Few things are more nerve-racking than stumbling onto a spider scurrying across your floor in the middle of the night or finding a spider in your shoe. Spiders are feared by many due to their creepy looks, many legs, and many sets of eyes. However, most species of spiders are actually benign pests that eat other much more destructive and annoying pests, like mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches, and more.
However, there are two primary types of spiders in North America that are dangerous to humans: the brown recluse spider and the black widow spider. Both of these species are considered medically hazardous due to their venomous bites. Brown recluse spider bites can cause serious side effects, such as fever, vomiting, dizziness, and destroy the tissue around the spider bite area. However, this is rare. Even more rare is a fatality caused by a brown recluse spider. Still, it’s wise to take brown recluse spiders seriously if you spot them on your property or inside your home because the risk is there. Medical attention is often needed to ensure that you do not end up with an infection from the brown recluse spider bite.
This guide on spider control and brown recluse spider infestations includes the following topics:
- How To Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders Inside Your Home
- How To Keep Brown Recluse Spiders Out of Your Yard
- How To Identify Brown Recluse Spiders
- Signs & Causes of a Brown Recluse Spider Infestation
- How To Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders Inside Your Home
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table Of Contents
How To Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders Inside Your Home
If you’ve found brown recluse spiders in your home, it’s time to act immediately before the infestation worsens. Brown recluse spiders can create egg sacs and quickly expand an infestation if not dealt with immediately, so don’t hesitate to get professional pest control help quickly or begin using the following tips.
- Use smells to your advantage. Many pests, including brown recluse spiders, dislike strong scents, such as essential oils. Try using eucalyptus, citronella, or lavender essential oils in a mixture of water and dish soap. Simply add a few drops of essential oils and dish soap to a spray bottle filled with water. Then use your DIY solution around areas that are common for spiders to hang out around, such as baseboards, closets, entryways, or window sills.
- Clean your home thoroughly. By keeping your home clean and free of food crumbs, you’re reducing the chances of insects wandering into your home to eat leftover food crumbs or spills. This will minimize the brown recluse spider’s opportunity to find their preferred food, insects, in your home, which will discourage them from taking up residence.
- Use vinegar as a spider killer. Vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar, is highly toxic to spiders. If you find brown recluse spiders, liberally spray them with vinegar, and they will die from the acidity.
- Purchase spider traps. Spider traps, which are typically sticky traps or glue boards, are great for catching spiders. Once a spider runs across a glue trap, it cannot move, and you can easily throw them away with the trap.
- Purchase an insecticide to fight spiders. Apply a spider-specific insecticide against spiders and other pests in your home to kill brown recluses and other pests. We recommend closely following the pesticide’s instructions and applying it liberally around the perimeter of your home and other spider hot spots inside your house.
- Buy a spider spray. Aerosol spider sprays can be an effective way to spray and kill any spiders you see quickly. Have one on hand to help you immediately deal with brown recluse spiders without having to risk getting too close to one and getting bitten.
- Destroy all webs. Use your vacuum cleaner to quickly clean up dirt, egg sacs, and spiders that you may see. Then take a broom and knock down any spider webs that you see. If you eliminate a brown recluse spider’s ability to capture their food, they will eventually be forced to leave your home to search for better food sources.
- Use door sweeps. Door sweeps can prevent brown recluse spiders and other pests from entering your home by filling in that gap underneath your door. Use these to your advantage to exclude pests from entering your residence. Door sweeps can also save you money on heating and cooling, so they are an overall beneficial addition to your home.
- Declutter your home, garage, and shed. Brown recluse spiders love clutter, stacked boxes, and quiet, undisturbed areas with many hiding places, such as your garage or shed. Do a thorough declutter of these areas to eliminate potential hiding places that these spiders may use to build webs and create egg sacs.
- Use an ultrasonic pest repeller. Ultrasonic pest repellers emit ultrasonic sound waves and vibrations that scare away many pests, like spiders and cockroaches. It’s an entirely natural method that many homeowners prefer. However, you should keep in mind that your pets may be able to hear the noise and will likely be bothered by it too, so this option is best for pet-free homes.
f brown recluse spiders in your yard:
- Eliminate outdoor hiding places. Brown recluse spiders love to build webs and hide out among woodpiles, debris, leaves, stones, and other piles of materials outside. Clean up these piles regularly and move any that you must keep as far away from your home as possible to prevent them from using this as an entry point to your home.
- Seal cracks and crevices in your home’s exterior. Regularly examine your home for any cracks or crevices in your exterior, then use a caulking product or sealant to fill these holes so that pests can not enter your home through them.
- Examine window and door screens. Take a look at your window and door screens and replace or repair any with tears in them.
