Brown Recluse Spider


What are Brown Recluse Spiders?

Often identified by a dark brown violin shape on its back, the brown recluse spider is predominantly found in the Midwest and Southeast of the United States. This species is well known for its “secretive” behaviors, as it prefers to take residence in warm, dry and dark environments, such as woodpiles, basements and closets. This arachnid bites, usually unintentionally when it feels trapped, typically when a hand or foot reaches into a shoe or piece of clothing or a box in the attic or basement where a brown recluse has made its home. Because their bites can take three or more hours to develop and about three weeks to heal, it is important to keep an eye on the individual which was bitten. The brown recluse venom can cause severe allergic reactions, notably in children, the elderly or those with preexisting medical conditions.

The brown recluse or fiddleback/violin spider gets its common names from its coloration and reclusive habits, or the dark violin/fiddle-shaped marking on the top of its chest. Brown recluse spiders are found in southern Europe, temperate Africa, and in North, Central, and South America. In the United States, brown recluse spiders are found predominantly in the Midwest and Southeast. Of the 11 recognized species, six are of public health importance.

What Do Brown Recluse Spiders Look Like?

Adult brown recluse spiders are usually about 1/4 to 1/2 inches in length. Their color ranges from tan to dark brown, usually with a darker fiddle-shaped marking on dorsum or top of the cephalothorax. Brown recluse spiders have six eyes arranged in three groups of two each (diads) in a semicircle. Spiderlings (immatures) are very similar to adults except they are smaller and slightly paler.

Signs of an Infestation

Signs of a brown recluse spider infestation mainly include spotting one, or noticing webs in and around the home. If you have an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.