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The brown recluse spider has a fearsome reputation. Like many things connected with spiders, most of that is legend and apocryphal. Brown recluse spiders do pose a risk to certain segments of the population and they have been known to bite people. However, brown recluse bites occur in very rare circumstances.
Size - Brown recluse spiders range from one-quarter to half-an inch in diameter. Roughly the same size as a quarter.
Eyes - A brown recluse has six pairs of eyes on its head, rather than the usual eight pairs like other spiders.
Color - generally light to dark brown in color, but some species can appear gray. They have markings on the top of their bodies that are a darker brown and can have a vague violin shape, giving them one of their alternate names: fiddleback spider.
The brown recluse is found in a very select section of the United States. This area is usually within the mid section of the country, in a line from southeast Nebraska to Iowa, southern Illinois, and into the southwestern portions of Ohio. They are also found in areas south to central Texas, western parts of Georgia and into Kentucky.
The brown recluse generally stays within this area, although there have been a few transported in boxes or shipped items to other areas, but so far they have not established a foothold anywhere else outside the regions described above. They are not in California, for example, despite persistent rumors that they have been found there.
The brown recluse, by its very name, is a shy arachnid. They prefer to hide. They like to hide in wood piles, piles of leaves, between debris, but can sometimes hide in between things like cardboard boxes.
Because of their reclusive nature, the brown recluse will hide in places like shoes, piles of clothes, inside clothing, beneath blankets and sheets and other areas that could bring them in contact with humans. The spiders might then be pressed against the skin of a human who has put their foot inside their shoe or put on an article of clothing. Most spiders in general will react defensively and bite.
The brown recluse will create messy and disorganized webs when they settle into a spot they like. One section of the web will become a kind of shelter for the spider.
When disturbed, brown recluse spiders will take up a threat pose by raising its first two legs and leaning back on its rearmost legs so it can strike forward. However, the brown recluse will typically just try to escape when encountered. Some cases have been reported of brown recluse spiders playing dead.
Brown recluse spiders are one of the most dangerous spiders in North America due to their venomous bites. Often the bite is not even felt when it first happens. After a short period time, the bite area may become red, irritated and painful. The person bitten may have a variety of reactions from nausea, vomiting, fever, rashes and pain in the muscles or joints. These symptoms may be mild or severe depending on the person bitten.
In a few cases, brown recluse bites will cause the flesh around the bite to blacken or rot, a symptom known as necrosis. Studies have shown that this happens in only about 37% of the time to those bitten. Lesions may form and an ulcer around the bite region is possible. In these cases, immediate medical treatment is required
In some rare cases, the venom can be serious enough to cause the need for hospitalization and can result in death. The elderly, young children and people suffering from other health problems are more prone to severe reactions to brown recluse spider bites. It must be stressed that deaths because of brown recluse bites are extremely rare. Statistically, more people are killed by lightning than by brown recluse bites.
If you think that you have been bitten, it is best to seek immediate medical attention just to be safe. The treatment can vary depending on the person, their reaction to the bite and how serious the symptoms are. If you are bitten, attempt to capture the spider and bring it with to the hospital or doctor’s office so an assessment on the proper treatment can be made.
Rentokil Steritech technicians are experts in spider control treatment and prevention. Brown recluse spiders have been known to infest homes, so if you feel that they might be a problem around your home or property, call us for a free site inspection. We will seek out the most likely areas where they might be hiding and remove the spiders and webs. We will also provide advice on how to prevent them from returning.
Contact us online or call us at 888-261-7454 to schedule an appointment and discuss our spider removal and prevention solutions.