St Louis Pest Control Blog

Brown Recluse Spider: Common Venomous Species in the United States

The Brown Recluse Spider is one of the more venomous spiders found in North America. It lives in Midwest states ranging from Nebraska to Ohio and down to the Gulf Coast. Although it has been known to travel stowing away in packages, the Brown Recluse Spider has not yet colonized in other regions. The bite is venomous, but rarely fatal and could cause permanent damage to the bite area. It is better to leave this species alone when encountered.

The typical habitat for the Brown Recluse Spider is wooded places where it is dry. They could be found living in cellars, garages and woodpiles. Sometimes old clothing stored in these areas provides a perfect place where they live. It is the reason why clothing stored in garages and closets, like gloves and shoes, should be checked before use. A spider could be hiding inside safely wrapped in an irregular shaped web. Brown Recluse Spiders are fairly moderate in size reaching a length of three quarters of an inch. A violin-shaped marking on the head and midsection is one way to identify them. Often, the Brown Recluse Spider is referred to as the violin or fiddler spider.

The Brown Recluse bites in response to a threat. This includes donning clothes where the spider currently lives. The venom is hemotoxic, or capable of destroying red blood cells. Few people immediately recognize when they have been bitten. It has small fangs often incapable of penetrating through clothing and the bite is not regarded as painful. However, the spider will bite when in direct contact with skin. As the hemotoxic venom begins to break down blood cells, a visible lesion, called necrosis, will form in two to eight hours. In many cases, the venom remains localized and the lesion area is relatively small. However, some people develop extensive lesions that require months to heal leaving a visible scar.

There are certain cases where bite from the Brown Recluse Spider could be fatal. It typically occurs in minors and elderly, people with a weakened immune system. A severe reaction to the spider venom could include fever, vomiting and be accompanied with joint and muscle pain. Because reaction to the venom generally occurs hours after the bite, it is important to apply common sense first aid and an immediate trip to a physician as soon as symptoms occur. First aid includes application of ice to the bite area to reduce spread of the venom. If the spider could be caught safely, it is a good idea to bring the spider along for proper identification. Physicians have a difficult time identifying this species of spider from only skin lesions and could apply the incorrect treatment. Anti-venom is available and would reduce the affects of a spider bite.

The Brown Recluse Spider, a common spider in mid-western states, is best left alone. Although it is generally not dangerous, affects of spider venom could be severe. Proper identification of the species is the first step to proper treatment.

If you feel that you have a brown recluse spider issue around your house, or any other pest control issue you need to take care of in the St. Louis area. Then please do not hesitate to contact us at Blue Chip Pest Control by either clicking here to contact us. Or by sending us an e-mail directly at


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