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.

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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 also appear gray or nearly white.

  • To identify a brown recluse, first look for a fiddle-shaped mark on the back, at the top of the head, with the fiddle neck pointing towards the abdomen.
  • As other spiders also have this fiddle mark, also confirm that your spider only has six eyes (as compared to the eight eyes most spider species have).
  • Brown recluse spiders do not have spines on their legs, but may have short hairs on both their body and legs.

Where do Brown Recluse Spiders Live?

Outdoors, they prefer to live in wood piles, items stored in the yard, and overgrown vegetation surrounding a house or building.

Inside, brown recluse spiders have a fondness for cardboard, but they seek out dark, undisturbed hiding places like closets, cluttered storage areas, attics, and crawl spaces.

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.


Brown Recluse Spider in Palm of Hand 300x200This 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)

Besides the brown recluse, Croach® pest control is often called out for house spiders, black widow, wolf spiders, yellow sac, and hobo spiders. Ready to get rid of spiders in your home?

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