Characteristics – Size: May grow to have a body about 5/8-inch in length and a leg span of about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Color: Usually light brown but may be darker in some specimens.
- The key identifying characteristics are the six eyes arranged in three pairs at the front of the head area and the fiddle-shaped marking on the back. The brown recluse spider is often called the "violin" spider or "fiddleback" spider because of the distinctive fiddle-shaped marking on top of its cephalothorax (head end to which the legs are attached).
- Behavior – Like most spiders, the brown recluse spider does not seek to bite people. The bite is usually accidental. The spider crawls into a shoe, into clothing or into a bed and a person then puts on the clothing or lies on the spider in bed. The spider, being trapped, has only one defense - and that is to bite. Unfortunately, the bite of this spider produces a nasty result in people, such as open, ulcerating sores. Left untreated, such bites often become infected and significant tissue necrosis can occur. It is always best to seek medical attention, preferably from a dermatologist, if you think you may have a spider bite. This is especially true in areas where brown recluse spiders are common.
- Habitat – Any corner inside or outside is suitable for brown recluse spiders to construct their webs. These spiders are more common in garages, crawl spaces, and basements, as these areas are less disturbed and tend to harbor more insects.
- Tips for Control – If a home has experienced brown recluse spiders, the occupants can reduce the chances of bites by following the recommendations below:
- Clothing can be stored in sealed plastic bags inside drawers or inside plastic storage compartments hanging in closets.
- Shoes should be stored inside plastic shoeboxes. Clothes that have been left on the floor, in a clothing basket, or are otherwise exposed should always be shaken well and inspected before being put on.
- Avoid keeping clothing on floors. Beds should be moved out so they do not touch walls or curtains. Bed skirts around the box springs should be removed from beds, and bedspreads that come near or touch the floor should not be used. These items allow spiders easy access to climb onto the bed. Persons living in infested homes should get into the habit of inspecting bedding prior to climbing in.