How to Kill Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluse spiders are shy and prefer to hide in secluded spaces.

What Are Brown Recluse Spiders?

Brown recluse spiders are solitary, shy, non-aggressive spiders and only bite people when disturbed. They are found primarily in the Central U.S., as far north as Ohio and as far south as Texas, but they have also made their presence known in southeastern states like Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama.

Adult brown recluse spiders vary in color from dull yellow to tawny, dark brown. They have a dark, violin-shaped mark behind their heads which is why they are also known as "fiddle-back spiders." They have 6 eyes instead of 8 like most spiders. Their abdomens and long legs are covered in fine hairs, giving them a velvety appearance. At their widest leg span, their bodies are roughly the size of a quarter.

Brown Recluse Habitat

Brown recluse spiders got their name because they prefer to hide in secluded places and usually avoid humans. They can be found living in your yard, home, barn, or shed. They seek dark, sheltered places like under porches, dark closets, or leaf and wood piles. Brown recluse spiders create disorganized webs that are built most commonly near the ground. However, they are hunters, and their webs are not intended to catch prey.

The Brown Recluse Bite

Brown recluse spiders are very shy and usually scurry away quickly when disturbed. But if they're trapped in shoes, clothing, or another tight spot, they may bite. The bite is venomous, but a person's reaction is dependent on the amount of venom and their sensitivity. Brown recluse venom is rarely fatal, but children and the elderly are more at risk for serious reactions to bites. The bite is extremely painful and has known to produce an ulcerating sore around the bite spot that can expand without medical treatment. Fever can also accompany a bite, and it's always best to seek professional medical care if you are bitten by a brown recluse spider.

How to Kill Brown Recluse Spiders

If you find brown recluse spiders in your home, use Ortho® Home Defense Max® Indoor Insect Barrier with Extended Reach Comfort Wand® to kill them. Then use it to treat windows, door casings, and other entry points into the home to create a barrier to keep them out. Kill brown recluse spiders who have taken up residence in your yard with Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape.

How to Prevent Brown Recluse Spiders

Stop brown recluse spiders from moving into your yard and home by taking preventative steps. Remove debris like brush and leaf piles. Be careful when taking wood from a woodpile, and check it for hitchhikers before bringing it into the house. Keep plants and grass trimmed near your house, and remove clutter and debris from around your house's perimeter. Fix cracks in your home's foundation, seal openings, and install screens and door sweeps to help prevent spider entry. Finally, eliminate clutter in storage areas, such as basements, attics, and closets.