Brown recluse spiders are light tan to dark brown with a violin-shaped marking behind the head. They are 1/3 to 1/2 inch long and have three pairs of eyes, whereas most spiders have four pairs. Poisonous brown recluse spiders are found in the Midwest and Southeast; less poisonous relatives are found throughout most of the United States.
Do Not Disturb
Brown recluse spiders got their name because they prefer to hide in secluded places, such as outdoors under rocks or indoors in closets. Watch out for them when taking wood from a woodpile or putting your hand in a place that hasn't been disturbed in awhile. They usually avoid humans and only bite when they feel threatened.
Don't Let Them Eat
If there are brown recluse spiders in your yard, garage, garden shed, or house, you may find grayish, irregular, sticky webs and white, 3/4-inch-wide egg sacs in the infested areas. Spiders catch bugs in their webs for food, so knocking down the webs will encourage the spiders to go elsewhere for meals.
Don't Let Them Bite
Brown recluse spiders are very shy and will try to scurry away quickly when disturbed. But if they're trapped in shoes, clothing, or another tight spot, they may bite. Brown recluse venom is rarely fatal, but it can cause a severe sore that is slow to heal and sometimes causes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, and pain. Children and elderly adults are more at risk for serious reactions to bites.
Controlling Brown Recluse Spiders
If you find brown recluse spiders in the home, you can spray Ortho® Home Defense MAX® Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter¹. Spraying window and door casings and other entry points into the home helps form a barrier to keep them out.