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How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders: A Guide for Homeowners

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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.

Before You Get Started

Brown recluse spider on a floor

Before you start getting rid of brown recluse spiders, follow these tips to keep yourself safe:

  • Make a plan. To get rid of brown recluse spiders, you need a plan. Whatever methods you plan to use, you’ll need to ensure that your tactics get rid of adult spiders and their eggs and remove the food sources and habitats that may be drawing spiders to your property.
  • Decide if you’ll opt for natural or chemical options. Before you begin eliminating brown recluse spiders, consider whether you’ll use natural or chemical options or a mixture of both. Collect your products before you begin.
  • Make sure you’re comfortable handling spiders. Getting rid of spiders can be frightening for many people, and removing them may not be a job for the faint of heart.
  • Consider hiring a professional. Even if you are comfortable handling spiders, it’s important to remember that brown recluse spiders are dangerous. As such, removing them may be a job that’s best left to the professionals.

How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders

yellow glue trap

With Natural Methods

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. 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. Cobweb elimination

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

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:

5. 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.

Before you knock down the spider webs in or near your home, spray them with a pesticide. The spiders will come out to clean up the web. When they do, they’ll come into contact with the pesticide, which will kill them quickly.

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

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

6. 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.

Remember that any time you’re spraying a product up above your head, the only safe way to do it is with a pin stream. 

To prevent pesticide mist from falling down onto your body and head, spray a solid stream since it’s less likely to drift with the breeze. 

Once you’re done spraying the insecticide, take off your clothes and wash them immediately to prevent pesticides from coming into contact with your skin. 

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 Exterminators 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:

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.

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.

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.

Prevention Methods

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.

Need Help? Contact Our Local Pros

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.

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Get a Free Quote

Give us a call today to receive your free, no-obligation pest control quote.

Brown Recluse Spider Control FAQs

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.

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.

To keep brown recluse spiders away, reduce the number of insects in your home to remove spider food sources. You can also purchase store-bought spider-repellent.

Brown recluse spiders need quiet, safe, undisturbed locations and plenty of food. Because of this, they tend to infest homes with plenty of insects.

Brown recluse spiders are most active between March and October.

Wolf spiders and brown recluse spiders look similar, but they’re different. You can tell wolf spiders apart from brown recluse spiders because wolf spiders are larger than brown recluse spiders and because they have hairier legs. Brown recluse spiders are also more toxic than wolf spiders.

When brown recluse spiders bite, the initial pain usually isn’t intense – many people say it’s not as painful as a bee sting. Within about 8-12 hours, though, the pain gets intense, and over a period of a few days, a large ulcer forms. Once the sore forms, it heals slowly and eventually leaves a scar.

Brown recluse spiders are common in the Southern, Western, and Midwestern US. They’re common indoors and are most prevalent in bathrooms, closets, bedrooms, garages, cellars, and basements. In homes with HVAC systems, brown recluse spiders often live in and around ductwork. They’re also common in attics and other areas above the ceiling.

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Author Bio: Zachary Smith

Zachary Smith is the founder of PestDude.com. Zachary is a licensed pest control professional with 20+ 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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