Feature Contributors

Brown Recluse Spider

Most spiders that live in structures are harmless and, in most cases, very beneficial in controlling other insect pests. However, in Indiana there are two potentially dangerous spiders. The Brown Recluse and the Black Widow.

Today we will discuss the Brown Recluse spider. Often spiders are misidentified as brown recluse when seen in a structure. Many spiders are confused with the brown recluse including wolf spiders, grass spiders and a variety of others. To have a plan of action in controlling brown recluse spiders, it is necessary to start with a correct identification.

All spiders have 8 legs and two body regions the cephalothorax and abdomen. The following are the key identifiers.

  1. Brown Recluse spider body size is about 3/8 of an inch and with legs extended no larger than a quarter.
  2. Brown Recluse has 6 eyes in (dyads) or pairs.
  3. Brown Recluse has a violin or fiddle shape on the cephalothorax or (head region) of the body.
  4. Brown Recluse has uniformly colored legs with no spines.

Brown Recluse spider bites are rare because they are reclusive and live in secluded or cluttered areas and normally search at night for food and mating. About 10% of recluse spider bites can cause moderate or greater tissue damage and scarring. Most just cause inflammation but may make bacterial infection a concern. If bitten, don’t wait too long for medical attention. If your bite is a brown recluse spider bite, it is initially painless but can develop a necrotic lesion or ulcer much like a staph infection along with other symptoms.

The female can lay hundreds of eggs and protects them in a web crib. Brown Recluse Spiders take about 1 year to mature and can live for up to 2-4 years.  Brown Recluse spiders are not aggressive but if disturbed, sat on or laid on, the spider will pack a punch with a bite.

Here is the tip. Don’t mess with them and make your home and property not welcoming.

  • Keep debris away form and in the house.
  • Declutter because clutter creates an inviting habitat.  
  • Trim back weeds and bushes away from the structure.
  • Clothing in piles or unused in a while should be shaken out to be safe.

As always, feel free to call to talk about your situation and create a plan to be safe.