How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders

The brown recluse is a venomous spider found primarily in the central southern states. Like the black widow, it has a strong reputation as being one of the more dangerous spiders in the US. The brown recluse is easily identified by it long legs, brown to yellow color, and its signature violin marking located at the head region of its body. Brown recluse bites are extremely toxic and the victim risks amputation if wounds are left unattended. By combining a few simple techniques, getting rid of brown recluse spiders is easy.

Getting Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders

To get rid of brown recluse spiders, you have to know where to look. They prefer to hide out (hence the name recluse) and will reproduce very fast if left unattended, where they can live as long as 4 years.

If you see a brown recluse, it is likely a male. The males will usually wander farther from their nesting site in search of food. Not coincidentally, it's also typically the male brown recluse who bites when trapped beneath clothing or hiding in a shoe left outside..

The brown recluse prefers to inhabit piles of debris, bricks, wood, utility boxes, abandoned vehicles, beneath rain traps, stones and logs. They are known as wandering spiders, which means they have to actively hunt for their food instead of catching prey with a web.

Natural Brown Recluse Control

There are a few inspection and prevention tips you can follow when treating for the brown recluse. If you were a spider, where would you hide? A word of warning, the brown recluse is very fast and dangerous. It would be a good idea to keep a full spray bottle close by for any close encounters.

White vinegar will kill the brown recluse on contact. This natural non-staining solution is thrifty and effective.

Using a combination of trapping techniques and ensuring all doors and windows are properly sealed, it's best to work your way from the inside out. Brown recluse spiders are unique because they actually thrive in home environments. As with all spiders, higher populations can be expected in cluttered garages and basements.

  • Use sticky boards around garage entrance. The brown recluse is ‘synanthropic’ which mean it reproduces faster in homes.
  • The recluse prefers to be hidden. Make sure you wear gloves when lifting up or moving suspicious objects out of the way, such as boxes, tools, etc. When in doubt, use a leaf blower or shop vac.
  • Search for the source. With the brown recluse, if you see one, there’s most likely a whole bunch more. Try and get rid of potential breeding sites around the property (piles of plant debris, logs, wood, bricks, etc.).
  • Egg sacs must be removed. There is no known pesticide that will destroy a spider's egg sac, which can hold hundreds of babies. Suck them up with a vacuum and throw the bag away.
  • Don’t leave any shoes or clothes outside. Many people are bit when a spider is accidentally trapped between clothing.

Brown recluse spiders like the dark. Your eyes are your greatest tool and you would do well to grab a flashlight - attempting to hunt for a spider that already prefers darker environments is inefficient and foolhardy. Make sure all doors and windows are screened and sealed. If you can see daylight coming through a closed door, you should buy a thicker seal.

If you are the mother of a newborn baby and suspect brown recluse activity around your home, it would be wise to place the feet of the baby's crib inside glass jars. Any spiders or insects will be unable to climb the glass into the crib.

If there's a lot of clutter in the garage areas, consider using a leaf blower to clean things up. In some cases, high brown recluse activity is related to insect activity outdoors. A lot of bugs means a lot of food. Lawn maintenance and low cut grass will help limit insect and spider activity.

Professional Brown Recluse Control

Any spray labeled for spider control works against the brown recluse. The steps listed below should be performed as a last resort and only if the steps taken above have been completed. Please note, every product label is different, so make sure you read the instructions prior to use.

  • Wait until early evening or early morning before you spray. Most wandering spiders are nocturnal (active sunset to sunrise), including the brown recluse. The spray will still be fresh when they venture outside to hunt.
  • Spray heavily under logs and rain traps. The brown recluse will wander in search of food and return to its nesting site during the day. Lightly soak and penetrate leaf and wood debris.
  • Limit fogging applications to basements and garages. As a saftey feature, some fogging products have no residual effect, which means their toxic effects are gone after an hour or two. These devices allow you to cover lots of space in very little time. Follow the label and turn off any pilot lights or exposed flames/appliances prior to use.
  • Treat around all entrances with your favorite pesticide. Focus efforts around windows, doors, and any other point of entry. You’d be surprised to know how many brown recluse spiders are entering the home the same way as you.

There are over 35,000 species of spiders in the world and 3,500 in the United States alone. This means it's absolutely cruicial you at least try to identify the spider before attempting to treat for it, as the brown recluse is misidentified 9 times out of 10. Wolf spiders, a similar species, are fast wandering spiders often confused with the brown recluse.