The Infamous Brown Recluse Spider

The Brown Recluse Spider (AKA the Fiddleback Spider, Brown Fiddler, and Violin Spider) is known for its necrotic bite.

In North America, it is one of three spiders – along with the Black Widow and the Chilean Recluse – which has venom considered medically significant.

The brown recluse spider lives for two to three years. After one year, females produce several egg sacs a year, with up to fifty eggs each. They are adapted for harsh climates, able to survive months without food and during extreme droughts.

Identifying Brown Recluse Spiders

Spider Control - Croach - Kirkland, WA - Brown Recluse SpiderA brown recluse spider can be up to a half inch long. While normally a brown shade they can be nearly white or gray.

Look for a mark on the back, at the top of the head that looks like a fiddle with the neck pointing towards the abdomen.

As other spiders have this mark it is important to look at the eyes. Brown recluse has six eyes instead of the eight most spiders have. Some other species only have six eyes. Both six eyes and the violin shape identify a brown recluse spider. One alone is not a confirmation.

Young spiders (first year) do not have the mark, as it appears as they grow. Another identifying mark – they do not have spines on their legs. They may have short hairs on their body and legs though.

Where do Brown Recluse Spiders Live?

Brown recluse spiders are not native to the Croach® service area. However, they are known to travel to hot, especially arid areas. Individual brown recluse and bites have been identified in Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado.

They naturally live in wood and bark. In houses, they have a fondness for cardboard. They build sticky, asymmetrical, white or grayish webs in out of the way corners. Unlike most web spinners, they leave their webs at night to hunt.


This spider normally stands with legs extended on flat surfaces. They will bite if stepped or rolled on, and occasionally when their web is disturbed. Otherwise, they will normally avoid conflict.

When threatened they draw front or rear legs in, in a defensive posture, or preparing to lunge away. They rarely jump and may even play dead. They do not leave silk behind when fleeing, making them harder to track.

Defensively, brown recluse spiders prominently display dark black pedipalps (specialized arachnid limbs) directly in front of them and stay motionless. When moving they have a steady gate, even if missing limbs. They stop periodically to regain the blood pressure necessary to operate their legs.

Spider Bites and Treatment

Brown recluse spider bites range from barely noticed to fatal. They are most dangerous to children, the elderly, and the ill.

Nearly fifteen percent cause systemic problems. They can harm white blood cells, cause red blood cell bursting, or create clots in smaller veins. Symptoms of these bites include nausea/vomiting, fever, rash, and muscle/joint pain.

Over one-third of brown recluse bites cause necrotizing ulcers. These bites become painful and itchy after a few hours. Soft tissue destruction follows. Once resolved, this heals slowly and leaves deep scars. If left untreated, the skin and other tissue will become gangrenous before sloughing off.

Brown recluse may bite when pressed against the skin – which often happens accidentally – making it difficult to identify the bites. If you have been bitten by a brown recluse spider, or believe you have, seek medical attention.

Croach® Spider Control

Croach® takes a proactive, specialized approach to your spider control.

  • Inspection with individual plan and proposal
  • Initial treatment to remove webs and eliminate existing spiders, including interior
  • First regular treatment thirty days later, breaks egg cycle and remove remaining spiders
  • Regular treatments to apply product and remove webs, frequency dependent on the severity
  • Complimentary retreats when necessary
  • Interior treatments upon request (vital for brown recluse spider control)

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