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The Brown Recluse

a brown recluse spider

Many spiders are harmless to humans and play a role in keeping other insects away from your home. As hard as it can be, leaving most spiders alone is a good idea to help keep your house pest-free. While there are a few spiders that may be helpful, there are also spiders that are dangerous to humans, such as the brown recluse spider. Brown recluses are rarely seen, and so they can be hard to avoid—knowing beforehand what to watch for could make the difference in you being bitten. 

What Do Brown Recluse Spiders Look Like?

A brown recluse’s name is pretty self-explanatory, as they are brown and known to be reclusive as they hide out of plain sight. If you do happen to see a brown recluse, then they are not hard to miss as they aren’t tiny—females range from about one-fourth of an inch to half-inch with a leg span of an inch, and the males are about half that size. They can live for two years. Brown recluse spiders can also be identified by their eyes—most spiders have eight, but brown recluses only have six.

Where Are Brown Recluse Spiders Found?

Brown recluse spiders can live in a lot of different environments, but they are more commonly found in the southern parts of the United States, such as Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and other nearby states. They can survive in temperatures ranging from 45 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and they can go long periods of time without water or food. 

What Attracts Brown Recluse Spiders to Your Home?

Brown recluses don’t come into open areas of your home unless forced, so watch for them in closets, basements, or other storage facilities that aren’t frequented by people or light.

When in your home, a brown recluse spider can be found in dark, dry, and warm places such as:

  • Cellars
  • Garages
  • Boxes of clothes
  • Bedding
  • Under furniture
  • Ultimately, wherever they will not be disturbed

Do Brown Recluse Spiders Bite?

Brown recluse spiders generally aren’t aggressive toward humans—they normally only bite when pressed to a human’s skin. Some people don’t even see the spider that bites them because many times they get bitten by rolling onto the brown recluse while sleeping or sliding their foot into a boot that has been sitting around for a while. Many people don’t even realize they have been bitten by a spider because they may only feel a little sting if they feel anything at all.

What Happens If You’re Bit by a Brown Recluse Spider?

Within 30 minutes of being bitten by a brown recluse spider, there will be a burning sensation. In less than eight hours, a neurotic spot could develop that could continue to enlarge. This is because the spider injects cytotoxins into the bloodstream that could cause tissue damage or necrosis. 

If these symptoms do not happen within 48 to 96 hours, then necrosis is not likely to happen. If they do appear, then the area that was bitten could become sunken and ulcerated with lesions that could take months to heal. 

Can You Die from a Brown Recluse Spider Bite?

Death from a bite by a brown recluse is uncommon, but it can happen. If you have symptoms like fever, severe pain, nausea or chest pain, then you could be having a systemic reaction and should seek medical attention. These problems occur mostly in children under 7. 

What Do I Do if Bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider?

If bitten by a brown recluse spider, then you can ice the affected area—this will help reduce and prevent swelling, as well as help with lessing the potential tissue damage. Sanitizing the area is also important, as it can help prevent an infection from happening. 

When to Seek Medical Attention for a Spider Bite

Seeking medical attention is important because doctors would be able to spot early signs of any problems and treat any issues with medication before they become serious. Surgery is unlikely, but the doctor may also recommend a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one in multiple years. 

Brown Recluse Spider Control

Seeing a brown recluse spider is unlikely—you may never encounter one, but if you do, be cautious and stay clear of it without proper equipment. Getting control of your home from these spiders requires you to act quickly and wisely. In fact, if you see brown recluse spiders in your home, that may be a sign of a larger pest infestation. In that case, the best option is to hire a pest control professional to ensure the spiders are being handled properly. Professional spider exterminators will be able to flush the spiders out of their hiding spots to either a sticky pad or into the open to be removed. 

What do you do if you get your house treated for spiders?

  • Keep an eye out wherever you step or sit, because the spiders can easily be there and you may not notice them until it is too late. 
  • Shaking out your sheets and bedding where the spiders may like the warmth is a good idea in order to be sure there isn’t one there. 
  • If you see a brown recluse, either killing it with a closed-toed shoe or vacuuming it up are the best options in getting rid of the spider in the moment. 
  • Sealing cracks and crevices around the outside of your house will help the brown recluses and other pests from coming into your home. 
  • Eliminating clutter around your home in the different areas brown recluses like will also help keep them away.

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