What Are The Signs Of Brown Recluse Infestation And How Can You Control Them?

House spiders like brown recluses are critters that could send anyone running when encountered inside their homes. These long-legged and round-bodied small insects don’t necessarily cause any structural damage but spotting one indoors can be scary and they are known to carry poisonous venom that can be harmful to your family.

So what are the most common signs of infestation of brown recluse spiders? By their nature, brown recluses like secluded and dark hiding places such as in the back of cabinets, storage closets, crevices, and basements. You’ll know that you have a brown recluse spider living indoors when you see actual spider webs in corners of the walls, sightings of an egg sac, and decreased swarms of flying insects. 

How To Know If You Have Brown Recluse Infestation At Home  

It’s important to know that termites, ants, and bed bugs are not the only pests that like to invade homes. Like any other unwanted insect, brown recluse spiders can make their way indoors in search of a food source and a new living environment, especially during winter when the weather becomes cold for their bodies. 

Brown recluses are reproductive insects and when adult brown recluse spiders mate, the female brown recluse spiders can produce up to five egg sacs. Each egg sac can carry as many as 40 to 50 eggs which means that chances of an active infestation are high when you see a brown recluse in your home. Here are other signs that can help you identify if you have an ongoing brown recluse spider infestation: 

1. Presence of spider webs in corners and crevices 

The most obvious telltale sign of active spiders in your home is the presence of spun webs dangling or attached to your walls and hidden corners. Webs are the thin, circular, and silk-like threads that spiders create to help attract and catch their food prey. These webs are usually sticky and any flying insect can easily get entrapped on its surfaces. Once their food is stuck on the webs, brown recluses will pierce their venom to paralyze their prey and eat them. 

If you suddenly see spider webs popping up on areas and surfaces that were once clear and clean, there’s a possibility that you have an active spider infestation. Brown recluses don’t necessarily need to build their webs in dark and isolated areas and you might find them in open spaces throughout the house. 

2. Sightings of egg sacs  

The appearance of a brown recluse spider egg sac is similar to the spider web. It has a silken cream to off-white color and they are loosely woven to cover the eggs that it is carrying and to protect them from other insect predators. The size of the egg sacs is approximately 2 to 3 inches in diameter. 

The mothers or female brown recluse spiders can release up to 5 egg sacs over the course of their lifespan. Each sac can contain at least fifty to hundreds of eggs and they take about a month until the spiderlings come out of their eggs. Most of the time, adult recluse spiders can leave their egg sacs hidden or stuck to their webs. So you’ll want to observe the spider webs that you see in plain sight and see if there is an obvious sac that can hatch anytime. 

3. Decreased swarms of flying insects such as mosquitoes and termites

Brown recluses are dangerous spiders not only to humans but also to other insects. They are regarded as hunter spiders and they like to prey and feed on swarms of flying insects like mosquitoes, termites, and flies. If you notice a quieter environment with less buzzing and swarms of insects, it may mean that they have been captured and eaten by the spiders in your home. 

Aside from knowing the signs of brown recluse infestation, it’s also important to have an idea of what can attract them to your houses. Here are some of the common reasons why the brown recluse spider species could be settling in your properties: 

  • Your house is a breeding ground for flying insects - The primary food source of brown recluses are dead insects. They can feed on almost any type of small insect and pest such as roaches, flies, ants, termites, mosquitoes, flies, crickets, silverfish, and more. 
  • There are many dark spaces in your home - Isolated and dark hidden areas with low moisture offer a conducive living environment for brown recluse spiders. They can be commonly found in secluded places like wall voids, bed skirts, crawl spaces, attic space, corners of cupboards, storage cellars, and wall crevices. 
  • You have abundant areas of outdoor vegetation like shrubs, bushes, and trees - Having an overgrowth of plants, bushes, weeds, and trees in your garden and backyard can also attract brown recluses to the vicinity of your home. They serve as another ideal living space for spiders because they provide both low moist and food. 
  • You have piles of wood debris or clutters of trash outdoors - The more mess you have in your home, the more likely it is to have brown recluses. These insects are usually comfortable in heaps of junk or stacks of firewood where it is dark and they are undisturbed. 

