Even Among Arachnids, the Brown Recluse is Misunderstood

 In Blog

Close up of Brown Recluse Spider

If you live in the St. Louis, Missouri region, you’ve probably heard horrific tales about the brown recluse. It’s a common spider with a big, bad reputation that’s completely blown out of proportion. At Anderson Pest Solutions, while we understand concerns about poisonous spiders, it’s also important to realize that this dreaded arachnid has no desire to terrorize your household. Here are a few facts to help you keep things in perspective.

Mistaken Identity and Tall Tales


Most people associate the brown recluse spider with the violin-shaped markings on their cephalothoraxes, but people have a tendency to make out violin shapes on a variety of small, brown spiders that are not recluses. In fact, even entomologists and doctors get it wrong sometimes. A better way to identify the recluse is its six eyes. Most spiders have eight eyes, but the brown recluse has three pairs; one is at the front of its head, and the other two are on either side. Other identifying marks include uniformly colored bodies and no spines on the legs.

If you’ve heard nothing but the hype, you might think that brown recluses are vicious, blood-hungry beasts that can’t wait to attack you and fill you with their toxic venom. In reality, the spider just wants to be left alone and doesn’t bite unless provoked or trapped against skin. Its fangs are relatively short, so it lacks the biting power that some people think it possesses.

When it does bite, only around 10 percent of the bites turn into the nightmarish necrotic lesions that you’ll see on a Google image search. Most bites look like mosquito bites or a small pimple and will heal easily without medical attention. Some of the skin lesions that are assumed to be due to brown recluse spider bites are actually misdiagnosed cases of bacterial and viral infections, chemical burns, herpes, poison oak, poison ivy or even adverse drug reactions.

Controlling Brown Recluse Populations in Your Home


Finding a brown recluse in your home is no reason to panic, but you can reduce their numbers by following a few simple tips.

  • Clean regularly and thoroughly.
  • Use plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes for storage.
  • Keep plants and trees properly trimmed and away from the exterior of your house.
  • Avoid creating stacks of paper and other materials in your home. Keep clutter to a minimum.

To Manage Severe Infestations, Call Anderson Pest Solutions


If you find more than a few brown recluse spiders in and around your home, it’s time to call an expert. Anderson Pest Solutions has been providing environmentally responsible pest control for home and business owners for more than a century. We can keep potentially dangerous spiders under control while limiting your exposure to chemical pesticides. Contact us today for an estimate.