An educational guide to help you get rid of unwanted Brown Recluse spiders.
How To Get Rid Of Brown Recluses
The name of the brown recluse is well deserved as this spider is truly reclusive, preferring to hide most of the time. Unfortunately, that is not good news since these are one of the only venomous spiders found in North America. Because of the potential for a bite, you should do whatever you can to prevent brown recluse spiders and get rid of them as soon as you notice that there is a problem. That being said, it is fairly rare that these spiders bite so you shouldn’t completely freak out as soon as you see one.
Is It Really A Brown Recluse?
Realistically, the steps to getting rid of a brown recluse are the same as nearly any other spider. Even so, you will want to confirm that it is a brown recluse first so you are aware of the potential for a bite. Brown recluses have three sets of eyes, with one that faces forward and one on each side of the head. They don’t have spines, have uniformly light legs, and a violin pattern on their back. Unsurprisingly, they are brown.
Once you have confirmed you have brown recluses in your home, be careful when putting on shoes or clothing. Give everything a nice little shake to ensure no insects are there. After all, while brown recluses don’t typically bite, they will if they are provoked and you putting on an item of clothing they are in or sticking your foot in their favorite shoe-hiding spot will definitely make them angry.
Get Rid Of Hiding Spots
Since brown recluses prefer to hide, they are less likely to stay in an area that doesn’t offer any shelter. If you are concerned about these spiders in your home, get rid of clutter and extra furniture or stacked papers as these are favorite hiding spots. You should also make sure that there aren’t any attractive hiding spots outside of your house, including piles or wood, rocks, or leaves. Even bushes next to your home or lots of clutter in the garage or shed can attract these spiders.
Limit Attractants To Other Bugs
Like other spiders, brown recluses feed on insects that they catch in their web and this means that they will live anywhere they can get a steady stream of insects to eat. In other words, limiting the insects on your property limits the number of brown recluses and additional spiders. A simple step is to minimize your outdoor lighting as much as possible since bugs are very attracted to lights. If you need to keep some outdoor lighting, choose yellow ones or lights specifically designed to be less attractive to insects.
Kill Them On Sight
Although it can take a long time to get rid of an infestation with this method, killing brown recluses on sight will work to some extent. You can opt for the traditional method of squashing them with whatever is handy or vacuum them up, which should kill the spiders instantly. Another option is to invest in a contact aerosol insecticide that you can just spray on the spider when you see it. Some of these contact aerosols are also residual, meaning that the area you spray will still be able to kill other brown recluses for some time.
Don’t Let Them In
You won’t have to get rid of brown recluse spiders if you don’t let them into your home in the first place. While one or two will likely still find a way inside, you can take significant steps to prevent this. Inspect your home thoroughly and seal up any foundation cracks or other gaps you see. Some common areas to watch out for are gaps by pipes, faucets, conduits, cables, and wires. Don’t forget to inspect all areas of your home, including the attic and the basement. Ideally, you should wear long sleeves and long pants while doing this since you might scare some brown recluses out of hiding during your inspection and sealing process.
Use A Residual Insecticide
If the situation gets severe or you just want to take care of the brown recluses quickly, opt for a residual insecticide. These will stay in place, affecting any spiders that approach for a period of time. Most of these sprays attract the spiders as a food source before killing them. They are designed to be sprayed underneath furniture, in corners, on baseboards, and on other popular hiding spots for brown recluses.
If you choose to use a residual insecticide, though, you need to keep a few things in mind. This should not be your only control method as if your home isn’t clean, it will continue to attract spiders. Additionally, insecticides always pose a health risk of not used properly, used by food, or in an area where pets and children can reach them. Make sure you read the instructions on any insecticide before using it and only apply it somewhere that children and pets can’t reach. Ideally, leave the application (and selection of the insecticide) to the professionals.
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.