Brown Recluse Spiders: Identification, Bites and More

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Here’s What You Need to Know About Brown Recluse Spiders

Here in South Carolina, we have to deal with our share of bugs. Not just in the summer, either: thanks to our warmer temperatures, we wind up with insects throughout the year.

Fortunately, the vast majority of these insects are little more than a nuisance. But there are some bugs which inflict dangerous, painful bites, and brown recluse spiders are amongst them. Just the sight of a brown recluse crawling across the floor is enough to send shivers down your spine.


Given that you may encounter this dangerous spider in South Carolina, it’s important to educate yourself about them. Are you wondering what brown recluse spiders are, what they look like, and whether their bites are really as dangerous as some people say? What should you do when it comes to spider control in your home? Keep reading to find out.


What Are Brown Recluse Spiders?

Known by the scientific name Loxosceles reclusa, the brown recluse spider is primarily located in the southern and southeastern portions of the United States. As their name implies, these spiders do indeed tend to be “reclusive,” hiding in dark, out of sight places inside of homes and buildings.

Brown recluses can live much longer than other spiders and insect species. The average indoor life cycle for a brown recluse is 543 days for males and 628 days for females, but these spiders have been known to live for as long as 5 years. When living outdoors, brown recluses are typically found in piles of debris, underneath firewood piles, and in other out of the way places. They much prefer indoor habitats, however.

When taking up residence inside, brown recluses will look for dark, undisturbed areas. They’re often found in boxes, piles of paper, shoes, and boots, or in cracks and crevices around the home or in other buildings. They typically live in attics, crawl spaces, basements, and closets, preferring areas that are less trafficked. You may also encounter them in garages, sheds, and other outdoor storage areas.

Brown recluses prey on various insects, including crickets and roaches. When it comes to reproduction, female brown recluses will lay an egg sac containing up to 300 eggs. These eggs then mature and hatch within approximately one month, with the average spider taking up to a year to fully develop into an adult.


What Do Brown Recluse Spiders Look Like?

Brown recluse spiders are relatively small, measuring just 1/2" in length. They’re extremely fast as well, making them difficult to eliminate when encountered. In addition to being brown in color, the brown recluse can often be identified by a violin-shaped marking on its body. The presence of this marking is the easiest way to identify a brown recluse as opposed to other small, brown spiders.


Are Brown Recluse Spiders Poisonous? Do They Bite?

As is the case of many other spider species, brown recluses are not terribly aggressive and only bite on rare occasion. However, both male and female brown recluses are capable of biting and injecting their victim with venom. These spiders are more likely to bite when they feel threatened.

When you’re bitten by a brown recluse spider, you may or may not feel anything immediately. Some individuals experience a stinging sensation right away, while others may not feel any pain for as long as 6 to 8 hours. The area around the bite typically becomes swollen, however, with a blister appearing at the site of the bite.

Following a bite from a brown recluse, you may experience fever, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping. The tissue around the bite will tend to necrose, eventually sloughing off from the body within two weeks. This process sometimes results in an open sore, and in some cases can even expose underlying muscle and bone tissue

If you’ve been bitten by a brown recluse spider, it’s important to seek medical treatment. The healing process following tissue necrosis can take a number of weeks, and the area around the site of the bite is often prone to infection. In some severe instances, plastic surgery may even be required following this process. Considering the potential severity of a brown recluse spider bite, you’ll want to receive a medical assessment.


How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders and Prevent an Infestation

As is the case with many insects, a single brown recluse spider in your home can quickly turn into an infestation. It’s important to take preventative steps to keep these dangerous pests from taking up residence in your home

First and foremost, consider that brown recluse spiders prefer to live in out of the way spaces such as basements, attics, crawl spaces, and closets. Keeping these areas free of clutter will make them a less attractive place for brown recluses to inhabit. Remove any boxes, cardboard, or other debris that might be laying around in these spots.

Next, you’ll want to ensure that your home is well sealed to reduce the risk of brown recluses making their way inside. Inspect the exterior of your home for cracks and other openings. Pay particular attention to areas around windows, doors, and utility pipes. Sealing these openings with caulk can make it harder for brown recluses to enter your home.

Take a look around the outside of your home as well. Do you have a stack of firewood right next to your porch? If so, moving the firewood to another location further from your home can be a good idea. Be sure to wear gloves and exercise caution when doing this, however, as there may already be spiders and other insects living there. Are there old shoes, boots, or gloves stacked up in your basement, garage, or next to your door? These are a prime location for brown recluses, and should be shaken out and properly stored in sealed containers

While these preventative steps can be helpful for reducing your risk of encountering brown recluse spiders, dealing with an existing infestation is a different matter.


Professional Home Pest Control for Brown Recluse Spiders

If you believe you have a brown recluse spider infestation, it’s important to contact a home pest control professional for help. These spiders inflict dangerous, poisonous bites, and attempting to get rid of them on your own puts you at risk of serious injury. The professionals at Home Pest Control have the knowledge and experience to get rid of spiders in your home using safe, effective, environmentally friendly methods. Contact us today to learn more.

Keeping your home pest free throughout the year can be difficult, but don’t worry: we can help! Click here to download our free Seasonal Pest Prevention Calendar to keep track of when you’ll need to treat for pests around your home.

Sign up now to receive our free seasonal pest prevention calendar.

September 10, 2019

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