Out of all the spiders found in the US, the brown recluse spider is probably the last one you want to encounter. The brown recluse’s size is relatively small, most being only 3/8 of an inch long and 3/16 of an inch wide. Also known as fiddler spiders, they are characterized by a unique violin marking on their abdomen. However, not all species of the brown recluse have the markings. Either way, if you see any spider that looks even remotely like this scary critter, I recommend you high tail it out of there and leave that thing alone! You could choose to squish it with a swatter or a thick, sturdy shoe, but I can’t guarantee you that there will be positive results. So what should you do if you see these arachnids crawling around?
Brown recluse spiders are actually one of the more difficult pests to control. Why, you may ask? Well, as if their bite wasn’t bad enough, brown recluse spiders are also dirty. They don’t bathe themselves! Initially, you might be like me and think, “So, what’s the big deal? Gives me more reason to kill them.” However, let us think for a moment; how do most pesticides work? You guessed it, as a delay kill effect. Many good, effective pesticides depend on the pest grooming itself and ingesting the poison, but brown recluses don’t do that! Therefore, you have to be wary of manufacturers who say that their products will definitely kill these spiders. However, recent research indicates that contemporary pyrethoids are effective brown recluse killers, especially as wettable powders or micro-encapsulated formulas. Unfortunately, most aerosols and regular liquid insecticides will not kill these spiders, but thankfully, they can be used to accentuate the function of the effective pesticides. I would recommend glue traps for brown recluses, just because they seem to be the most effective for smaller infestations so far. Glue traps will immobilize the spiders and kill them after a certain amount of time; plus, you don’t have to worry about touching or picking up the actual spiders!
I realize that my title for this blog post may be a bit misleading, but I hope that helps you realize how tricky these pests are! Don’t be too scared though; brown recluses are almost 100% avoidable. Wait for a later post to find out how to prevent yourself from having an unfortunate encounter!