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How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders

how to get rid of brown recluse spiders

The brown recluse spider is one of the most dangerous specimens living on the territory of the United States – primarily throughout the central south and midwestern states.

And not in vain has it got its name, as it is both brown and reclusive. Being not aggressive, it resides in rarely disturbed places like storage rooms, attics, under old boards, or piles of junk.

The brown recluse spider is known as one of the most dangerous specimens living on the territory of the United StatesYou can look for these species outside in such places as sheds or barns, in woodpiles and other debris. Among various entry points, we can mention vents, gaps in and under doors, and cracks in the siding.

This type of spider has a bad reputation across the US because its bites are painful and may lead to severe pain, skin ulcers, or even life-threatening conditions. The brown recluse spider is a nocturnal hunting specimen that builds its webs in dark corners for retreat and laying eggs.

Identifying the Brown Recluse Spider


5 Steps on How to Get Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders

Is there a plague of brown recluse spiders? In some homes, it certainly seems like it. However, even though they make scary headlines and can cause serious injury to humans, the truth is that these spiders typically avoid people, and bites are pretty rare.

If you have a brown recluse infestation in your home, some steps must be taken to eliminate them. If not done correctly, a large population of brown recluse spiders may continue to live among you for months – until one day you find yourself severely bitten without ever seeing the spider that inflicted the wound!

It's therefore critical to take the proper steps when dealing with this type of pest control problem so as not to complicate or worsen an infestation.

Brown Recluse Spiders

First, let's review some quick facts about the brown recluse spider itself. These spiders are typically between 6 to 20 millimeters and have a dark brown violin-shaped marking on their back.

They live throughout the southern US and prefer warm, dry climates. Brown recluse spiders build irregular webs but choose to live in undisturbed areas such as woodpiles, rocks, storage boxes, or under furniture that is not used frequently. They may also be found in closets or in clothes left sitting out overnight.

These spiders are nocturnal hunters, which means they hunt for food at night when people are least active around them. They feed primarily on insects like crickets, cockroaches, and various types of bugs that live in clothing, such as clothes moths.

Brown recluse spiders bite only when they feel threatened, such as if someone sits on them or rolls over them when sleeping at night. Bites can also occur when handling boxes where the spider was hiding. They sometimes wander into shoes and socks left out overnight and get crushed by a person unknowingly standing or sitting on them.

  1. Remove Clutter
    Step 1: Remove ClutterThe less there is in your home, the fewer places there are for the brown recluse spider to hide. Therefore, removing clutter drastically reduces your chances of coming into contact with their nocturnal wandering nature. Please don't give them any reason to hang around but be careful not to disturb or destroy any that already exist.

    You may think that it's impossible to get rid of all the brown recluse spiders, but you can make your house less appealing to them. For example, if there are fewer places for them to hide in your home, they'll leave.

    If you want to keep your home safe from spiders, the best thing you can do is make sure there are no dark corners.

  2. Sealing Cracks and Crevices
    Step 2: Sealing Cracks and CrevicesSpiders love to hide in tiny cracks and dark places where you cannot usually see them. Spiders are nocturnal creatures. They typically hide in dark places during the day and only come out at night to hunt for food.

    Spiders are sneaky. They love to hide where they can surprise you, like behind the toilet seat or under your bed.

    So it's vital to seal off any entry points if possible. For instance, certain areas of the foundation and walls may be unsealed, whereas brown recluses could use as an entry or exit point inside your house if left unplugged over time.

    Also, check your windows, doors, and other openings for gaps between the frame and siding because spiders will easily crawl through such holes to get inside.

  3. Remove Spider Webbing
    Step 3: Remove Spider WebbingOne of the quickest ways to find out whether you have a potential brown recluse infestation is by looking for their distinctive webs.

    The arrangement of the silk strands gives you a pretty good idea of what it is, and this can help save time for studying more harmful species. If you find their webs, check them out carefully for any signs of spiders themselves because it's likely that at least one or two are hanging around.

    If you have a recluse spider infestation in your home, I recommend vacuuming frequently. Vacuuming will remove the brown recluse spiders as well as their egg sacks.
    What's more, vacuuming is an effective way to prevent potential spider bites.
  4. Keep It Clean
    Step 4: Keep It CleanBecause they are so sensitive to vibrations, spiders prefer a clean home. It's essential to keep the house clean. Not only is it more hygienic, but spiders tend to shy away from areas kept tidy by regular vacuuming or mopping.

