The name reflects the fact that this is usually the spider most often encountered indoors. It is a nuisance pest, probably more because of its webs than the spider itself. The adult female is about 3/16-5/16”; males about 1/8-3/16”, colors are variable. Treatments include liquid insecticides and dusts.
These spiders get their common name from the popular belief that the female eats the male after mating, a phenomenon which rarely happens in nature. The adult female is about 1 1/2-1 3/8” long, males are about half this size. They are typically black with a reddish hourglass under the abdomen and are smooth. Their venom is a neurotoxin which is a poison that affects the nervous system. The female is normally shy, but aggressively attacks immediately after laying her eggs, and when guarding her eggs. Her bite is not always felt, so the only reliable evidence of a bite is a slight local swelling with 2 tiny red spots where the fangs entered. Pain is usually almost immediate and reaches its maximum in 1-3 hours, continues for 12-48 hours, and then gradually subsides. The major symptoms are increased body temperature and blood pressure, profuse sweating and nausea. Immediately call a doctor or go to an emergency room if bitten. Treatments include liquid insecticides and dusts.
This spider gets its common name from its coloration and reclusive habits and the dark violin/fiddle shaped marking on the top of the fused head and thorax. Adults are usually about 1/4-1/2” in body length and are tan to dark brown. Both male and female can inject venom, and must be considered dangerous to humans. Injection of their venom may produce necrosis or dead tissue, resulting in an ulcerating type of sore. The bite is usually not felt, but it may produce an immediate stinging sensation followed by intense pain or this reaction may be delayed for 6-8 hours. A small blister usually appears and the surrounding bite area becomes swollen. Symptoms include restlessness, fever and difficulty in sleeping. The killed tissue gradually sloughs away during the next 10-14 days, leaving an open ulcer and possibly exposing the underlying muscles and/or bone. Healing is very slow, resulting in dense scar tissue. In severe cases, plastic surgery may be required. Call a doctor or go to an emergency room if bitten and take the spider with you. It should be noted that not all brown recluse bites result in ulcer formation and that bites of other arthropods may cause a similar reaction. They are solitary and are found in undisturbed environments. Treatments include liquid insecticides and dusts.