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How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders: A Complete Guide [2023]

Get rid of brown recluse spiders in your home or garden with these smart tips from the pros.

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how to get rid of brown recluse spiders

Brown recluse spiders are the most common brown spiders in the US. They’re even considered beneficial in small outdoor populations – helping control nuisance insect populations and keep habitats healthy.

When they make their way indoors, though, most people feel differently about them.

If you’re wondering how to get rid of brown recluse spiders in your home or garden, you’re in luck.

In this guide, we’ll share our top brown recluse spider control tips and give you the information you need to reclaim your space.

What Are Brown Recluse Spiders?

Brown recluse spiders are members of the loxosceles reclusa species.

Eleven species of loxosceles are native to the continental US, and at least five (the brown recluse, the Mediterranean recluse spider, the Arizona brown spider, the desert recluse spider, and the Chilean recluse spider) are harmful to humans.

Brown recluse spiders live throughout the southern US, from Florida to California.

What does a brown recluse look like?

Brown recluse spiders are relatively easy to identify. These spiders are a deep, chocolate-brown color.

Both males and females have long, thin legs, bodies that are about 9mm in length, and three pairs of eyes arranged in a triad on their heads.

They also have a violin-shaped marking on their cephalothorax, which has earned them the nickname “fiddleback spider.”

Are brown recluse spiders poisonous?

Yes. The brown recluse is one of only two common spiders in the US that are considered venomous.

Brown recluse bites can cause various symptoms, including pain at the bite site, chills, itching, fever, nausea, reddish or purple color around the bite, sweating, or the formation of ulcers at the bite site.

Without treatment, the venom from a brown recluse bite will cut off the blood supply in the affected area.

This can cause black tissue scarring at the site, which will slough off after 2-5 weeks, leaving an ulcer in its place. Because of the possible severity of symptoms, all suspected bites should receive medical attention and monitoring.

While brown recluse bites can be serious, they are rare. Brown recluse spiders are not aggressive, and most bites occur when brown recluses feel threatened or are trapped against the skin, such as when someone unknowingly puts on a shirt with a spider inside of it.

What Attracts Brown Recluse Spiders to Your Home?

Brown recluse spider on a floor
If you’ve noticed brown recluse spiders in your home, here are a few things that may be attracting them:

1. Shelter

Brown recluse spiders like to live in quiet, dark, secluded areas.

They feel the most comfortable when there’s lots of natural or manmade clutter around, which makes closets, attics, basements, and crawl spaces popular hiding places.

2. Food

Unlike other spiders, brown recluse spiders catch their prey by running after them rather than using a web to snare insects.

Because of this, brown recluse spiders are common in homes with pre-existing pest problems.

Signs of a Brown Recluse Spider Infestation

Not sure you have brown recluse spiders in your home? Look for these signs:

1. The presence of spider webs in corners and crevices

Although brown recluse spiders don’t use webs to catch their prey, they do build them. They’re a little different from typical spider webs, though.

While orb weaver spiders build webs with concentric, spoked patterns, brown recluse spiders build webs near the ground, in corners, cracks, and crevices.

Compared to other spider webs, a brown recluse’s web will look messy, made up of long lines rather than distinctive patterns.

2. Visible egg sacs

To reproduce, brown recluse spiders create egg sacs, which are off-white or cream in color, and about 2-3” in diameter. Female spiders tend to leave egg sacs stuck in their webs.

3. The presence of other pests.

Brown recluse spiders are avid hunters.

They live on a diet of bugs like cockroaches, beetles, silverfish, crickets, and more and will happily establish populations in homes with high insect populations.

4. Sightings of adult spiders

Because brown recluse spiders prefer undisturbed environments, they can be tough to spot, but you might see them when you move a stack of newspapers or shine a light in your crawl space or basement.

How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders Naturally

yellow glue trap
Want to eliminate brown recluse spiders without using harsh chemicals? Try these DIY home remedies:

1. Homemade spider repellent

Combine 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water and spray it on your walls or any area you’ve noticed spider activity.

While this mixture won’t kill spiders (unless you spray them with it directly), it will repel them.

Strong-smelling essential oils like peppermint, lavender, and tea tree oil can also repel brown recluse spiders.

Make a DIY spider spray by adding 15-20 drops of your oil of choice to a spray bottle of water and spraying the mixture anywhere spiders are congregating.

Pros: Effective, simple, non-toxic, safe for use around kids, pets, and food

Cons: Essential oil-based repellents do not kill spiders, vinegar-based repellents only kill spiders when sprayed directly onto the pests, all repellents must be reapplied frequently

2. Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a popular non-toxic pest killer.

Made from crushed sedimentary rock, DE can be purchased in food-grade varieties (like this one) and sprinkled in pest-prone areas, where it works to dehydrate and degrade pests’ soft exoskeletons, killing them effectively.

Pros: Non-toxic, safe for use around kids, pets, and food

Cons: Can be messy, not ideal for controlling large, distributed populations of brown recluse spiders

3. Use glue traps

Store-bought glue traps (also called glue boards) are an excellent way to eliminate brown recluse spiders.

Purchase these sticky paper traps in multipacks from your local home improvement or online here and set them anywhere you know (or suspect) spiders are congregating.

These traps can kill dozens of spiders without using chemicals or pesticides. Just be sure to keep them out of the reach of curious kids and pets.

Pros: Non-toxic, safe for use around kids, pets, and food

Cons: Must be checked, changed, and disposed of every few months

4. Get rid of cobwebs

To get rid of brown recluse spiders, get rid of webs and cobwebs in the corners of your home. 

