Recently, we purchased the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America to use in our nature studies. The photos in it are fantastic. I had always heard that brown recluse spiders have a violin shape on their back, but I always thought it was a big violin. On page 385 of this guide, there is a photo showing exactly what the tiny “violin” looks like. The large part of the violin starts at the head and the handle extends out to the thorax. So after studying this guide, I was able to identify a brown recluse if ever I were to see one.
Then last night, my dd tells me that a spider was by my chair on the floor. It was crawling towards my chair and went under and out the other side by my feet where I stepped on it in my socked feet. As I examined it, I found it to have the violin shape. It was a brown recluse!
The field guide says they “live primarily outdoors under rocks and debris, but they may occur in homes and outbuildings. Bite wounds from this species are slow to heal, becoming necrotic and sometimes causing secondary infections.”
So do I call in the professionals to spray or what? Am I over-reacting here? What to do?nerakrParticipant
You are not overreacting. You do not need an exterminator, although if you use one regularly, you may want to mention it during his next scheduled visit. Go to Wal-Mart or someplace similar and get bug bombs (foggers), one for each room of the house. Get the dc out of the house for the day and let them go. After 6 hours or so, when it’s safe to return, open the windows until the smell is gone.
If they show up again, though, I’d contact a professional. They can live inside the walls and be very difficult to eradicate. The bites are very unpleasant, we’ve had them in my family growing up. And we once had to tear down our county hospital where I grew up because they got into the walls of the building and kept popping out, in the nursery of all places! and they couldn’t get rid of them any other way.
I second what Bookworm says. A friend of mine had a brown recluse bite and almost lost her arm it was so bad. It came off a curtain onto her chair and down onto her arm – she was lucky they saved her arm but she has bad scarring and it was a horrific experience. Personally, I would not take chances, I would get the professionals out to discuss a plan. I have quartely pest control and I hate using chemicals, but there are a lot of brown recluse infestations in our area in basements and things – I am completely spider phobic – and did not want to take the chances, especially as we have lots of books. They like to live at the back of bookshelves apparently among other dark places. A fogger I guess would work, but I don’t want my whole house fogged – the pest man knows the places to spray and he only does the garage, unfinished part of the basement and the outside, and I have yet to see anything in the house and it has been 5 years now. Lindasimple homeMember
I had an exterminator come to my house yesterday, first time in 3 years! She said that spiders are really bad this year, the worst they’ve seen in a long time. I don’t usually overreact, but brown recluses are serious…my dad was bitten on his toe (putting on a shoe that had a brown recluse hiding in it), and it made him terribly sick and had to be put on antibiotics.
Don’t mess around with such things is my opinion. I don’t worry about spiders and bugs outside, but when I see them inside lurking around, it is war. 🙂Sara B.Participant
All I can say is <shudder>
I am so glad I live in MN where we don’t have to worry so much about poisonous critters! Hubby, on the other hand, grew up in the tropics with black widows (one of which he is extremely lucky not to have been bitten by), tarantulas, fire ants, and a host of other “goodies.” <shudder>
Now, if I did live in a place where the spiders are big, hairy, and poisonous, yes, I’d be hiring a pro, even though I am very much against chemicals of any kind. Blech! Yep, bugs inside, and they are fair game for death – unless my 7yo bug girl finds out about it first…. She catches spiders to keep as “pets” in her bug cages. <shudder> She wants a pet spider for real….. <shudder>amama5Participant
We have brown recluses in our home now and did in our first apartment as well. There are certain cities or parts of cities/states that are more infested than others. I was bitten in our first apartment, thankfully with an awful, huge, nasty bite but no scar even. There are horror stories for sure, but they aren’t all that bad. I truthfully called 20 exterminators about the spiders, and 19 of them said there is nothing that can be done for that kind of spider because of the way they live and not crossing the pesticide barrier? The 20th said they would come out for 1000.00 the first time and 700.00 the next time.
My children know to shake out shoes or boxes, etc. We also try not to have things without lids, boxes and my laundry basket are their favorites. They come out during the day even when my kids are in the room playing sometimes.
One really creepy thing we learned and did was that they send out distress signals and the others will come eat the hurt spider, so if we found one, we captured it and placed in on a large glue trap. In the morning, UNDER MY BED, were about 10 of them on the trap.
Sorry you have them but we have to for now just trust the Lord and not live in fear of them:)
This is from ehow.com Setting out insect traps, such as glue boards, can work well. You can create an environment that is not as attractive to the spider. Using naturally scented lemon or citrus dusting spray or natural eucalyptus is said to be a deterrent. There are a few ways to get rid of recluse spiders without having to declare war.
And other website: The main reason for the spider hunt is so that you will know the best places to apply pesticides. Once you have figured out the main problem spots, apply the treatment. There are quite a few pesticides that kill brown recluse spiders. Look for products containing cypermethrin such as Cynoff EC,Cynoff WP, Demon WP, or CB Air Devil HPX (aerosol). Pyrethrins are good, too. Look for Drione Dust or 565 Plus XLO. Products containing deltamethrin, like Delta Dust and Suspend SC, are also quite effective. Spectracide Triazicide with the active ingredient lambda-cyhalothrin is great for outdoor (perimeter) use. With any and all of these, don’t be dumb. Make sure you read all directions and precautions. Besides killing brown recluse spiders, the pesticides I’ve listed work great for a wide variety of pests (yay!).