How To Differentiate Brown Recluse Spiders from Other Common House Spiders

A spider has been caught in a glass tea cup

There are more than 45,000 thousand species of spiders found in the world, and the US is said to be home to over 3,000 types of spiders. It’s easy to mistake one common spider for another since they almost all look alike. But if you observe closely and have an idea of their characteristics, you’d find that not all spiders are the same. 

Some of the kinds of spiders that are widespread across different states are the black widow spider, hobo spider, jumping spider, yellow sac spider, wolf spider, grass spider, and cellar spider. The brown spider, in particular, belongs to the family of Loxosceles spider (also called Loxosceles reclusa). They are mainly found in commercial areas and residential communities in the southern and southeastern parts of the country. 

Brown recluses also go by the name ‘violin spider’ because they have a distinct violin-shaped pattern lining their backs, beginning from their head to their rear. They can appear light to dark brown and their color is mostly uniform throughout their fur-covered bodies unlike other spider species that may be two-toned. They also have three pairs of eyes compared to the usual eight eyes in most house spiders. An adult brown recluse can grow up to 1/4 inch in length and up to 1/8 inch in width. 

Which Season Are Brown Recluse Spiders Most Active? 

Brown recluse spiders can be found at almost any time of the year but they are likely in hibernation mode during the months of winter. Infestations and spider bites from brown recluses can occur during the time when their hiding places are usually disturbed. Their most active months are March to October when homeowners are mostly cleaning or fixing their home spaces. If you want to set up brown recluse control, it’s best to plan them around these months though it is also wise to have a year-round pest control measure.

How Dangerous Are Brown Recluse Spiders?  

A brown recluse venom is one of the most highly poisonous spider venoms. They’re usually painless which is why you won’t initially take notice of a brown recluse bite until they swell and become red on the site of envenomation after several hours. 

In serious cases of a brown recluse spider bite, an individual may potentially experience necrosis of the blood vessels and tissues. The necrotic wound may sometimes leave a deep scar or skin lesion. Rarely, other symptoms of a severe brown spider bite can include nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, muscle pain, or dizziness. 

The first thing you need to do when you get bitten by this venomous spider is to wash and clean the area with soap and water. This will remove some of the toxicity of the initial bite and prevent any bacteria from entering your bloodstream and stop an infection. 

A cold compress or ice pack over the infected area can also help alleviate some of the pain and swelling. Likewise, you can apply an antibiotic cream or corticosteroids to ease the bite symptoms. Monitor your skin condition and get immediate medical attention if the bite doesn’t get better within a few days. 

How To Control And Prevent Of Brown Recluse Spider Infestations 

Detail of the hands holding the sprayer

Since brown recluse spiders can be hard to eliminate, professional pest exterminators can visit your home to help with setting up your brown recluse spider control measures. You can also avoid having a spider infestation go out of hand by following these helpful preventive tips: 

  • Seal any crevices, holes, gaps in your exteriors and walls to keep spiders from crawling their way inside your home. 
  • Put a sticky trap or glue trap in dark areas and hidden surfaces to trap crawling spiders and other insects.  
  • You can apply pesticide treatment such as a pest control spray to repel brown recluse spiders. Pesticide application must be done away from children since the chemicals may be harmful to them.
  • Vacuum the corners of your home to destroy the webs and remove other dirt that may attract spiders.

Call Yale Pest Control For Professional Help For Brown Recluse Infestation 

Protect your home from brown recluse spiders before an infestation breaks out by getting professional pest and spider control help from Yale Pest Control. We offer an excellent form of pest control and extermination service for common household pests and spider-infested homes. 

Our team of pest control technicians will do a comprehensive house inspection and make sure that every nook and cranny is checked to let no pests go untreated. We’ll provide a comprehensive treatment plan that will make sure that your family can live in a pest-free home! To learn more about the Yale Pest Control experience, feel free to call us and schedule your first inspection