    Keep your floors, carpets, and other surfaces free of clutter because these are all magnets for insects which are the brown recluse's primary food source.

    Spiders are often seen as pests, but they can be pretty helpful. For example, when spiders are around, it means that there's less chance of you running into a poisonous insect or spider in your home.
  5. Insecticides
    Step 5: InsecticidesTo prevent an infestation from happening in the first place, keep your home as bug-free as possible with insecticide sprays around the perimeter of your house every few months before the warmer months arrive when brown recluse spiders are more active.

    If you have a specific infestation problem, insecticides containing pyrethrins help knock out spiders on contact. As you can see, insecticides containing pyrethrins are an effective way to eliminate spiders.

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    Active Ingredient: 0.05% Bifenthrin is a pyrethroid insecticide. Easy application is ensured by the sprayer and coil system included with the product.

    The first and foremost thing to keep in mind is that you need to be prepared. Before you ever go out searching for brown recluse spiders, it is recommended to wear gloves, so your scent is not transferred onto the spider's body or its environment. It can make catching the spider more difficult if they sense it is being hunted.

Summary: Brown recluse spiders live in dark, undisturbed places around the home or business, where they wander at night looking for insects to eat. To avoid being bitten, remove clutter and seal any cracks or entry points into your house while regularly cleaning surfaces to prevent spider webs from forming. Afterward, use insecticides with pyrethrin to eliminate any existing brown recluse spiders.


If you still haven’t encountered it and are wondering what it looks like, memorize its color – light brown with a dark violin-shaped marking on its back. It helps identify the adult spider, which is not typical for young ones.

Brown Recluse Spider

Remember one main feature of brown recluse spiders – the eye pattern.

Remember one main feature of brown recluse spiders – the eye pattern. Their six or sometimes eight eyes are arranged in a semi-circle. Though many other harmless spiders are often mistaken for brown recluses, sometimes one needs either a quality lens or being a professional to distinguish this feature.

What Do They Eat?

What Do Brown Recluse Spiders Eat?Brown recluse spiders usually feed on other insects (e.g. cockroaches or even caterpillars) both dead and alive and even other spiders. They prefer hiding during the day and hunting for prey at night.

Interestingly, they don’t build a web to catch their food. When spiders are hungry and cannot find anything to feed on, they wander around during the day, crawling on walls and other surfaces.

Sometimes brown recluse spiders can even feed on other brown recluses. However, it may be considered something off the scale.

How to Kill Brown Recluse Spiders

Getting rid of brown recluse spiders is difficult but not impossible. You can make use of two types of brown recluse spider extermination.

Chemical Methods

  • Sprays – an aerosol insecticide can be sprayed on brown recluses directly. Such a way of treatment is much easier than vacuuming.
  • Dust application – this can be regarded as one of the best ways of brown recluse spider infestation treatment. As we already know, these spiders prefer secret nooks and corners, hiding in unseen cracks and quiet places; that is why dust puffed into all those secret places kills brown recluse spiders.

  • Exterior treatment – do not hurry to seal all the openings in the outside walls. First, treat them with residual dust agents to avoid future spider entering.
  • Spot treatment – the least successful procedure if done alone. It doesn’t guarantee a good result and must be combined with other brown recluse spider control types.

Non-Chemical Methods

  • Inspecting all stored things. Other items should also be inspected when a spider is found in one stored item, e.g., an old box with rarely used things. If you ignore this advice, you will let the present infestation worsen.

    Remember to wear long-sleeved clothes and gloves when inspecting your premises. This advice will help you to avoid bites.
  • Vacuum removal. A vacuum cleaner can easily remove spiders, their webs, and eggs. However, after the cleaning, the vacuum bag should be sealed in plastic and then (if possible) discarded miles away from your place.

  • Exclusion. All the gaps and cracks of outside walls, pipes, vents, wires, cables, and other exterior items must be first treated with dust agents and then sealed with caulk. Do your best to isolate your house and avoid the infestation.
  • Sanitation. To eliminate brown recluse spiders and avoid their attraction to your home, you should stick to the simplest sanitation practices, such as cutting tall grass and ivy, moving all debris away from home, improving storage, reducing clutter, etc. Keep to all the sanitation rules, and your house will be safe and sound.

If brown recluse spiders infestation is rather severe, and coping with it is much more difficult than you have thought, try to follow these simple steps, but do it thoroughly:

  • Inspect bedding before going to bed.
  • Make sure to seal all the shoes and clothing into plastic bags.
  • If you store your clothing and shoes in wardrobes or closets, shake them well before use.

