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Brown recluse spiders are a species of spider found in the Midwest and South Central US. Brown recluse spider sightings are rare due to their reclusive nature, but they have a venomous bite that poses a serious health risk if left untreated. In this article, we’ll explain how to get rid of brown recluse spiders and delve into the causes and risks of having them in your home.
How to Identify Brown Recluse Spiders
Brown recluse spiders, scientifically known as Loxosceles reclusa, are aptly named for their tendency to seek out secluded areas. You may also hear them called fiddleback or violin spiders, thanks to the distinct violin-shaped mark on their head and thorax (cephalothorax). A brown recluse spider is about the size of a quarter and mostly light brown, except for the darker brown violin-shaped marking on its back directly behind its eyes.
Often confused with wolf and cobweb spiders, brown recluse spiders have smoother features and don’t have fuzzy legs like their spider counterparts.
Causes of Brown Recluse Spiders in Your Home
Outdoors, these arachnids live under rocks, woodpiles, and other debris. Rather than relying on spiderwebs to catch insects, they hide during the day and emerge at night to hunt. Unfortunately for homeowners, these poisonous spiders can also live indoors.
Here’s how brown recluse spiders can find their way into your home:
- Entry points: Brown recluse spiders can exploit gaps or openings in your home’s exterior. Common entry points include the gaps around windows and doors, foundation cracks, and the crevices where utility lines enter the home.
- Food sources: At night, brown recluse spiders will feed on cockroaches, crickets, and other insects that have made their way inside your home.
- Hiding places: Once inside your home, brown recluse spiders prefer warm, dark, and dry places that are seldom disturbed. They may reside in attics, crawl spaces, garages, basements, storage areas, or wall voids.
- Reproduction opportunity: Female brown recluse spiders may lay egg sacs in your home, increasing the risk of a full-blown infestation.
Risks of Brown Recluse Spiders
One of the most common risks of brown recluse spiders is a reaction to their venomous bite. A brown recluse spider bite may be painless enough to avoid immediate medical attention and will typically heal on its own without causing serious side effects. However, a bite could cause discomfort a few hours later. Possible symptoms include pain, blistering, redness, or swelling at the bite site.
Some people may develop severe symptoms. These can include fever, rash, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, or chills. In more severe cases, brown recluse spider bites can cause life-threatening infections. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe symptoms and suspect a venomous spider bite.
Fortunately, brown recluse spiders are neither aggressive nor capable of biting through clothing. Most bites happen when the spider becomes inadvertently trapped against your skin. Very few people die from brown recluse spider bites, though children are most at risk of severe reactions.
Because of the potential seriousness of a spider bite, identify and eliminate brown recluse spiders as soon as they’re detected.
Natural Solutions for Brown Recluse Spiders
Natural remedies can be a safe and eco-friendly way to get rid of spiders. These methods often include household items or substances with minimal environmental impact. However, natural solutions may not be as immediately potent or long-lasting as chemical solutions.
Here are a few common do-it-yourself (DIY) spider control solutions:
- Diatomaceous earth: This powdery substance made from fossilized algae damages spider exoskeletons, causing dehydration and death. Sprinkle a thin layer in areas where you’ve spotted spiders.
- Essential oils: Eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender essential oils can act as natural spider repellents. Mix a few drops of essential oil with water in a bottle and spray potential spider entry points and hiding spots around doors, windows, corners, and baseboards.
- Natural repellents: Spiders usually dislike the smell of vinegar, citrus, cedar, and chestnuts. Spraying vinegar or placing citrus peels, cedar shavings, or chestnuts around your home can help repel spiders.
- Sealing entry points: Identify potential spider entry points and hiding places. Seal cracks and gaps with caulk, expandable foam, weather stripping, or insect-proof screens.
No matter which solution you choose, consistency is key. Natural remedies often require regular reapplication to remain effective. For example, you may need to spray essential oil every few days. For a more effective treatment, consider combining a few natural remedies.
Insecticides for Brown Recluse Spiders
If natural remedies don’t suffice, insecticides can offer a more potent solution for dealing with brown recluse spiders. These chemical agents kill or repel pests, delivering quick and consistent results. However, they can harm the environment and pose a health risk if inhaled or ingested.
