Scientifically known as Loxosceles reclusa, the brown recluse spider is a common pest for those living in Oklahoma or one of the other surrounding southern states. Since this species of spider is harmful to humans, it is important to seek the services of a pest control expert as soon as you spot them in your home or on your property. Read on to learn more about dealing with the brown recluse.
Know How to Identify Them
There are several spiders that closely resemble the brown recluse that are not harmful at all. These include the giant house spider, common garden spider, false widow spider and the dome-web spider. If your home is infested with brown recluse spiders, you won't notice any webs out in the open, as these spiders don't use their webs to catch their prey.
Another way to distinguish a brown recluse spider from similar pests is to observe the spider to see if it is plain brown in color with a violin-shaped mark on its dorsum and tiny hairs. Should you notice any type of pattern on the spider, you can safely say it isn't a brown recluse. Other spiders also have skinnier legs, longer legs or legs with stripes on them.
Understand the Dangers to Humans and Pets
Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences reports that the brown recluse spider's venom poses a risk because it contains necrotic or cytotoxic properties that eat away at the tissue surrounding the area where the bite occurred. The college goes on to say that within seven hours a person will begin to notice a small blister forming and may begin to come down with a fever, nausea, joint pain and a rash. In severe cases, a person may suffer from seizures and even death.
Pets are not immune from the bite of a brown recluse either. If your dog or cat is allowed to roam around outside and they step on the spider, they may get bit. The smaller the animal, the most at-risk they are from becoming ill as a result. Always seek immediate medical attention if anyone in your home (including the home's furry members) gets bit by the brown recluse.
Know Where the Brown Recluse Spiders Hide
You'll need to keep an eye out both inside and outside for brown recluse spiders. Extreme temperatures do not affect this spider, so you may notice them in a cold basement as well as a hot attic. Brown recluses love dark spaces during the day where they can hide, so you might not see them unless you're up at night when they come out to hunt for food.
Outdoors you'll want to check under wood piles, rocks or any other stacks of debris that you may have on the property. If you do locate the spider's hiding spot, you may also find a small web with 40 to 50 silken egg sacks that measure 1/3 inch diameter. These sacks contain tiny brown recluse spiders that will quickly contribute to your infestation.
Take Steps to Prevent Future Infestations
Once you have an exterminator eliminate the dangerous spiders from your property, you'll need to take steps to ensure the home is not appealing to the brown recluse so that you do not suffer from any new infestations. Start off by de-cluttering your yard so that there are no hiding places, and then move any wood piles away from the foundation. It will also help to use a few boards to keep the woodpile up off the ground.
To keep brown recluse spiders from entering your home, you'll need to survey the foundation and outside walls and windows. Use caulk or expanding foam to seal up every crack and crevice you come across. Don't forget to check window screens for holes and any openings around your pipes.