The Brown Recluse Or Violin Spider
Arachnophobia And The Brown Recluse
Ah spiders! Even the baddest of men will sometimes shriek like small girls when surprised by one, and in the cases when anyone is surprised to find a brown recluse spider nearby, the shrieking is justified, but only when either a swift stroke of a blunt object eradicating the spider is used in conjunction with the shriek.
What is it about spiders that terrifies us so? I'm going to guess that it has to do with how utterly alien their appearance is. That and the fact spiders basically trap and then poison and wrap their prey for a meal later on, of course. Such spider stereotypes! The brown recluse wraps no poisoned prey in a web of misery and woe to await a slow torturous death while being eaten alive! No, the brown recluse spider chases down its prey like an athlete, where are the fans?
We do have a term for humankind's fear of spiders, and the term is arachnophobia, Often times our arachnophobia is unjustified, as the spider we've seen is rather harmless, but do take a good long look at the photo of the brown recluse spider below, and be certain that you know there are other times - times when a fear of spiders is a very healthy fear, and well justifiable.
The brown recluse spider or violin spider, Loxosceles reclusa
Brown Recluse Bite Tissue Necrosis
Brown Recluse Bites - Worst Case Scenarios
While the majority of brown recluse spider bites do not result in any symptoms, cutaneous symptoms occur more frequently than systemic symptoms.When the term "cutaneous" is used, we're referring to external symptoms, flesh damage, and tissue damage.
In such instances, the bite forms a necrotizing ulcer that destroys soft tissue and may take months to heal, leaving deep scars. These bites usually become painful and itchy within 2 to 8 hours. Pain and other local effects worsen 12 to 36 hours after the bite, and the necrosis develops over the next few days. Over time, the wound may grow to as large as 25 cm (10 inches). The damaged tissue becomes gangrenous and eventually sloughs away.
The Brown Recluse Spider's Venomous Bite
Now here recently I somehow or another acquired three whelts, two on my most manly six pack stomach, and one on my back. I have no idea if those were spider bites, but they sure aren't mosquito bites, as they are far larger, and seem to have lasted far longer than any other sorts of bug bites. I'm not truly sure my three whelts are bug bites at all, but it was suggested to me they were likely spider bites, and possibly, brown recluse spider bites.
Now before we get into the scary stuff, I should just take one for the spider team, and ..well, tell the truth. Brown recluse spiders aren't aggressive, and they don't want to bite you at all, what they want is for you to stay away from them, but they might like to live inside your home. A few years back a home in the state of Kansas was found to have around TWO THOUSAND brown recluse spiders living inside, four human beings lived inside the house, and NONE of them were ever bitten by ANY of the spiders even ONCE.
When brown recluse spiders do bite someone, it is by and large when a person is pressing against a brown recluse they, obviously, did not see. Think, "putting on a pair of gardening gloves with a brown recluse spider inside." Incidentally, the bit of example I just now shared in quotations, is a typical one, as brown recluse spiders will make their webs and homes in clothing items that have been sitting unused for a while.
When a human is bitten by a brown recluse spider, the individual typically does not initially feel the spider's bite, which is truly a problem. Most often, the brown recluse bite is not serious, but then in some instances, it can be deadly serious. It would literally be fortunate were the brown recluse bite to be instantly painful, as is a stinging scorpion's sting, or a red wasp's sting, as then, the unsuspecting victim would realize there is a potentially very bad problem to be addressed, and to seek medical care...as it is, what we do have is, well, sickness.
Brown recluse bite symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, rashes, and muscle and joint pain - and all these occur prior to any sort of tissue necrosis, so the good news is, if any, that one knows they are ill, and to definitely seek medical attention. Hopefully, a proper diagnosis of the illness will aid in preventing any tissue necrosis from occurring at all.
Regarding proper diagnosis, and not to be especially scare mongering here, just informative - the bad news is that, according to Wikipedia, as much as eighty percent of brown recluse bites are misdiagnosed.
Want some good news? A slight majority of brown recluse bites result in, well, nothing much at all.
Distribution Map - Brown Recluse Habitat In Green.
Where Do Brown Recluse Spiders Live?
Well, as you can see from the map, the brown recluse is right at home here with me in North East Texas, but don't you worry your pretty little self none, they travel to where you live too, and they do so in your clothes, your luggage, your automobiles, so forth, and so on. Oh they don't always set up lasting breeding populations so far from home, but don't put it past them, as they are evolving.
