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brown recluse spider


This species of the brown recluse is the one most often encountered in the Indiana/Illinois/Kentucky tri-state area. This arachnid has developed a notorious reputation due to the necrotic venom contained in its bite, which may induce severe skin ulceration and scarring. It is important to note that not all brown recluse bites result in skin ulcerations and that bites of other spiders, such as the hobo spider and yellow sac spider, may cause similar reactions. Recluses typically bite when trapped between another surface and flesh, as when putting on articles of clothing or when an individual sleeping rolls over on a spider.

Biology and Behavior

brown recluse spider covered in dust

  • Adult brown recluse spiders are usually about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch in body length with a total leg span of 1 1/4 to 2 inches.

  • These spiders are tan to dark brown with a darker fiddle-shaped marking on top of the cephalothorax (body segments where legs are attached).

  • Recluses have six eyes uniquely arranged in three groups of two (diads) in a semicircle.

  • Recluses prefer to inhabit undisturbed areas, such as attics, crawl spaces, basements, closets, areas under furniture, and inside wall voids.

  • You can often see male recluse spiders and juveniles. Females generally stay well hidden, making them more challenging to eliminate.

Brown Recluse Spider Prevention Tips

  • Due to their reclusive nature and sometimes inaccessible habitats, control of brown recluse spiders is a difficult task requiring much diligence.

  • Heavy placements of glue board insect monitors are most effective in intercepting foraging spiders.

  • Residual insecticide applications to interior voids and cracks and crevices and exterior perimeter are also helpful.

  • Routine cleaning of seldom disturbed spaces such as under furniture, in closets, basements, and attached garages can help eliminate hiding places for these spiders.

  • Keep laundry off the floor, remove bed skirts and shake out shoes and clothing before use to help prevent bites.

  • Keep all storage items in thoroughly sealed containers to eliminate habitat.

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