- Kill other insect infestations immediately. Brown recluse spiders are often attracted to our yards because of other insects in our yards. Insects, such as ants, cockroaches, crickets, and bed bugs, are preferred food sources for these spiders. So, if you have any other pest problems, make sure that you immediately take care of them with pesticides or other treatments before it attracts other pests, such as brown recluse spiders.
- Keep up with your yard work. Brown recluse spiders love to hide in tall grass, debris, piles of leaves, overgrown yards, ledges, vegetation, and more. Make sure that you regularly trim your plants, especially those near your home, to prevent brown recluses from getting too close to your house.
- Minimize outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting attracts many insects, such as flies and mosquitoes, which are excellent food sources for spiders. Keep your outdoor lights on only when needed to minimize their attraction to your home. You may also want to consider changing your bulbs to yellow or sodium vapor light bulbs to discourage pests from hanging around your lights and attracting brown recluse spiders.
- Apply diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is an effective household pest killer because it affects the spider’s exoskeleton and dehydrates them until they die. Apply thin strips of diatomaceous earth near entry points into your home and other typical outdoor spider havens, such as near firewood or sheds.
- Apply insecticide outdoors. There are many effective insecticides on the market that can be applied outdoors to kill brown recluses and other pests. While effective, keep in mind that many of these are not safe to use around children and pets, though.
Brown recluse spider bites can cause serious side effects, such as fever, vomiting, dizziness, and destroy the tissue around the spider bite area. However, this is rare.
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How To Identify Brown Recluse Spiders
Brown recluse spiders, also known as Loxosceles reclusa, fiddle-back spiders, or violin spiders, can be tricky to identify because they resemble many types of spiders. However, identifying them is crucial because they are venomous spiders that can cause bodily harm to you and your loved ones.
As their name suggests, brown recluse spiders are brown, and they sometimes have a dark brown violin-shaped mark on their back, which is where the name “violin spider” came from. When their legs are extended, they are around the size of a quarter. Unlike most spiders, brown recluse spiders only have six eyes, rather than the typical eight eyes. Their long legs and body are covered in fine hairs, which makes them appear velvety. Some people mistake wolf spiders for brown recluses. However, wolf spiders are noticeably larger, hairier, and do not build webs.
Another critical factor is their incredibly solitary, reclusive nature. Brown recluse spiders are not aggressive pests and will typically not bite unless they feel threatened and are pressed up against human skin, which is good news for us. However, when they do bite, their bites are dangerous and can cause serious medical harm, especially to children, the elderly, or those who are immunocompromised.
Brown recluse spiders are typically found in the South and Midwest, though they can be found throughout the United States, primarily in warmer climates. Texas, Ohio, Alabama, and Georgia are some of the most heavily infested areas for brown recluse spiders. When they are found in colder climates, they do not typically form larger infestations due to the less favorable conditions.
Brown recluse spiders are part of the web-building spider group, so if you have an infestation, you can expect to find webs throughout your home. Brown recluse spider webs are irregular and loose rather than neat spiral or symmetrical webs that many other species of spiders build. They tend to create webs in dark, dry spaces such as closets, crawl spaces, attics, basements, and more.
For the most part, brown recluse spiders will retreat to their hiding places, and you will not see them throughout the day. However, if you begin seeing brown recluse spiders during the day, know that your chances of having a large infestation are much higher. Daytime activity is unusual behavior that may indicate some brown recluse spiders being driven out of your home due to hunger from overcrowded spider populations (in your home.)
Signs & Causes of a Brown Recluse Spider Infestation
Unfortunately, brown recluse spiders are more than comfortable living inside human homes. In fact, they actually prefer it, unlike the majority of spiders. This makes getting rid of a brown recluse spider infestation difficult.
Typical signs of a brown recluse spider infestation:
- Irregular, loose webs throughout your home or property
- Having an existing insect infestation (possible food source)
- Being bitten by a brown recluse spider
- Finding off-white silken egg sacs
Causes of a brown recluse spider infestation:
- Overgrown weeds and tall grass
- Plenty of hiding places, such as closets, crawl spaces, basement, and clutter
- Existing insect infestation (food supply)
- Easy access to your home (through cracks and crevices in your home’s exterior)
- Cold weather (brown recluse spiders may look for shelter in your home)
- Easy access to water
- Open windows or doors
- Firewood piles or debris (a popular hiding place for spiders)
Brown recluse spiders are solitary, non-aggressive spiders that eat many other household pests. However, they’re still a severe danger to homeowners due to their venomous bites, which can cause serious health implications, discomfort, and, in extreme cases, fatality. If you have a brown recluse spider problem, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local exterminator because brown recluse spiders do breed quickly and can rapidly take over your home, making it an unsafe place to live in.