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Brown Recluse Spider

Classification: Arachnid
Other names: Violin spider, fiddleback spider
Color: Light cream to dark brown, uniform coloring, no stripes, bands or mottling
Size: 3/8 inches
Distinctive features: Violin-shaped mark on back with neck pointing towards body
Eats: Cockroaches, firebrats, crickets, crawling bugs
Predators: Other spiders, including cobweb and cellar spiders
Interesting fact: The brown recluse spider spins an irregular-shaped web in which to hide during the day. It doesn’t use its web to capture prey.

Brown Recluse Spider Is Only Occasional Maryland Visitor

You don’t really have to worry too much about the brown recluse spider if you’re  a Maryland resident. Its usual habitat is the Midwestern and South Central U.S, although it does sometimes sneak into this state as a hitchhiker on packages.

A brown recluse spider has several distinctive features:

  • A dark violin-shape marking on the cephalothorax (the part of its body where the legs attach), with the neck of the violin pointing to the bod
  • Long, thin legs with fine hairs (no spines)
  • Uniformly colored abdomen and legs (no stripes, bands or mottling)
  • Color ranging from cream to dark brown
  • 6 eyes arranged in pairs

Hidden away

There’s a reason that this spider is called the recluse—it likes to hide away during the day in dark, sheltered areas. It comes out at night to hunt cockroaches, firebrats, crickets and other crawling bugs, and will eat them dead or alive.

Outdoors, these spiders live under rocks, logs, woodpiles and debris. Indoors they can be found in attics, basements, crawl spaces, between joists, under insulation, and in bedding, closets, clothing, shoes and stored items.

Female brown recluses spin off-white, silken egg sacs about ½ inch long for the 20-50 eggs they lay at one time. Small spiders mature about a year after hatching, going through several molts and leaving a rigid skeleton behind each time.  They can live 2-4 years.

Venomous bite

Although bites by brown recluses are rare—they only attack when they feel threatened—they do have some lingering, serious effects.  The bite may feel like a sting at first, but over the next few hours it will become red and swollen and purple or red rings may form around it. Eventually it becomes a fluid-filled blister that pops to reveal a deep ulcer in the skin, which can grow in size over the next weeks or months. It may take up to a year before the bite is completely healed.

If you suspect you have been bitten, extend the bitten area over your head and seek medical help. Capture the spider if possible.

Take precautions to limit your risk of getting bitten by a brown recluse spider:

  • Shake out bedding, towels and clothing and check shoes before using
  • Wear gloves when working outdoors around rocks or woodpiles
  • Handle any stored items in your basement or attic carefully
  • Keep spiders out by sealing cracks and crevices in your home, using screens at windows

Because the brown recluse spider’s bite can have serious consequences, it’s best to let the experts at Brody Brothers clear them out for you. We know how to find their hiding places and how to apply the right insecticides in all the right spots. Call us today at 443-379-8857 for help.

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