Our pest people don’t charge that much for the whole year. They come out 4 time a year and in-between if we have a problem, but don’t charge $1000 – that is crazy. Because spiders have legs which keep their bodies above the ground, often they are hard to kill, however the only ones I have ever seen in the basement are dead ones and only a couple at that in 10 years – not brown recluses though, so I think the outdoor treatments take care of that. LindaLillyLouParticipant
I too loathe those fiddle backs- and we basically live in the Brown Recluse capitol of the U.S. Yuck. That being said, I want you to know that recently, our baby (about 15 months at the time) got bit, supposedly by a Fiddle Back on the foot. We took him to the E.R, where they drew blood, etc. to check for how his blood count was handling it. He was a trooper. What I want to let you know is what we learned through the process, and through talking with several docs: most Fiddle Back bites do not result in the horror stories you hear. For the most part, the gnarly pics you see online (the ones that gave me panic attacks when our son’s foot was swollen and purple) are actually due to infection of the site, and/or are bites in people who already have a compromise in their system somewhere-particularly immune deficiencies or diabetes. This is not to say that they are not a threat to healthy people, but my nerves were calmed just by those pieces of info. Our son was seen daily for about 4 days, and handled it very well, which the Dr.’s said is more typical than you would imagine. He healed very well, and honestly, the bite never seemed to bother him. We kept it wrapped and treated it with a homeopathic/herbal antibiotic ointment that helped pull some of the nastiness out, as well as kept it from becoming infected. It didn’t even peel like they thought it would.
SO- if you know you have them in your house, by all means, treat for them. Just don’t freak out like I did- I literally shook in my boots to think of them hanging out in our beds (he was bit during a nap) and truly lost sleep. Pray. Treat. Pray again, and know that most people handle bites just fine. Definitely see a doc if you suspect a bite though-for sure!
Love from the Fiddle Back State (it should be our State Bug LOL)
LillyLou, any chance you can give a clue as to the state so we don’t ever move there?:)
So are you saying that treatment worked in your home? Do you have any idea what it was? Thanks!LillyLouParticipant
amama5: I’m in the southwest US, and if you google a “brown recluse map” you’ll find that there’s a red zone of about a dozen states that the brown recluse is limited to. I’m surrounded by red in my state. We actually got spray for the outside of our house by EcoSmart and my husband sprayed the outside of the whole house, up about 3 feet. This is what was recommended by the Doc. She advised spraying the outside as treatment, and keeping a “spot killer” in the house. Also, keeping piles off the floor, and vacuuming regularly helps. Brown Recluse are just that-recluse. They hide, so if you have fewer places for them to hide, they’ll find other places to go. Also shake out shoes and the like. We also got a spray for the inside by the same company. I called and asked which product I should buy, assuming it was a fiddle back that bit our son, and the rep said to get the outside spray, and to get the ant and roach spray for inside, as it also kills fiddle backs. So that’s what we did. We also bought a yard spray for mosquitos this year and, man, did it work! I’m so thrilled to not be eaten alive any time I step outside this year! Last year, it was miserable. Best thing is that EcoSmart’s products are all natural and safe around children and pets. Only downside is it has a very strong smell of wintermint, which isn’t a terrible smell, but it does linger, and kinda got to me after a while (maybe just because of pregnancy…) EcoSmart is available at any Home Depot. Now, we did not have an infestation. We just know that Fiddle Backs as well as Black Widows and even terrantulas are prevalent down here, so we sprayed. If we knew we had an infestation, we probably would have done something more like a professional consult, but this did the trick for us. I still kill spiders occasionally. It’s been so hot, they’re trying to get away from it and into our house, but the spiders seem slower, like they’ve picked up the poison on the way in. It’s also been about 3 months since we sprayed, so we should probably do it again. I killed a Black Widow on my back porch last year with an all natural spray by a different company too. It’s not as fast as, say, Raid is on Hornets, but it does kill them.
Hope that helps! Sorry I’m not more specific about my location…safety and all. We’ll just say between tornados and fiddlbacks, we’ve got our scare box filled LOL.
One place to really watch out for if you have recluse spiders–woodpiles!!! We were told that if you lived in a state where they were common, they are almost always going to be in a woodpile–and we did see them ALL the time. When we went out to get wood to bring in, we always tapped the woodpile several times and then waited, in the hopes the spiders and any rattlesnakes would skedaddle out of there, and then we always used gloves and shook the wood well before we brought it into the house. We didn’t want to spray the woodpile, as we used that wood to heat our home in winter, so we always took precautions when we went out to it. The recluse spiders are pretty common in a belt from about Kansas across the country and south, except for very high elevations. Anyplace there down is a good bet for spiders, most places farther north the winters are too cold for them to survive. We had a couple of warm winters here a few years ago, in southern Iowa, and there were articles in the paper about the spiders creeping north–but then we had our last 3 nasty winters so I bet they decided to creep right back south. LOL Hey, one good thing for lousy winters!!!
I think I need to move a bit further north, hubby and I have already decided this is not where we will end our days, we seem to be smack dab in that area where the warm from the south and the cold from the north clash in the middle and give us volatile weather. I would like to go somewhere too where maybe the winters don’t allow population explosions of nasty bugs. The awful wet and stormy spring and now the baking 100 + days are making a lot of bugs want to head indoors. Our pest man said it is one of the worst years he has seen – especially for ants and spiders. He he from the far north so I think he hankers after the coller climes just like I do. Don’t know how you ladies in the south do it….I cannot handle much above 80 degrees unless it is dry heat! Perhaps because I was not born here, it is harder to adapt.Sara B.Participant
Here in MN this year, we have had an explosion of mosquitos, ticks, and ants. Definitely an off-year, though. We had a very long, nasty winter, and we had no spring to speak of, and with the high heat last week, that was just too much. I am looking forward to more “normalcy” this fall/winter. Of course, in MN, “normal” is abnormal…….
So even in the North I cannot always avoid the nasties – that is a shame – the long winter sounds good though, I love cold winters, I am not one for the hot weather:)
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