No, these spiders don't particularly wish to live inside your home, but they have no problems doing so, and they prefer cardboard boxes, as the cardboard reminds them of their natural homes in brush piles. Don't go sticking your hands behind the baseboards in your abode all willy nilly like, the brown recluse might be seeking to avoid you there, and you don't want to bother him or her.
The brown recluse spiders are called "recluses" for a reason - they don't really want to be around you, but they do come out of their homes at night to do some hunting, they figure you're best off in your bed where they can avoid you.
What Do Brown Recluse Spiders Eat?
Well, as I said, brown recluses like to hunt at night, but perhaps I should have said they like to hunt for food at night instead, as the term "hunt" generally indicates a search for live prey. Brown recluse spiders, you see, don't care if their meal was alive when they found it, or not. They're happy to clean up some dead bugs, or to kill them...either way is fine. Cockroaches are traditional table fare for the brown recluse spiders, and they figured you'd not mind sharing your cockroaches with them.
Wait, dude, cockroaches are way fast!
That's right, cockroaches are very fast, and brown recluses can catch them and eat them without the use of a web, but rather, with their eight legs. That's right - these venomous spiders are very fast.
Maybe the brown recluses want to provide some benefit to mankind despite the rather fearful attitude they often detect just before they hear you scream, and see your wiggly backside heading fast and far away from them.
It is said the brown recluses are exceedingly resistant to our chemical warfare against the arachnid and insect world, they can eat insect corpses littered with poison, and do it with a rare sort of gusto....they're rock star spiders.
Brown Recluse Identification - Spider Eyes!
Brown Recluse Spider Identification - It's In The Eyes!
Now I know you're absolutely loving the looks of that brown recluse image just above, and just look at that sunny disposition our little eight legged fella has!
The brown recluse has some special things about it, and its eyes are certainly special. Rather than having eight eyes as most spiders do, the brown recluse spider only has six eyes, three sets of two eyes each.
You absolutely must look a brown recluse spider in the eyes to identify the spider as such, but you aren't going to do that, and who do I think I'm kidding anyway? Just look at the photo above, and pretend that you counted a spider's eyes just once in your life before screaming, and reaching for something to swat the thing with.
Glue Traps - Ideal For Catching Brown Recluse Spiders.
How Do I Get Rid Of Brown Recluse Spiders In My House?
Well, an old aphorism goes as follows,
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Feel free to call me names and such, but it is certainly the truth stated above. I'm no neat freak myself, but I don't have, I don't think, any brown recluse spiders in my home, but that is just the thing - they call them "recluses" for a good reason, and as I've already said:
1. they like to hunt and have spider parties at nighttime
2. They like to hang out in piles of clothes you leave unattended on the floor for far too long
3. They like cardboard boxes because ...cardboard is made from wood, and these spiders naturally live in piles of brush, and rotting trees, things like that.
So plain enough, if you have a dirty cluttered home with piles of cardboard trash and piles of clothes sitting around, well, you brought the spiders upon yourself. Brush piles just outside your home could also well have the brown recluse hangouts within, and if your home is nearby, no matter how neat it is on the inside, the spiders outside might decide to move in with you.
What to do? Clean your mess up, or hire someone to come do it for you should you be unable, heck, call in some old favors, or use guilt - it's all better than having brown recluse spider bites. If you've cracks around your windows and doors, you need to get that stuff sealed up or repaired, and then, if you do know you do have brown recluse spiders in your home, you lay out the glue traps in places like...underneath your sinks, your hot water heater closet, closets you seldom use, in the attic, and wherever there have been spider sightings within the home.
If you can't stand the glue traps, well, you better deal with poison then, and hope it doesn't have adverse effects. Terro 2300 Spider Killer Aerosol might be for you, but if you have a major infestation, you might want to call a licensed exterminator.
If you're not going to do any of that, you could try naming them, getting to know them, and feeding them cockroaches by hand - but I don't advise it. Brown recluse spiders typically live a year or two, it takes them a year to reach maturity, and they can go without food for a very very long time.
These are very tough spiders.
Thanks for reading.
Brown Recluse Spider Size - Visual Comparison, With Baby And Adult Spider.
© 2013 Wesman Todd Shaw