  • Move your bed, couch, or settee away from walls to avoid spiders climbing on them and hiding under the mattress or among cushions.

Glue Board Trap

Another way to get rid of spiders is using glue boards. It is a rather popular method of capturing brown recluse spiders and other pests like cockroaches.

These boards are sold at hardware and some grocery stores and look like thin, sticky cardboards. The more glue boards you use, the faster you eliminate all the spiders.

  • There are no additional baits required for using these brown recluse spider glue traps because they are pre-scented.
  • A non-toxic adhesive that lasts a long time.
  • Made in The USA.
Treatment by glue boards should be carried out before applying insecticide agents.

Anyway, there are many places where you can place them, and besides being very useful for detection, they can also kill many spiders that may wander around your premises. Treatment by glue boards should be carried out before applying insecticide agents.


Unfortunately, not all the spiders in your home can be trapped by glue boards, especially adult females. Therefore, applying certain insecticides to corners, cracks, and other places where brown recluses may hide is a good solution.

These are rather effective and include:

  • Delta Dust (deltamethrin) – colorless and odorless mixture that causes nerve damage in pests.

    Careful! Avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing. It’s harmful to pets and might provoke eye and skin irritations.

  • Tri-Die Silica Gel – professional pesticide. It is applied under or behind insulation in basements and/or attics, behind electrical outlet plates, cracks, etc. It penetrates deep into the surfaces and has a residual effect.


Among various sprays, these three are the most often used:

  • 565 PLUS XLO – has a slight odor, ideal for space treatment and direct contact, should be of room temperature when used.
  • CB-80 Extra – has a wide range of effects, sprayed in cracks and hidden surfaces using a special nozzle.

  • Ortho® Elementals® Home Insect Killer – is a completely safe and effective remedy, contains 100% natural and active soybean oil, easy to clean if spilt.

Getting Rid of Brown Recluse Spiders in Your House

If your home is invaded by other types of spiders, e.g., brown recruit spider or brown lacrosse spiders, getting rid of house spiders is conducted in the following way:

  • Seal up your apartment
  • Keep outdoor flashlight off
  • Remove all debris

  • Keep the house clean and tidy: vacuum the webs, put glue traps, apply insecticides or call a professional exterminator if something goes wrong.

Spider Identification Chart

Now that you know how to get rid of brown recluse spiders, it won’t be challenging to identify them among other species, avoid infestation and be ready to deal with them if necessary.

Take your time to thoroughly inspect your home with a flashlight, clean crevices and corners, behind furniture and clutters, above ceilings, and behind baseboards, and make your place discomfort for pests. Better safe than sorry.

Questions & Answers

What to do if you find a brown recluse in your house?

If the venom from a brown recluse spider bite isn't treated, it can lead to serious health complications. For this reason, anyone who suspects their home or yard has been invaded by a brown recluse spider should hire a professional pest management company to help identify and eradicate the problem.

A tiny brown recluse spider usually doesn't go out of its way to aggressively seek out humans, but it may become more aggressive if threatened or cornered. Therefore deadly venom can still be injected.

What attracts brown recluse spiders?

Brown recluse spiders live in the dark, abandoned places, typically from a few inches to 3 feet off the ground. They have irregular wandering habits and can be found inside homes, under trash cans, and in cars. Unlike black widows, they won't chase you like prey- but they'll undoubtedly take the opportunity if it presents itself.

Brown recluses are nocturnal spiders that like to live in woodpiles, animal burrows, garages, and sheds. They prefer staying still, inside a web. They are also attracted to low-level light and dark, secluded places.

How big are brown recluse spiders?

Brown recluse spiders are about 1/4 to 1/2 inches in length, with the females slightly more significant than the males. But they usually don't grow much more meaningful. In comparison, black widows can be within the range of 5-6" in males and 3-4" in females.

The brown recluse is a smaller spider that prefers being outdoors.

Where are brown recluse spiders located?

Brown recluse spiders are difficult to find since they are shy and like to hide in shaded, dry areas. A helpful hint also is that brown recluses love old sheds and barns!

I considered bringing in an exterminator before venturing out on your own.

Where are brown recluse spiders found in the United States?

Brown recluse spiders can be found in most of the United States, but they are particularly abundant in the Midwest. They are typically located between Nebraska and Ohio, Texas to Florida. They prefer warmer climates, and unlike most of their counterparts, they don't care for cramped spaces.

The habitats for brown recluse spiders range from fields infested with wild plants to human dwellings because they are so small and prefer dark, sheltered places.