How To Get Rid Of Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown Recluse Spider

Brown Recluse Spiders Stay Hidden

The reclusive nature of a brown recluse spider seeks hiding places and shelter. Getting rid of Brown Recluse spiders will require understanding this reclusive behavior.

Brown recluse spiders are one of the two venomous spiders in North America, the other being the Black Widow that can inflict a dangerous bite.

  1. Eliminate Favorable Condions: Get rid of Brown Recluse spiders by first eliminating the favorable conditions of their hiding areas.
  2. Inspect and Clean: Inspect for brown recluse spiders and either vacuum them or spray them with a contact aerosol like Zenprox Aerosol or CB 80. Zenprox will quickly kill them and stay active for a period of time.
  3. Insecticide Sprays and Dust: We suggest using a residual insecticide as a perimeter spray such a Suspend Poly Zone, LambdaStar UltraCap 9.7, Cyper WSP or Onslaught to remove as many insects as possible that would enter your home and serve as food sources for these spiders. You can also spray this inside on baseboards, in corners, under furniture and other areas where they are running. Just spraying these residual insecticides is not enough of a treatment, however. It needs to be accompanied by inspection, cleaning and dusting. We have a kit with Suspend Polyzone and Zenprox Aerosol head in one kit called the Residential Spider Kit. Use the Suspend Polyzone outside (it may be sprayed inside as well) and the Zenprox Aerosol with its crack and crevice tip is used to spray into hiding places where the liquid can not reach.
  4. Important: It is important to inspect, clean and exclude as much as possible and use a residual insecticide dust like D-Fense Dust. Use D-Fense Dust in all of their hiding places discussed below, such as wall voids, light switch plates, behind baseboards. This dust will stay in place 6 months to a year. There are several hand held dusters that can be used with insecticide dusts.
  5. Outside: Besides spraying the perimeter, dust in voids, openings and cracks and crevices found on the exterior of the buiding. Dust any cracks and crevices with D-Fense Dust before sealing the openings.
  6. Read further spider control procedures outlined at Get Rid Of Spiders.

Inspection and Exclusion of Brown Recluse Spiders

  • Make sure to wear long sleeves and gloves during inspection.
  • Always wear long sleeves shirts and gloves when you inspect for Brown Recluse Spiders. Since they stay in recessed and hidden areas, use a flashlight.
  • They may be found in cluttered basements or closets. Brown recluse spiders are found in dark recesses, inhabiting stored clothing, old shoes, toys, books, boxes, furniture, stored linens and undisturbed towels, sheds,ect.
  • They can take shelter under furniture, appliances and carpets, behind baseboards and door facings, or in corners and crevices.
  • Look for cobwebs, particulary around clutter, under insulation, inside wall voids. Their webs are irregular and loose and only used during the day for holding eggs. Their webs are hidden and used for retreats. It is made of silk spun in a recessed or hidden area such behind a mirror or wall void. They do not have their webs in open areas. The Brown Recluse is a hunting type of spider and not a web-hanging spider.
  • They don't use webs for hunting and capturing food. These spiders wander at night and hunt for their prey. Their diet consists of other insects such as cockroaches and small insects. Many times, if you see a web hung on a ceiling, along walls, around shrubs, etc., they belong to another type of spider.
  • Eliminate outside locations for brown recluse spiders:
    They may be found in storage houses or buildings where items are stored. Brown recluse spiders may be found in sheltered corners among debris, wood piles, piles of rocks, logs, debris,leaves and under loose bark or stones.
  • Inspect and clean inside locations for brown recluse spiders:
    They are usually found indoors, in bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, garages, basements and cellars. Brown Recluse spiders may be found in areas with forced hot air heating and air conditioning and often above-ceiling duct work, and can be found harboring in or around the duct work or registers.
  • Seal cracks and crevices: As much as possible, seal openings, crack and crevices in and around your home. Look for cracks and crevices in window sills, cables, wires, around pipes and door thresholds.

