Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown Recluse Spiders

brown recluse

A recent news report by a TV station suggested the hot summer temperatures are increasing brown recluse spider infestations. This isn't true. Numbers of brown recluse spiders do not increase in hot weather.

Brown recluse spiders don't live outdoors in Nebraska, like they do in more southern states, so they are not impacted as much by ambient outdoor temperatures as other outdoor-living spiders and insects are. Brown recluse spider infestations probably begin in Nebraska when people accidentally move them in boxes of shipped items or when people move from an infested place to a new one.

Once in a building, they can be very hard to control because of their reclusive nature. It usually takes the services of a pest control professional to control a brown recluse spider infestation and even then, eradication can be difficult.

In Nebraska, brown recluse spiders are not often found in single- family homes, which is another clue they don't live outdoors. They are most likely found in warehouses or commercial buildings where items are stored or shipped in from states like Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, or other southern states where brown recluse spiders are more abundant. They have been found in apart¬ments in Nebraska, probably originally brought in with moving boxes from an infested place. Once in an apartment, they can travel through walls and between floors, infesting other units in the building.

Brown recluse spiders are a health concern because they inject a cytotoxic venom which kills the tissue around the bite. The skin sloughs off and doesn't heal properly. It is extremely important to seek medical treatment for any type of a wound that doesn't heal.

If you are concerned about spiders, we recommend you buy some glueboards (often found in the rodent control section of stores) and place them flat in dark corners or other areas where you have seen them. After you catch the spiders, bring the glueboard to the extension office. UNL Extension in Lancaster County identifies spiders and insects at no cost to you and gives you sugges¬tions of your next steps.

Most of the time, the spiders we see are outdoor spiders, which have come inside through cracks and crevices of your home. This time of year, spiders are on the move, seeking a protected location to overwinter. Sealing cracks and crevices can help prevent spiders and other insects from entering your home.

brown recluse
Barb Ogg
Emeritus Extension Educator, Entomology
Barb Ogg shared her love of entomology with clientele throughout Nebraska for many years through Nebraska Extension. Barb retired in 2015.

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