatened or are getting smothered. Shake out your shoes and clothing before putting them on if you have brown recluses in your area.
- Improve Storage Habits - I have mentioned how brown recluses like secluded habitats. Make sure to seal up cardboard boxes you use for storage with tape or substitute them for rubber storage bins. Try to better organize items throughout your house. Following this can also help improve your sanity as we all know how out of control our garages and basements can become.
- Hedgeapples - Hedgeapples are the fruit from the osage orange tree. There has been numerous claims that they act as a natural deterrent for spiders and other insects. Although I can’t personally say they work I don’t think it hurts to try them. Typically they will last up to 3 months inside of your home.
- Spider Traps - A simple yet effective method for all different types of spiders and insects. It’s a sticky surface that traps a spider when they step on it and they eventually die.
- Eucalyptus - Yet another method of preventing recluse spiders is placing some eucalyptus branches around your home and along windows sills. Eucalyptus is said to be a natural deterrent for a number of different spiders.
Chemical Control for Brown Recluses
In some instances it may be necessary to use chemicals to help get rid of brown recluse spiders. I personally would consult with a professional exterminator if you feel you have a serious infestation of recluse spiders. Using any chemicals around your home where kids and pets play is never a good idea without consulting a professional.
There are a number of different pesticides to kill or prevent brown recluse spiders. Look for products containing cypermethrin such as Demon WP or CB Air Devil. If brown recluses are common in your area you will likely find a number of pesticides at your local hardware or gardening store. Products containing deltramethrin are also effective for killing brown recluses and other insects. Make sure to read the directions and precautions before using any type of pesticide around your home.
Follow these tips and you will greatly decrease the number of brown recluses around your home. Make sure to pick up the phone book and get some advice or at least a free estimate from an exterminator if you feel the problem has gotten out of control.