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What You Should Know about the Brown Recluse Spider
The Brown Recluse spider is a nocturnal spider that is native to the United States. It is found primarily in the central mid-western states, predominantly in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri.
As you can see in the map below they cover quite a few more states and from the comments below you'll learn that they have been found even farther away.
Identification of the Brown Recluse
The Brown Recluse, also known as the Violin Spider, is brown (fancy that!) and has a body length of 8-12 mm with a total length with legs stretched of 45 mm. Their most distinctive feature is the dark violin shape on their back although it's less noticeable on the younger spiders.
One interesting thing to note, is that most U.S. spiders have 8 eyes (2 rows of 4) where the Brown Recluse only has 6 (3 pairs). I don't know about you, but I don't plan to get close enough to count his eyeballs!
This spider is often mis-identified since there are other spiders with dark markings that can look like a violin (particularly when you're scared, it's dark, etc). There are also a lot of other brown spiders.
My advice....if it's a spider, leave it alone.
The Brown Recluse, being a recluse, likes to hide/live in dark spots, particularly in garages, cellars, old clothes, shoes, vents, cardboard boxes, furniture, corners and cracks.
Basically, almost anywhere out of the way in places not disturbed much.
The Venomous Bite
The Brown Recluse is known to do most of its biting in the Spring and Summer.
- 38% of the people bitten get bitten while they sleep, usually by rolling over onto one
- 32% of the people bitten get bitten while putting on shoes or clothing that has one hiding in it
- 60% of those bitten see the spider and only 13% can identify the species
The spider is not aggressive. They only bite when being threatened or accidently touched.
Initially, most are unaware of the bite, but often develop symptoms a few hours later. The general symptoms are: chills, fever, nausea, itching, restlessness, vomiting.
The area of the bite can get 1-3 inches and take several months to heal leaving an ugly scar.
Brown Recluse Bite
How To Prevent Being Bitten by a Brown Recluse
There are several things you can do to lessen your chances of being bitten by a Brown Recluse spider. These things will actually help you decrease the chances of being bitten by other insects as well.
- Remember what I said earlier? If it looks like a spider stay away from it! Seems simple enough, right?
- Move your bed away from the wall. They will be less likely to get onto the bed from the walls.
- Remove the bed skirt and all items from under the bed. You want the only way for anything to get on the bed is from the four legs.
- Shake off your clothing and shoes before putting them on.
- Don't leave clothing or bedding on the floor.
- Store unused items in sealed plastic containers. Stores run them on sale all the time. Buy a few at a time until you have everything neatly stored in them. Get away from storing things in cardboard boxes.
- Routinely spray around your house. Shop around for prices. If you're comfortable doing it yourself there are lots of places online to get the necessary equipment and chemicals and save yourself some money.
For more information about Brown Recluse Spiders
- The Official Brown Recluse Spider
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