Look for sprays, aerosols, or dusts that contain one of the following active ingredients:
- Lambda cyhalothrin
To eliminate spiders around your home, follow these usage tips:
- Wear gloves, a mask, and eye protection before applying the insecticide.
- Before applying insecticides indoors, ensure the area is well-ventilated by opening windows.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on application, storage, and disposal, and use only the recommended amount.
- Keep pets and children away from the treated area until it’s safe.
Traps for Brown Recluse Spiders
A spider trap is a nontoxic and effective way to monitor and manage brown recluse spider populations in your home. However, traps have their limitations.
Most spider traps rely on physical mechanisms rather than chemicals, which makes them safer for children and pets. They can also reveal the scope of your spider problem, which can help you decide whether further intervention is necessary.
Sticky traps, or glue traps, are the most common traps for spiders. These traps have a sticky adhesive that ensnares spiders that walk over the trap. Here are some tips on how to use sticky traps in your home:
- Place the sticky traps along your baseboards, in closets, under furniture, and in other areas where you’ve noticed spiders.
- Inspect and replace traps regularly, discarding them when full.
- Wear gloves when disposing of used traps.
- Keep pets away from the traps to prevent them from getting residue on their paws or consuming trapped pests.
Keep in mind that traps are not a complete solution. Although they can catch spiders, they won’t address the root cause of an infestation or prevent spiders from returning.
Professional Pest Control for Brown Recluse Spiders
Hiring a pest control company can be wise for those facing a severe brown recluse spider infestation or seeking peace of mind. Professional exterminators have the knowledge, tools, and expertise to address your spider problem safely and effectively. They can also help you understand and address the root cause of the infestation.
Although a professional pest control service typically costs more than DIY methods, the results usually justify the cost. However, the quality of service can vary between companies and even between technicians from the same company.
We recommend gathering quotes from multiple pest control companies to compare pricing and service terms. Browse customer reviews and verify that any company you hire is properly licensed and certified. Orkin and Terminix are two reputable companies that operate throughout Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and other states where brown recluse spiders reside.
A professional pest control company will send a technician to inspect your property. Based on their findings, they’ll employ targeted treatments, including dusts, sprays, or traps. In addition to addressing the immediate problem, they may recommend preventive strategies, such as sealing gaps and cracks with caulk or using sticky trap monitors.
Homeowners have various options for dealing with a brown recluse spider infestation. Depending on the severity of the problem and your personal preferences, you can use a combination of natural remedies, insecticides, and sticky traps to get rid of brown recluse spiders. For a severe infestation, consider hiring a pest control expert to handle your spider problem quickly and effectively.
Brown Recluse Spiders FAQ
What keeps brown recluse spiders away?
The following solutions can keep brown recluse spiders away:Diatomaceous earthNatural repellents, such as essential oils or vinegarSpider-killing insecticidesSticky traps
What is the fastest way to get rid of brown recluse spiders?
The fastest way to get rid of brown recluse spiders is to hire a reputable pest control company. Professional exterminators have the resources and expertise to handle all types of spider problems, and their methods typically work faster than DIY solutions.
Can you ever completely get rid of brown recluse spiders?
It can be difficult to get rid of brown recluse spiders completely. They will hide in dark, difficult-to-reach areas and emerge only at night to hunt. They can also survive for several months without food and water. However, you can significantly reduce their population and the chances of encountering them in your home by sealing entry points, using a mix of natural and chemical solutions, and hiring a pest control company if you have a severe infestation.
What should you do if you find a brown recluse spider in your house?
If you find a brown recluse spider in your house, place a glass jar over it for safe capture and relocate it outdoors or kill it with a shoe or rubbing alcohol.
How We Chose the Top Pest Control Companies
Our pest control research process starts with analyzing customer reviews on third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. We then do a deep dive into each company’s website, service plans, and available cost information. We also secret shop the companies we review, reach out to representatives, and request quotes.
From there, we compile the information we’ve gathered and compare each company using our in-depth pest control methodology and review criteria. This process uses a series of factors that are important to our readers, and we score each company depending on how well they perform in each factor. For instance, companies that offer more guarantees for their service earned more points than others, and pest control plans with a larger range of covered pests earned more points than ones with fewer.
After analyzing dozens of residential and commercial pest control businesses through this process, we were able to determine the best pest control companies on the market.