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The brown recluse spider is one of the most dangerous spiders in North America. They are particularly widespread in our area of Kansas City, as well as the rest of the lower midwest. As the temperature heats up during the summer, brown recluses become extremely active, and there are more and more reports of them in homes. Keep reading to learn how to identify brown recluse spiders and protect against them. The first step is identifying and preventing them, but if you need spider control, we’re always available to help out.

What does a brown recluse look like?

Brown recluse spiders are about the size of a quarter with their legs fully extended (between 6 and 20 mm). They are typically medium brown in color, but can range from light tan to dark brown. The main distinguishing feature is a violin or fiddle shaped mark on their backs. This mark appears to have the neck of the fiddle pointing toward the rear of the spider. This also gives the brown recluse its nickname of “fiddleback spider.” Other spiders have similar markings, so to make a conclusive identification, you have to get a look at its eyes. Most spiders have 4 pairs of eyes for eight total. The brown recluse has 6 eyes arranged in 3 pairs.

 

 

How dangerous are brown recluses?

Brown recluse spiders are not usually aggressive unless trapped or disturbed. They hide in dark, dry places and come out of hiding to prey on various insects. Most people who are bitten by a brown recluse do not feel the bite at first. Some may only notice a pimple-like swelling. Others, however may experience a necrotic (tissue damaging) wound that is extremely slow to heal. A very small number of people may experience systemic symptoms that affect the entire body. While the bite is not usually fatal, the venom of the brown recluse can cause serious pain and scarring.

How can you protect your home and family?

Like with most insects, one of the best things you can do is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Keep your yard free of garbage and debris like firewood, boxes, plywood, and brush piles. Garbage close to the home is especially important to get rid of because it provides direct access to your house. Walk around your home and seal any cracks that may exist, along with small entry holes that were originally created for electrical and plumbing. On the inside of your home, there are also precautions that you can take. Move your bed away from the walls and remove things from under the bed so that spiders don’t have an easy way to get onto the bed. You should also keep clothing off the floor and shake it out well before putting it on. If you don’t wear certain clothing or shoes often, store them in tightly sealed plastic bags.

 

Often the first sign that you have a brown recluse problem in your home is seeing the actual spiders. You can use sticky traps placed in corners to gauge the brown recluse population in your home. If you start seeing several spiders, you may want to consider some professional pest control help. Six Brothers Pest Control wants to help protect your family and keep dangerous brown recluses out of your home. If you are in need of help identifying and exterminating brown recluses, give us a call today.