April 29th, 2017
Brown Recluse spiders are common household pests that invade millions of American homes each year. However, it is difficult to detect these spiders, as they are reclusive and often avoid humans, but they have been known to bite. Brown Recluse spiders often find refuge in dark places, including piles of clothing, shoes, gloves, and many other items left around the home. The brown recluse’s bite is usually the result of putting on clothing or shoes that were left on the floor overnight when the spider climbed into the object. Bites also occur when humans pick up items that have been left in secluded areas, and when spiders climb onto covers hanging from the bed to the floor. Recluse infestation can range from one or a few spiders to several hundred spiders. The brown recluse can be identified by its long thin legs, oval-shaped abdomen, light tan to dark brown color, the distinctive violin-shaped mark on their backs, and their six eyes (most spiders have eight eyes).
A brown recluse spider can be identified using a good magnifying glass; the recluse’s six eyes will be arranged in pairs in a semi-circular pattern, and the tail-end segment of the spider will have no markings. If a brown spider is found with markings on its tail end, then the spider is probably not a brown recluse. It is common to find brown recluse spiders in firewood piles, leaves, piles of rocks, or indoors in dark closets, shoes, and cluttered basements or attics. Unlike other spiders, brown recluses don’t form webs for catching food. A web is not a sign of a brown recluse infestation, and webs found along walls, ceilings, on outdoor vegetation, and other exposed areas often belong to other spiders.
The most common sign of a brown recluse infestation is molted skins left behind by the spiders. These shed skins have a distinct rigid appearance, and is one of the best ways to confirm infestation. The only true sign of a recluse infestation is a sighting, because the spiders are so secretive, and there’s often no sign of them until one is seen. If the presence of brown recluse spiders is suspected, it is best to examine the suspected areas with a bright light and work gloves. The easiest way to get rid of brown recluse spiders is to reduce clutter in secluded areas of the home, such as the garage, basement, and attic. Brown recluses are difficult to control due to their reclusive nature, but reducing clutter may help in driving them away.
The bite of a recluse is a health threat, so they must be eradicated immediately after detection. If an infestation is found outdoors in barns, sheds are wood piles, migration can be reduced by moving wood piles, building material and debris away from the homes foundation. It is also helpful to seal cracks and holes in a home’s exterior to keep the spiders outdoors. Glue boards may also be helpful in catching brown recluse spiders. The best glue traps for the recluse spiders are traps that are flat without a raised perimeter edge. Glue traps should be placed throughout the home, which will help reveal the most abundant areas of infestation. These traps should be placed in corners and along wall-floor junctures, particularly behind clutter and furniture.
Insecticides are an effective way to get rid of brown recluse spiders. A recluse infestation usually warrants the use of insecticides, as some spiders may not get caught in glue traps, especially females who stay more hidden than males. The insecticides can be applied to cracks, voids, and other areas where spiders are likely to hide. Insecticides are available in spray, dust, and aerosol formulations. Dust insecticides are best for treating cracks under baseboards and along sill plates in basements and crawl spaces. Sprays are most effective when applied along wall-floor junctures, edges of suspended ceilings, and other places recluse spiders may travel. The insecticides may also be applied outdoors to exterior walls, and sprayed along the base foundations and likely entry points of the spiders.