Brown Recluse Spider is a Common Home Invader

When homeowners come indoors as cooler weather starts to blow in, they may not realize they have some hidden intruders- spiders. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to be particularly aware of the brown recluse spider, one of the more poisonous spiders in America.

"Although most spiders are harmless, it is important for homeowners to be aware that some can cause painful and severe bites like the brown recluse spider," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "It's important to learn how to identify these poisonous spiders, where they hide and then promptly remove them from the home."

The brown recluse spider is about a half inch in size and has a dark brown violin marking on its back. It's well adapted to living indoors and can survive months without food or water. It commonly inhabits dark spaces, woodpiles, and cool areas in attics and storage sheds.

Some people are mildly affected by the bite of a brown recluse spider, showing only a small red mark. Others may experience extreme allergic reactions and need to seek medical attention promptly. In this case, the bite may cause a lesion on the skin that is blue-gray or blue-white and ranges in size from an adult's thumbnail to the span of a hand.

NPMA offers advice to prevent spiders from entering the home and avoiding bites:

  • Shake out shoes and clothes before getting dressed.
  • Examine towels and bedding before use.
  • Do not keep boxes or other items under the bed.
  • Install weather stripping, door sweeps and tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
  • Seal cracks and crevices around the home.
  • Remove clutter from basements, attics and garages.
  • Vacuum/sweep away webs in and around the home.

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