Most spiders are harmless and you shouldn’t be worried about them, but there are a few that can be harmful to your health. This includes the brown recluse spider. Thus, if you have these in your home, you are probably wondering how to get rid of brown recluse spiders.
What Are Brown Recluse Spiders?
Brown recluse spiders are arachnids that can be found in the south central and Midwestern part of the U.S. More often than not, you won’t encounter a brown recluse outside of its native range, unless it has been transported there when you move or after being on vacation.
These spiders can vary in size, but with their legs extended, they are usually about the size of a U.S. quarter. Their coloration ranges from tan to dark brown, with the abdomen and legs being of uniform color. They don’t have any stripes, molting, or bands. One of the distinguishing features that you might notice on a brown recluse spider is the violin shape on its back. The neck of the violin points toward the rear of the spider.
A brown recluse spider has long, thin legs that lack spines, as well as a definitive eye pattern. They have a semi-circular arrangement of six eyes that are set into three groups of two. This is different from most other spiders, which have eight eyes. However, to see this feature, you’ll need a magnifying glass, and most people aren’t interested in getting that close to this spider to scrutinize the eyes.
Habitat and Behavior
When outside, brown recluse spiders live under rocks, woodpiles, logs, and debris. However, they have become well adapted to living indoors with humans. They can live through long winters in unheated basements and hot summers in the attic. They can also go for months without food or water.
Unlike other spiders, the brown recluse does not use a web to capture prey. It hunts at night and looks for both live and dead creatures to consume. It can be the prey item of other species of spiders, so it may be beneficial to allow these spiders to stay in your home when you are considering how to get rid of brown recluse spiders.
During the day, the brown recluse spider retreats to secluded, dark areas. These retreats are usually lined with irregular webbing and used to form their egg sacs. An adult female generally does not venture far from her retreat, while males and younger spiders have a tendency to venture far and wide, including into shoes, clothing, and even bedding.
If you happen to see a brown recluse out during the day crawling on a wall or across the floor, they are more than likely hungry and looking for something to eat. Other factors that will have them out during this time include pesticides and overcrowding.
The eggs sacs of these spiders contain 40 to 50 eggs, and after the spiders emerge, they will molt five to eight times before they are officially adults. If you think you might have an infestation in your home, then finding the molts, which are incredibly distinctive, can confirm this suspicion.
Prey Items of Brown Recluse Spiders
When the brown recluse heads out to hunt, it is generally looking for cockroaches, crickets, firebrats, and other crawling insects. It may also go after ants and other spiders. When it finds a live prey item that it wants to eat, it will lunge for it and bite, injecting its venom into the prey. It will then retreat and let the venom do its work.
After the prey has become paralyzed, the spider comes back to eat it. If there are no live prey items in the area, it will also scavenge for dead insects that it can consume.
Places Brown Recluse Spiders Like to Hide
When you are trying to figure out how to get rid of brown recluse spiders, it’s helpful to know where they like to hide. They can be found in wall/floor junctures, crevices, and corners. They can also be found behind stored items and clutter. They may also find places to hide behind walls or in the voids of concrete block foundations.
Many times, if they are in your garage, attic, crawl space, or basement, they will be in joists, rolled insulation, and sills and rafters. If you have boxes or other items that have been stored for an extended period of time, you may also find brown recluses hiding in these areas.
Brown recluse spiders have also been found behind baseboards, within ducts and registers, and above suspended ceilings. In essence, if the space gets dark and is secluded, you can assume that a brown recluse spider will find it an ideal place to hang out.
Is There a Need for Getting Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders?
For many people, they think that there’s a need to get rid of all spiders, even those that aren’t harmful to humans. When it comes to the brown recluse, this is a species that you definitely don’t want to share a space with. They are dangerous to humans, and their bites and venom have been known to cause major problems.
Some things to keep in mind when thinking about how to get rid of brown recluse spiders is that they aren’t aggressive. While their bites can be dangerous, they usually only bite in response to pressure. Thus, if there is one in your shoe or the sleeve of your shirt and you don’t know it, when you press against them, their reaction is to bite. This isn’t good for you, but the spider isn’t trying to be vicious either. It’s acting on instinct.
Brown Recluse Spider Bites
If you get bit by a brown recluse, you more than likely will not feel the initial bite. After 3 to 8 hours, the bite may become swollen, red, and tender. Most brown recluse spider bites will stay localized and heal within 3 weeks without medical intervention or serious complications. However, in some cases, you could develop a necrotic lesion, which appears as a dry, bluish patch that sinks into your skin and has a pale center and redness on the edges.
There is usually a central blister and as the venom continues to damage and destroy tissues that may increase by several inches over days or weeks. The ulcer can last for several months and leave a deep scar.
Brown recluse bites can lead to fever, chills, rash, vomiting, or dizziness. Those who may be more impacted by the venom include people in poor health, children, and the elderly.
10 Essential Tips for How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders
It could be possible to have brown recluse spiders living in your home and you wouldn’t know it. However, if you are looking for how to get rid of brown recluse spiders, the 10 tips below could help with this endeavor.
1. Get Rid of Favorable Conditions
Since brown recluse spiders like dark, secluded areas, take these away from them. Fill any cracks or holes you have in your home with caulk or silicone. If you have a lot of boxes or other items in storage, get rid of these or consider using plastic tubs that are harder for creatures to climb into.
2. Keep the House Clean
In addition to getting rid of clutter, keeping your house clean may also deter spiders from hanging out in your home. Since brown recluse eat cockroaches and other insects, a clean house will take away the food sources for these prey creatures and may reduce the number of spiders you have in your home.
3. Use Insecticide
You may consider spraying insecticide or doing a dusting when looking for ways to get rid of brown recluse spiders. This will kill them or at least make the environment unpleasant for them to live in. Again, this can also be a way to get rid of their prey, forcing them to live somewhere else that is more friendly.
4. Plant Some Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is a natural brown recluse repellant, so you might consider putting some leaves on your windowsills or having live plants in your home or garden. In addition to keeping these spiders at bay, this plant smells great and can be used for medicinal purposes.
5. Set out Spider Traps
The most common spider trap for catching brown recluse is sticky traps. As they walk across the surface, they will get stuck, and then you can throw the trap in the trash.
6. Pick Up Your Clothes
Make sure to keep your clothes picked up. If you have them in storage, consider putting them in sealed plastic bags or washing them before you wear them.
7. Remove Bed Skirts
Bed skirts can be a great place for spiders to hide as well as access the mattress and covers. Consider removing this item to reduce the chances of a brown recluse encounter.
8. Spray Your House with Peppermint Oil or Vinegar
Some spiders don’t like peppermint oil or vinegar, so you might consider spraying this around your home as a natural deterrent to get rid of brown recluse.
9. Use the Vacuum
You can use your vacuum to get into the dark spaces that you can’t reach to suck out spiders or their egg sacs, which could reduce the number of brown recluse in your home.
10. Call in a Professional
If you don’t want to deal with finding out how to get rid of brown recluse spiders or have tried some techniques with no luck, then calling in a professional may be a good idea to get the pests out of your home.
Most people don’t want to share their home with spiders. They especially don’t want to share their space with a spider that can be dangerous. Thus, it can be a great idea to find out how to get rid of brown recluse spiders so that they don’t infest your home.