Keep in mind that cobwebs can exist in the lower parts of your home, in the corners of your floor, crawl space, or basement, or in the upper segments of your home, in your eaves, rafters, and roof. 

To extend your reach and get rid of cobwebs wherever they exist, invest in a cobweb duster. 

Pros: Easy, non-toxic, safe, affordable

Cons: Can be difficult work, must be repeated seasonally, will not kill adult brown recluse spiders

How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders with Chemicals

If you want to use chemicals to kill brown recluse spiders, you have lots of options. Here are a few of the most common:

1. Insecticides

Insecticides are the most reliable, efficient way to kill brown recluse spiders.

Today, broad-spectrum insecticides like cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin are the most effective.

These insecticides are available in various formats, including aerosol spray, dust, and liquid.

To use insecticides safely, read all label directions and use them only in targeted areas (whole-house “spider bomb” fogger treatments are highly toxic and ineffective.)

For best results, apply them directly to the area where brown recluse spiders live.

If you want to take it a step further, use a granular insecticide like Bifen LP in your yard and garden.

This product will kill insects for up to 90 days, thereby wiping out the brown recluse spider’s food sources.

Pros: Effective, fast-acting, suitable for controlling large spider infestations

Cons: Highly toxic, unsafe for use around kids, pets, and food

2. Residual insecticide perimeter sprays

Onslaught Fastcap is a popular, safe, and effective perimeter insecticide.

This type of insecticide is designed to create a perimeter that removes as many spiders as possible.

Spray it outside, around your home’s foundation and door and window wells, or use it inside on your baseboards, in corners, and in other areas where spiders are common.

Pros: Highly effective at killing spiders on contact, and offers residual protection

Cons: Can be toxic, unsafe around kids and pets, must be reapplied regularly 

How do Pest Control Professionals Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders?

Worker Spraying Insecticides
Considering hiring a pest control company to help you get rid of brown recluse spiders? Here’s the process most teams follow:

Step 1: Inspection

Brown recluse spiders can be difficult to locate, so most pest experts begin with a thorough inspection of your home, during which they’ll identify existing brown recluse habitats and pinpoint how the spiders may be accessing your home.

Step 2: Treatment

Next, the pest control team will deploy their spider treatment of choice.

The most effective treatments usually combine habitat modification and exclusion efforts with chemical controls.

Step 3: Follow-up

To make sure the initial treatment was effective, the team will visit your property again, checking for any remaining brown recluse nests, spiders, or webs.

During this visit, they’ll deliver follow-up treatments as needed.

How to Prevent Brown Recluse Spiders

Want to keep brown recluse spiders out of your house?

Follow these tips:

  • Get rid of clutter that may be providing hiding spots for the spiders. Remove piles of clothing, newspapers, and magazines, or boxes. Store linens, towels, and other items in sealed storage bins.
  • Clean and vacuum your home regularly, moving furniture to access corners, cracks, and crevices.
  • Remove spider entry points by filling any exterior holes in your foundations, repairing rips or holes in your screens, installing door sweeps, and using caulk to seal gaps around utility lines.
  • Clear brush from the sides of your house, and keep landscaping trimmed to reduce spider habitat outdoors and remove “bridges” that could help them access your home.
  • Use outdoor perimeter sprays to stop spiders before they can enter your home.
  • Clean up and remove woodpiles and yard debris and keep storage sheds away from the side of your home.
  • Cut your grass regularly and clear climbing ivy from the exterior walls of your home.
  • Remove brown recluse food sources by proactively addressing other pest problems in your home.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, inspect all wood before you bring it inside.

Are Brown Recluse Spiders Invading Your Home? We’re Here to Help

While brown recluse spiders are an essential part of the ecosystem, they’re unwelcome in most homes.

Fortunately, you don’t have to live with them forever.

Whether your DIY brown recluse removal efforts have failed or you want to take the most comprehensive approach to get rid of brown recluse spiders, a local pest control company is the perfect team to help.

Fortunately, we have a broad network of reputable partners in your area that can help you eliminate mosquitos and reclaim our outdoor space.

Call (844) 598-0241 or send us a message for a FREE spider control quote

Brown Recluse Spider Control FAQs

It is possible (although very unlikely) to die from a brown recluse bite. In fewer than 10% of bite cases, the brown recluse spider’s venom triggers a catastrophic breakdown of red blood cells. This reaction is most likely in young children.

Finding one brown recluse spider likely means there are dozens more hiding in dark, quiet areas of the home. That’s why it’s important to be proactive about addressing spider problems as soon as you notice them. 

The brown recluse spider is easy to identify by the distinctive violin pattern on its body. The “neck” of the violin points toward the back of the spider’s abdomen and doesn’t appear on other brown spiders.

Most suspected brown recluse bites are not indeed brown recluse bites. In fact, many staph infections have been misdiagnosed as brown recluse bites by doctors that don’t know better. The best way to determine if it’s a brown recluse bite is to see a doctor and get a second opinion if needed.

According to the medical community, there are about 40 conditions that have been or could be misdiagnosed as brown recluse bites, including Lyme disease and skin cancer. To combat misdiagnoses, medical professionals recommend the mnemonic device NOT RECLUSE. This device helps people identify factors that would not be present if the bite was indeed from a brown recluse: it goes numerous bites (N), the occasion and circumstances where the wound occurred (O), or the time of year it happened (T). 

Author Bio: Zachary Smith

Zachary Smith is the founder of Zachary is a licensed pest control professional with 25+ years of hands on experience eradicating pests from homes and businesses. Zachary earned his Bachelor of Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2002. He specializes in rodent and insect infestation management of structures and landscapes. His passion is to share his extensive knowledge with the world.

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