Brown Recluse Spider - Regions

brown recluse spider locations

Brown Recluse spiders can be found in the southern, western and mid western United States, especially Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Missouri. Brown recluse spiders are very adaptable and may be active in temperatures ranging from 45 to 110 degrees F.

Brown Recluse spiders are also known as, fiddleback spiders violin spiders, and recluse spiders.


The female lays eggs in off-white silken cases, from May through August. Females can lay 300 eggs in her lifetime. Spiderlings emerge in 24-36 days leaving the egg case with slow development( 10-12 months), and are influenced by weather conditions and food availability. They reach maturity in 10-12 months. These spiders can survive as long as two years without available food or water.

Brown Recluses - Avoidance Tips

  • Brown Recluse Spider- Univ.of NebThe brown recluse spider will only bite when disturbed in their secluded spot. This could occur under furniture or beds.
  • It would be wise to shake out your clothing and shoes before dressing.
  • Inspect items before using. If the brown recluse infestation is heavy, seal clothing items and shoes in plastic bags.
  • Don't garden, handle firewood, pine straw, etc, without gloves.
  • Try to keep doors and windows screened and shut.
  • Minimize light from the outside. Lights attract insects, and the insects attract the spiders.
  • Don't go barefoot.
  • Remove beds from walls and curtaints, keeping bedspreads and bed skirts from touching the floor.
  • Lighten Up a room or let sun into the house.
  • Keep children and pets off of the floor away from dark cluttered areas.
  • Inspect bedding before getting into bed.
  • Eliminate as much clutter as possible in storage areas and frequently dust and vacuum around windows, corners of rooms, and under furniture.
  • Dust and vacuum thoroughly to remove dead insects, spiders, webs, and egg sacs.
  • Since brown recluse spiders stay hidden during the daytime hours in boxes, in furniture and other stored items, they can be easily transported. Check these boxes.

How to Identify Brown Recluse Spiders

  • Brown recluse spider adults are soft-bodies, yellowish-tan to dark brown,uniform color.
  • brown recluse eyes6 eyes; most spiders have 8 eyes
  • Oval shaped abdomen
  • The adult body varies from 1/3-to 1/2 inch in length. With the legs it can be an overall size of 1 inch diameter or greater(Body not more than 1/2").
  • No spines on legs with long thin legs that are uniformly colored.
  • If the body is a different color than the legs, or if the legs have different colors, it is not a Brown Recluse spider. If there are more than one color on the abdomen, it is not a Brown Recluse

  • spines on spider legs means it is not a brown recluse spiderBrown Recluse spiders have only fine hairs; if they have thick spines on their legs, they are not recluses.
  • The brown recluse spider has a distinctive darker brown violin-shaped mark, with the neck of the violin pointing towards the abdomen
  • Tail end has no markings.

Brown Recluse Spider Bites

People commonly get brown recluse spider bites in areas that the spiders had been hidiing in shoes, stored towels, the old work shirt in the shed, etc.
It is very common to get a brown recluse spider bite when you are changing clothes, putting your hands into a pocket, or putting on shoes. The brown recluse spider had crawled in there at some time to take shelter. The Brown Recluse commonly bites when it is disturbed by being squeezed.

The initial pain with the brown recluse spider bites is not intense, unless there is a severe reaction. Within 8 to 12 hours the pain from the brown recluse spider bite becomes intense. Within 24 to 36 hours, the victim may have a fever,chills, nausea, joint pain or be restless. The area of the brown recluse spider bite enlarges, becomes inflamed and the tissue is hard to touch.

The venom of this spider has an enzyme that destroys cell membranes in the wounded area. The affected tissue sloughs away, exposing underlying tissues. and over a period of a few days a large ulcerous sore forms.

An open wound from the brown recluse spider bite may range form the size of an adult's thumbnail to the span of a hand. The sore heals very slowly (6-8 weeks) and often leaves a large, disfiguring scar.

If bitten, collect the spider if possible for identification get medical attention immediately.

Apply ice packs to relieve the swelling in the brown recluse spider bite area.

National Hotline Poison Center : 1-800-222-1222