Brown Recluse
(Loxosceles reclusa)

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Brown Recluse bites produce a stinging sensation and then intense pain within 6-8 hours. Initially, a small blister and swelling will appear around the bite. Additional symptoms include restlessness, fever, difficulty sleeping, and necrosis around the wound. Although there is no anti-venom available, seeking medical help will reduce the amount of dead tissue and additional infections. To learn more about their bites, see treatments below.

Appearance
 
  • 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches in length

  • Their color varies from black, white, brown, tan, & grey

  • People also call them a Violin Spider or Fiddle-Back Spider

  • They are tan to dark brown with a distinctive darker violin shaped marking on top of the cephalothorax

  • Their babies are just smaller and paler

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Brown Recluses are the most common poisonous spider in Oklahoma. Several non-poisonous spiders look similar in shape and color, but lack the distinctive violin marking. Brown recluses are nocturnal hunters that feed on insects and other spiders. They are reclusive, meaning they live alone, stay hidden, and do not thrive in daytime or in open areas. You can find them both indoors and outdoors in sheltered undisturbed areas. Typical hiding places include inside cedar shake shingles, under rocks and wood piles, in utility boxes, and various other areas that remain undisturbed. Typical indoor hiding places include garage corners, hot water closets, storage areas, basements, boxes, and other seldom used items. Indoors, adult males live about 1 ½ years while females live on average 22 years, however, some have live 4-5 years.

Brown Recluses are the most common poisonous spider in Oklahoma. Several non-poisonous spiders look similar in shape and color, but lack the distinctive violin marking. Brown recluses are nocturnal hunters that feed on insects and other spiders. They are reclusive, meaning they live alone, stay hidden, and do not thrive in daytime or in open areas. You can find them both indoors and outdoors in sheltered undisturbed areas. Typical hiding places include inside cedar shake shingles, under rocks and wood piles, in utility boxes, and various other areas that remain undisturbed. Typical indoor hiding places include garage corners, hot water closets, storage areas, basements, boxes, and other seldom used items.

Reproduction

After mating, females deposit 40-50 eggs in an off-white, loosely woven, silken egg sac. These eggs hatch in 25 to 39 days and the new spiderlings go through 8 instar stages in an average of 336 days.

Signs of an Infestation

Signs of infestation includes seeing a Brown Recluse, its irregular web, or receiving a bite.

Treatments

Brown Recluse Bites


Both male and female recluses have the potential to bite and inject venom and are considered dangerous to humans. However, most Brown Recluse bites are defense and occur when the spider is pressed against a person’s skin. One example is when someone puts on a boot that’s been in the garage and the spider is inside. In this case, it will bite since it has no way to get away. People are rarely bitten, but if they are, the bite can be very serious.

Their bites produce a stinging sensation and then intense pain within 6-8 hours. Initially, a small blister and swelling will appear around the bite. Additional symptoms include restlessness, fever, difficulty sleeping, and necrosis around the wound. Necrosis, tissue dying around the bite creating an ulcerating wound, occurs due to the type of venom these spiders inject. If a bite occurs, seek medical help immediately and bring in the spider for identification purposes if possible. No anti-venom is available but getting medical attention reduces the amount of dead tissue and any additional infections which compound the problem.

Property Treatments


Treatment begins with inspection and correct identification of the species so the appropriate control measure can be taken. Then make sure the buildings in good repair, cracks and crevices are sealed correctly, and remove clutter and debris from the premises which reduces harborage areas. Remove webs and egg sacks buy vacuuming and sweeping. Also remove their food source. Do not leave clothes and shoes on the floor. Shake items stored in basements, garages, or other dark areas out before using them. Then, contact your local pest control technician for pesticide application.