05 May

The Reclusive Truth


Few critters cause more panic than the brown recluse spider. Images of eight-legged, fang-dripping monsters come to mind with the mere mention of their name. Do they deserve all this hype? Or are the facts as reclusive as the spider itself?

Bad Bites and Mistaken Identities

First off, it’s true their bite can be bad. Brown recluse venom contains hemotoxins, which cause red blood cells to burst. Sounds frightening, but only 10 percent of incidents result in necrosis, requiring medical attention; meaning most of their bites are not bad.

Even though you have led to believe otherwise, brown recluse spiders are not on the prowl for humans. Venom is taxing to create; it takes a lot of energy. Spiders only use their venom to grab a meal or to preserve their life. The recluse will only bite a human when it feels threatened. When people stuff an appendage into infrequently used shoes or gloves and there happens to be a recluse living inside, to avoid being smashed, the spider will use its fangs.

The Scapegoat of Spiders

Brown recluse bites are not as common as people think. It has been reported that 80 percent of cases attributed to the brown recluse have been misdiagnosed. From bacteria to poison ivy, over 40 things can cause skin symptoms that resemble recluse bites. Another problem resulting in the mistaken identity of recluse spiders is they are small and brown. Most spiders thought to be recluses are misidentified.

There are hundreds of spider species, which look the same. One of the only ways to identify them correctly is by eye arrangement. Most spiders have eight eyes; brown recluses have six arranged in 3 pairs of 2. Though reported to infest every State in America, in reality the habitat of recluse spiders is small, encompassing the southern area between the Rockies and the Appalachians.

Fragile and Robust at the Same Time

Recluse spiders are not aggressive, they will flee rather than confront. Their bodies are soft and fragile. They prefer to hide in dark areas and attack small prey like cockroaches and crickets. Though delicate, there is robustness to them. Brown recluses can survive for several seasons without food or water. They can live for nearly a third of their lifetime without eating. When food is severely limited, the spider can enter homeostasis; everything inside the spider slows down and only a minuscule amount of energy is used. When food becomes plentiful, the recluse reawakens. Going without food for nearly a year is amazing, but that is not all that makes the recluse robust. They can easily survive after losing several limbs.

Infamously Overrated

They might be capable survivalists, but the panic caused by the brown recluse is overblown and overrated. Even thought they are from the doomsday spider they are made out to be, most people will continue to see the brown recluse as an infamous eight-legged monster. Either way, sharing our living spaces with them is not a requirement. Admiral Pest Control has trained pesticide applicators that have the knowledge and expertise to identify and control spiders, even the reclusive kind. If spiders have you worried, give Admiral a call.

Brown Recluse

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