With the summer winding down, you may be starting to think about blankets and fall clothes packed away in your basement, extra closet or attic. Although they may be an afterthought, these boxes could be serving as a home for dangerous pests, like the brown recluse spider, so it important to beware when cleaning out your storage areas.
With a poisonous, necrotic bite and affinity for hiding in places such as cardboard boxes, they are both a dangerous and hard to eliminate pest. A brown recluse spider, whether you have one or an infestation, can pose a serious threat to the health and safety of you and your family.
Before you begin cleaning out your garage or old shed, it is important to understand what you can do to protect yourself and your family from these pests.
What a Brown Recluse Looks Like and Their Common Hiding Places
Also known as the fiddleback or violin spider due to the dark, violin-shaped mark on the dorsum that is directed toward the abdomen of the spider, the brown recluse can range in color from whitish to dark brown or a blackish gray. The brown recluse is usually the size of a quarter and is also known for having six eyes that are arranged in pairs rather than eight eyes like most spiders.
Jeff Phillips, President of Blue Chip Pest Services, said brown recluse spiders are not really web makers. Phillips said you are more likely to see the brown recluse in your home by chance rather than finding other signs of activity.
Phillips said brown recluse spiders are active all year round and do not have an “offseason.” “Like all bugs, they are active in the spring and summer. In the fall and winter, they are largely found inside,” said Phillips.
He said you will typically see brown recluse spiders in storage areas, basements, attics, or other areas in or around the home where there isn’t a lot of movement, hence the name “recluse.”
Dangers of a Brown Recluse Bite
Phillips said, like with any spider bite, the bite from a brown recluse can cause a reaction. He said although most people don’t have a reaction, the brown recluse bite can cause symptoms ranging from inflammation to necrosis of the skin. This depends on where the bite occurs and how much venom was injected.
Each person’s reaction is unique, but many times people who have been bitten don’t realize it until other symptoms begin to surface since the initial bite isn’t painful. These symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
Other times, the area of the bite will redden and swell and may even blister over. A more severe bite can cause painful open wounds that do not heal easily and can turn a purplish black color. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if think you may have been bitten by a brown recluse spider.
Safety Measures to Prevent a Brown Recluse Bite and Infestations
If you see one brown recluse, chances are there are more hiding in the home. A female brown recluse only needs to mate once to produce eggs for the rest of her life and can produce an average of 150 spiderlings a year. The female brown recluse typically lays eggs between May and July, laying about 50 eggs at a time but can create several egg sacs over a few months. If a female brown recluse enters your home and reproduces, an infestation can easily escalate.
A brown recluse will not attack a human unless it is taken by surprise or feels threatened. It is important to be careful when moving boxes around or unpacking items they have been stored for a while in darker areas of the home. Wearing gloves when working in areas where brown recluse spiders could be living can help protect your hands from being bitten.
Phillips said to take away the areas where the brown recluse spiders can thrive. He said to avoid storing items in cardboard boxes, but instead, use plastic tubs with tight-fitting lids. “General clutter. The less of it, the better,” Phillips said.
By taking away clutter inside the home and clearing up debris outside, like piles of leaves, you remove the areas the brown recluse is attracted to, lessening your chance of an infestation. You should also repair any cracks outside of the home and make sure all doors and window seal properly to eliminate entry points the brown recluse can use.
Why Should I Use a Professional Brown Recluse Extermination Service?
Brown recluse spiders are difficult to get rid of and require a multi-step process to successfully remove them from the home. Using a professional pest control service helps to ensure the infestation is eliminated correctly the first time. Phillips said treating for a brown recluse infestation requires a variety of methods and products rather than just one over-the-counter product. “It’s more in-depth as you have to hunt them down and figure out where they are coming from,” Phillips said.
He said you can’t just use one over-the-counter product and treat the easy to reach areas of the home. Phillips said for successful treatment, you have to directly treat the areas where the spiders are hiding.
Effective Pest Control Services for a Safer Home
Phillips said for the initial service they will treat the known area or areas of infestation in or around the home. He said they will also place sticky monitors or glue traps around the home in areas such as behind furniture, boxes, or in other storage areas where brown recluse spiders are commonly found.
Phillips said they use residual insecticide sprays and dusts to treat areas inside and outside of the home. These sprays and dusts are applied to areas such as the basement and attic space where brown recluse spiders are commonly found. The outside of the home is also treated to help create a barrier of protection to keep the spiders out.
After 1-2 weeks, Phillips said they will return to the home to inspect the monitors and see where any activity may have continued. If they find any new activity, they will make new applications to those areas.
He said a brown recluse infestation requires on-going maintenance. “At least every other month, sometimes if there is a bad infestation we will do monthly service until it is under control,” Phillips said. The regular service programs offered by Blue Chip Pest Services will help to maintain a barrier around your home all year round to help keep unwanted pests like the brown recluse out.
Don’t put yourself or your family at risk for a harmful brown recluse bite. Contact Blue Chip Pest Services today to learn more about how they can help you eliminate these pests from your home and keep your family safe from a dangerous brown recluse bite.