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The Brown Recluse Spider: What You Need to Know

des moines brown recluse spider

Spiders are an important part of the ecological system, as well as any household. These multi-legged creatures eat other spiders and insects that you probably don’t want crawling around. But some spiders, regardless of their diet, are dangerous to humans as well as pets, and should be destroyed if they have taken up residence in your home. The brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa), is one such spider.

About This Unusual Arachnid

The brown recluse is unique because it only has six eyes, unlike most spiders that have eight.

While the brown recluse isn’t known for specifically attacking humans, it is well-known for fighting (biting) back when provoked. What this unusual arachnid considers a provocation, is open for debate. Basically, any movement from you within its vicinity may be seen as a threat.

The venom that a brown recluse possesses is actually several times more poisonous than several venomous snakes. Lucky for humans, its tiny fangs aren’t capable of injecting the same amount of poison that a snake can. In fact, the brown recluse has smaller fangs than most other spiders. Nonetheless, it is still entirely capable of biting a human and injecting its venom.

The female brown recluse can lay several egg sacs, each containing approximately 50 eggs, during warm season months. Spiderlings will emerge from the eggs sacs within a month’s time, and can expect to live up to two years in the right conditions. Brown recluse spiders can survive up to six months without food or water.

Brown recluse spiders are most commonly found in Midwestern states, but have been located in the southeastern and southwestern regions as well.

How to Identify A Brown Recluse

The brown recluse is, well, brown, but perhaps the best way to confirm its identity is through its signature violin-shaped marking on its body. This marking isn’t always the exact shape of a violin but it will be a slightly darker shade of brown than the rest of the body. If there are color variations other than brown, or if its legs are a darker brown than its body, it’s not a brown recluse. While some spiders have “spine” markings on their legs, the brown recluse has several fine hairs. The width of a brown recluse body is about a ½ an inch.

Tips For Getting Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders

Since moving around in your sleep would be considered an act of provocation by a brown recluse, it is imperative that you gear up, so to speak, if you plan to handle one. Be sure to don full length pants, a long-sleeved, shirts, boots, and gloves.

Identify any potential spots in your home where they might be living. The brown recluse prefers to live indoors, but can survive outside if necessary. Dark places like attics, crawl spaces, garages, and heating ducts are common abodes. Additionally, the brown recluse spider may take up residence behind baseboards, closets, and crevices near the bed. Outdoor locations include outbuildings and woodpiles.

Ensuring that traps are out of reach for children and pets, place glue boards or sticky cards in these areas and check the traps daily. While these cards are effective for trapping, they don’t typically destroy an infestation.

Insecticidal dusts and sprays are far more effective for controlling a large population of brown recluse spiders. Protective gear such as safety masks and goggles are highly recommended. Use these products to spray or puff into identified cracks and crevices where they are living, as well as along the base of your home’s foundation.


Understanding the basic details, potential threats, and how to properly identify this unusual spider are the first steps to getting rid of a brown recluse infestation. If you are bitten, contact a medical professional immediately. A bite from a brown recluse spider can cause extensive tissue damage if left untreated.

Miller Pest & Termite recognizes that all homes and infestations are different; we will customize a plan for your particular situation and get rid of these dangerous pests quickly. 

To learn more about how we can rid your home of brown recluse spiders, 

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